Time Management Tuesday #2

5/31/2016

When I started this segment last week I had a grand plan for what I would be posting this week. Suffice to say, that’s not what’s going to go up. I was reminded vividly these past several days of a lesson that I learned a long time ago about time that bears repeating now, before we delve into the tools of managing our time usage.

You see…what it all boils down to is this: We all have exactly the same number of hours, minutes, and seconds in each day as everyone else, except of course for our first one and our last one. For every day in between, we have no more or no less than anyone else. It is what we DO with that gift that makes, breaks, or leaves us idle. How ever many days we get, the length of each one is the same for everyone experiencing it. We need to be vigilant to remind ourselves of this, and ask ourselves constantly what it is that we are doing in any given moment to move our self  forward, up, and beyond where we have been.

The past week has been a blur for me, and the rest of my household. We have been to the highest heights, and the deepest lows in such a short span that I’m not sure where we have landed yet. My daughter graduated high school and waits for her time to leave for the Navy just as my nephew graduated from basic training for the Air Force and now heads out to his A-school. We were all on cloud-9, and then the phone call came that scratched the vinyl; time was quickly drawing to a close for my mother in law. It was surreal.

Eight weeks ago she fell and broke her leg. During surgery to repair the break the tumor was found. Shortly thereafter, so were the mets that go with the aggressive cancer that came back confirmed from the biopsy. We thought we had a chance to fight. We were wrong. The mets were everywhere and growing quickly. We went from shock and fight for your life, to there are no more options and you should make arrangements, in so short a window I don’t think any of us can put it to words. This past Saturday morning we got the call that there were less than 24 hours, give or take. The scramble to get her oldest son home in time, and to get everyone through to say ‘goodbye’ was exhausting, but managed. It had all happened so very fast.

She passed in the early morning hours on Sunday. We did all the things that needed doing to clear her room at the nursing facility and get her where she could be cared for and prepared for her last party, but there was no time yet to grieve. We still had other obligations. As you should well know by now…time waits for no one. It is the great equalizer amongst us all and while you are doing what needs doing, it slips through your grasp and floats on. My daughter had her end of the year banquet and awards on Sunday afternoon/evening. We were half-hearted heading out to go. She too, was not looking forward to the events. We were all spent, but we went anyway.

I am so thankful that we did. A new award for dedication and excellence was put into place and dedicated Sunday night for the outgoing CAPA (creative and performing arts high school) director. It was a surprise for him at the event, and to our daughter’s surprise, she became the inaugural recipient. For Dedication to the Art & Craft of Theater. The pendulum swung the other way when we least expected momentum.

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It was the positive she needed to finish the difficult day. I am proud and grateful to see her efforts and enduring commitment recognized. The plaque that will hang in the theater also bears her name now and will be displayed for who knows how long…there are 29 other spots to fill, thus time will continue.

Our other daughter did not attend the awards, instead she went to make peace with the day a different way. The artist who rendered the work was shocked still for a moment to realize the final date was the same day as he was working, but also moved by the gesture being made. She took the time to have a last coke with my mother in law, the only way that was now left to her.

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(yes, she’s got a thing for getting ink’d)

The point is not to share my crazy week so much as it is to realize that for every moment, there are different paths to choose. We can embrace each one for the opportunity they present to us, or we can toss them away with not embracing what could be. Time will go on, and we will have accomplishments and appreciation, or we will have regrets and loss. Which will yours be? What are YOU doing in this moment to make yourself better, stronger, faster and going further than where you have been before. It IS a choice, one we get to make over and over every day. Choose wisely before the moment is gone.

Time Management Tuesday

week #2

Last week we talked about my 5-section organizer thingies, and they are GREAT….I mean really, really great. They are right up in the top 5 things that I do to manage my time usage, because let’s face it, we cannot manage time literally. It is a theoretical impossibility until and unless we all collectively decree to mark it differently, but even then…time will be what it is, how we measure it is all that will be changed, but I digress…

This week I want to talk to the writers out there who are doing public appearances or direct selling…be it small signings, one day group signings, or big multi-day event convention-style appearances. What do they all have in common? Well, besides us? MONEY. And that my friends…takes some management of resources – including time. Come tax season, you all know what I’m talking about…it takes TIME to get all our shhh…tuff together for the tax man. Right? Right! How can we make that faster so we can be using that time for other things? We get organized for it.

I’m a bit of a nut about some things. In Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder – I have the obsessive side of the coin with respect to details and organization. I can lock the front door once and I’m good…but the minutia details  of things will drive me crazy, I have an Obsessive streak a mile wide. It serves me well though. Besides running my house, Eclectic Bard Books, in the corporate world I’ve taught “Time Management & Organization” for the past decade and a half…even though it’s not technically correctly named. (one of those detail things…but I didn’t name the course, only instruct it.) Hopefully, I’ll be able to transition some of the tools without sharing my crazy through this site on my Tuesday visits.

Back to the point – This is a spreadsheet I came up with to use for events, specifically to track my costs, but also to determine event feasibility for when I’m booking the future. Was an event profitable for me? Did I cover my expenses? Can I make changes that will enable to me to cover them at a repeat visit?

More importantly for time conservation come tax season…do I have all of my receipts? Do I know how much I sold and what did those items (BOOKS) cost me to print and have shipped to me to be able to sell them in the first place. What donations did I make to patrons in swag, free copies to bloggers, prizes for the event, promotional fees to be in the program, etc. All of these numbers are easier to recall and record fresh from the event than months later rifling through the calendar and bank pages trying to find things.

