• Rachel Niemczyk

How to Squeeze in Writing When You're Pressed for Time

Updated: Mar 9, 2019


Image by Alexas_Fotos on Pixabay

Sometimes, despite the best intentions to plan ahead and schedule time for writing, you find yourself pressed for time to write. This can happen for any number of reasons: being assigned a last minute project, unexpected life emergencies, family/friends needing help, forgotten appointments, the list goes on. Whatever the reason, when you’re tight on time and you need to squeeze some writing in you can do the following to reach your writing goals.


Go mobile. Keep your document available on a cloud so you can contribute to it every free minute you have. You’ll be able to switch between devices and work on it from anywhere you are (waiting in line at the store, on mass transit, etc.)


Write in small bursts. If you’re pressed for time and juggling several commitments you may only have a few moments here and there to write. Break up your project into sections and work on one section at a time to minimize the tone shifting.


Start with ideas, not full blown paragraphs. If you don’t know where to begin your work, a tight deadline can be extremely overwhelming. Start by jotting down the ideas you have. Eventually you’ll find they can be combined into one idea, or that they inspire you with a new idea.


Write when inspiration strikes. Seriously, make sure you write down any ideas you have that you feel can be expanded on; you never know if you’ll have trouble remembering the idea later.


When possible, use old projects as a first draft. (This is only really possible when you’re writing about something you’ve written about before). You’ll definitely need to update the old project to reflect your current one, but it’ll significantly reduce your research time and jump start your project.

Prioritize urgent activities over important ones. Urgent priorities need to be accomplished immediately or you risk facing negative consequences. Important activities need to be taken care of, but can be pushed off for a day or two. Focus only on accomplishing what tasks/chores are urgent, and postpone anything that’s important until you have more free time.


Work on a different task when you can’t focus. As long as it is a relatively quick task to accomplish, the break will clear your head and help you view your writing document with fresh eyes.


Eat. If you’re going to write in a time crunch you need to make sure your brain has the fuel to keep going. Best case scenario, you can take a quick break to eat. If you can’t do that keep finger foods close by so you can snack while you work.


Keep your eye on the prize: a completed written work. Giving into panic will not help you achieve your goal. In fact, it’s the quickest way to sabotage yourself. Mrs. Incredible was right when you said, “Doubt is a luxury we can’t afford.” Instead, when you start to feel panicked imagine how relieved you will be to know you accomplished your writing goal. Hold on to that feel for several seconds. This will help you overcome your doubts/fears and trick your subconscious into believing achieving your goal is inevitable.


Do you have any other tips for squeezing in writing time into your day? Share them in the comments below so we can all learn from each other and help each other accomplish our writing goals . . . even when life gets in the way!

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