Time Management and Motivation: A How-(Not)-To Guide

time management and motivation

July was a great month for this blog. I had posts going out most days. Unfortunately, I wasn’t doing much else. When August hit, I had nothing scheduled. I also hadn’t made my CraicCon video (with that event at the start of July.) I hadn’t written a new story in a long time. I hadn’t planned any work, or recorded a video. I was unmotivated, and I wasn’t managing my time in such a way that I would get something done. So now, more than half-way through the month, here’s my how-not-to manage time and motivate yourself post.

1. Take on too much work. Ignore everything else.

In July, I wanted to write three stories. I also wanted to blog on a regular basis, begin interviewing people for Comix Ireland, and make a few videos – at least one a week. In the meantime, I started a new job. I actually had fewer hours in this job than in the one I left, but every new job comes with a certain amount of stress and uncertainty. I didn’t account for that when I set myself a list of tasks to complete filled every waking moment. I also didn’t take into account the fact that a friend who lives abroad was back in the country in July. Naturally, I had to put seeing her first. I won’t get to see her again until, maybe, October. If not then, Christmas.

2. Make excuses about how much time you have.

A month seems like a long time to get anything done. Unfortunately, that attitude can get you in trouble. I thought that I could miss a day and be fine with that. What ended up happening, however, was that I would miss a day and then realise that I had even more work to do per day. Having a month to do a project that takes a week is asking for trouble.

3. Prioritise television over creative projects.

I spent a ridiculous amount of time watching television lately. There are no two ways about it. I watched Stranger Things in one day. I watched dozens of episodes of Pokémon. I started watching Gotham. I had a couple of excuses this month for not working – a trip to Canterbury and Dublin Comic Con, as well as a headache so bad it verged on deadly (slight exaggeration, I guess) and post-con exhaustion. (Post Canterbury-work-con exhaustion, really.)

4. Bury your laptop.

A great way to get no work done is to put your laptop underneath a pile of objects in your room. Nothing too heavy – you don’t want it breaking – just enough that moving them becomes a chore. Having succeeded in doing this, I managed to keep my laptop there for well over a week. With (personal) deadlines to meet.


Today, I decided to fix things. I dug out the laptop. I watched only one episode of Gotham. I didn’t make plans to leave the house for no reason. (I actually had a reason to leave that I forgot about, but by forgetting, I managed to get work done.) I set myself a strict deadline – tomorrow – to get work done, and I shut myself away to get it done. I also focused on two tasks, for one project: the final edits of the book, and its cover.

Getting back to work on this project was important to me. It was also really important to do it today, because, as it happens, my friends have opinions on book covers. Thirteen iterations of the cover for the book later, and (as I type this), there’s still no clear favourite. Book cover banter.


About Paul Carroll

Paul Carroll is a writer, born, raised and still living in Dublin. By day he's a student and bookseller, by night he writes fiction and uses social media.
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