The Cost of Commitment
This morning I had a call from the parent of a young student I work with telling me that in the coming weeks her first grader would be working on Time and Money.
Afterward, I started thinking, maybe that's where the problem begins, way back in the early years, when we're taught to think of those as two entirely different things.
Because of our unpredictable (and all-too-often miniscule) flow of funds and infrequent paydays, longterm professional writers quickly become savvy about budgeting their money. We have to, or we can't long survive in our chosen profession.
Unfortunately, most of us are slower at learning how to budget time, which is strange, since all of us are allotted the same number of hours per day as everyone else. The trick is, remembering that our time has the same value as people who work on the clock, that everything we choose to do with that time costs a percentage of our day... and our lives.
So the next time you feel pressured to build an online social networking presence, hang around on readers' board and "casually" namedrop your book, write "web extras" for a microscopic percentage of your fans to access, speak or do blog tours, or drive around introducing yourself to booksellers and signing stock, resist the impulse to answer the request on the spot.
Then, spend just a little time on a cost-benefit analysis, weighing the realistic potential impact of your labor against the time taken away from a deadline, a spec project, your family, or (dare I say it?) much-needed R&R?
Make a habit of waiting a day or two, thinking about the totality of your commitments, and then making a conscious choice, and I guarantee you you'll feel more in control of your life - and far happier about those projects to which you say yes.
Question for the day: How do you choose your commitments? Any time management techniques to share?