Tuesday, February 18, 2020

The Next Fifteen Minutes

Time management.

I used to be so good at it. Not lately. And I know why. I no longer have daily deadlines.

As a  teacher, my day was laid out for me. My lesson plans had to be executed in specific time slots. Since I knew my exact time frame and what I needed to accomplish, I was excellent at meeting the requirements.

By the time I retired, I was ready for the freedom of my own schedule. I was ready to write for the glory of God! I could write in the morning. Or write in the afternoon. Late night hours were especially productive. For a while.

I am not good at time management.

A hundred distractions a day draw my attention away from the words on my screen. I’m like a kitten following the red dot from a laser pointer. (Right now, rain is tapping on the window. I like the sound of rain. It’s gentle, a premonition-of-spring type of rain, not a gully-washer. Maybe I’ll get my umbrella and—see what I mean? I’m chasing another red dot.)

Back to my original problem. Should I blog? Should I write a short story? Should I polish the first few pages for submission to a contest? Should I get a drink of water? Or tea? Should I write the newsletter for Hoosier Ink? Should I begin revisions on Book 2 in World Without Sound? Should I go to the gym? Should I write the outline for my next series? Should I?—I can’t stop chasing those red dots all over creation!

I’ve tried making lists. This is a good thing to start with. Unless I don’t follow the list…
Susie May Warren has a terrific organizational tool through My Book Therapy where I can write down all kinds of writing-related tasks. I’m terrified I’ll spend my days filling in all those pristine blanks and running out of time to do what I planned.

I need help in knowing where to start.

Which task is most important to God? I’m thanking Him for the sermon my pastor preached a few weeks ago. He took the mystery out of “What is God’s will for my life?” 

The gist of the message: “What does God want you to do in the next fifteen minutes?”

Most of us, can answer that question. We can figure out priorities for the next fifteen minutes. We know what will please God in that next quarter hour.

I am getting better at managing my days. After every task, I look at the next fifteen minutes. If no outside forces have already determined the subsequent task, I take time to ask God, “What do You want me to do?” 

A few moments of re-centering my soul with Him, and I have my answer. I can focus. I begin the next task. When that annoying laser pointer bounces a light across my concentration, I send a quick appeal to heaven. The red dot blinks out. 


Linda Sammaritan writes realistic fiction, mostly for kids ages ten to fourteen. She is currently working on a middle grade trilogy, World Without Sound, based on her own experiences growing up with a deaf sister.
Linda had always figured she’d teach middle-graders until school authorities presented her with a retirement wheelchair at the overripe age of eighty-five. However, God changed those plans when He gave her a growing passion for writing fiction. In May of 2016, she blew goodbye kisses to her students and dedicated her work hours to learning the craft.
A wife, mother of three, grandmother to seven, Linda regales the youngest grandchildren with “Nona Stories,” tales of her childhood. Maybe one day those stories will be in picture books!
Where Linda can be found on the web:

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