Another week I’ll share the roll up spreadsheet I use to coordinate month by month so come tax time I have 12 files to consolidate and prep instead of eleventy-billion. That document includes the other expenses that aren’t event specific, for now…here’s the event one. Obviously you can modify this however you wish…this is what works for me and keeps me on track for the major categories that I have to account for in the Spring.

Til next time, I hope this helps!

EVENT: Date:
Contact Information:
Expenses: Paid date/via Receipt Notes
Table:  denote deposits separately from total if it is multiple receipts  do you have one?
Promotion:  fees for the printed program
Event in Event:  did you pay additionally to do a special event during a convention?
Travel:  air or drive –

ait – remember transportation to the airport too

drive – gas & tolls

Miles:
Lodging:  was there a security hold and did it get returned?
Meals:  included ones that had a fee and ones outside your event
Misc:  car rental?
   
Inventory:  cost plus shipping for what you brought to sell  *note if it was inventory purchased previously or if you had to order for this event. Shelved inventory is different from new – you don’t count twice. You’ve already recorded the lost sale for the expense.
Swag:  made prices and piece prices of components for those you make yourself
Prizes: things given that you get no profit from to report    
Donations:  to the event or individuals – sponsored bags, or rafflebaskets, etc
Sales: Books:
 how many & total income  profit after costs to print & ship
Swag:
 if you sell separately
Evaluation: Threshold: Profit/Loss: Re-book:
 how much did you need to make to cover your costs  BOTTOM LINE
Notes:
 anything you need to remember about this event that is not financial

well organized – reader following – good network

Featured blog

Just bumped across this post at Booked & Loaded about the Debut Author Dinner happening at Authors After Dark in August…check out the crazy awesome company I get to be in!!

HERE

These are authors who are NEW to AAD – not Debut authors in general. It’s a phenomenal list…you should really try to go to Savannah in August…it’s THE place to be for readers!

Color my world

How do you know you’ve arrived if you’re going somewhere you’ve never been?

Good grief, how do you write that question if you can’t figure out what you’re asking? lol.

I’m in the throes of trying to run in several directions, a process which seldom bears immense fruit, but is often unavoidable. Case in point, I’ve launched this website to help build my platform as an author and to try to expand the audience and reach of my work. Problem is, I’m really not sure what is or isn’t quality content or how to put it out there. So, I’m spending some time wandering around, looking for other pages by authors I know or am meeting to see what they are doing as well as what is and what is not working for them.

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Tips? Advice? I’m a blank canvas in need of paint.

 

(image courtesy of free clip art gallery)

 

First things first & 5 section deals

Getting started is always the hardest part for me. Once the train is in motion, I can usually count on the momentum to keep it going, but getting it off the stop – maaaaan, HARD.

I have a large and long agenda to accomplish for myself, with accountability to others along the way. That my pack has been a reproduction site for sticky notes and scraps of paper for a bit too long has made getting going daunting. I needed to take some time, sort through all the bits of paper and scraps, get them organized by what they are and where they go so I can access the information, and…the hardest part of all…dare to toss some in the trash bin. EEEEEEP!

The halfway point had the discard pile looking something like this…

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…which is actually pretty good for me. I have duplicates often because I don’t want to be caught without the piece I need. Any other paper/documentation hoarders out there? By the end, I managed to clear multiple legal pads of their random notes and get them organized into 3 primary areas…my calendar/planner, my pad-folio of ‘to do’ items, and a 5 section sorter of writer/publisher things.

On my house website, Eclectic Bard Books, I post on Mondays…last week, I posted about the business of documentation. These 5 pocket sorter things are my lifeblood until the paper makes its way to the tax files. In my daily use one, I have receipts, reservations, event activity, check out/research, and WRITING sections. The last because I will invariably hit on an idea sitting in the drive thru at the bank and scribble notes on a scrap of paper…it has to go somewhere so it won’t be lost.

During events, the 5 section deal is for receipts, reservations, event calendar, commitments, running donations. An event specific calendar is easier to carry around than a planner to know what’s happening when since I try to be fully present at the event, not thumbing my calendar of other things…they will still be there when I am done. And, a commitments tab so that I know what my personal obligations are and where I can grab notes for specific panels or things I’m hosting. Lastly is the running donations section which has a tablet of sticky notes and a pen so if I run across a blogger, or do a pop up giveaway, I can record the information to log it later to my tax files. (Really, that section becomes a catch all for other things like phone numbers, websites, plot ideas, or notes for things I need to do when I get home.) When the event is done and I make it home, the filer is cleared and things for taxes go to the files, reservations-calendar-& commitments sections go into a file for the event, and the last section gets broken out and down to where the pieces need to go…Voila! It’s ready for the next time out.

Not going to say that I’m perfect at maintaining this organization track, especially given that I have to out myself at the beginning of this post as having to get my butt in gear…but having a consistent method to use is helpful. What’s your best advice? What system do you use? I’d love to know…

Like magic, at the end of my cleaning up and out, I had a stockpile of empty legal pads…which, anyone who knows me knows this is like a winning lottery ticket for my inner writer. I live by these buggers. Lookie how many I managed…

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…and I still have 2 in my bag, 1 a running ‘to do’ list, and the second in the writing section of my divider with collated notes from the other tablets so they are almost all in one place. DO NOT want to be me if I misplace that bad boy!! To think that these were also in my bag in various stages of use explains why that bugger was getting so freaking heavy.

So, now I have no excuses. I know where all the pieces are once again and can grab what I need, when I need it. Guess I better get the fire stoked, it’s time for this engine to roll out!