Managing Time: My Dr. Pepper Rule

It's so different.

Practicing law meant watching time to the tenth of an hour, and being available for clients 24/7. Answering the phone, responding to e-mails, and juggling this with the work load -- it became a lifestyle.

I took pride on how well I could multi-task all this, day in and day out. It was also a good excuse to buy new techno-gadgets.

Now that I'm writing? Things have changed. Not that time isn't part of the billing process, of course. I bill by the hour on most projects.

However, I cannot function as a writer and answer e-mails as they pop in, or pick up the phone every single time it rings. I have to have blocks of time to concentrate on the writing, alone. With an occasional break with the dogs out back, in the sunshine, tossing the ball around.

If I start answering the phone or responding to e-mails, willy nilly, then I won't make my daily word count. Word Count. That's my new Magic Number.

So, I've developed the Dr. Pepper Rule. I check voice mail and e-mail, and respond accordingly, at 10, 2, and 4. It works for me.