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Time Finder

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The Time Finder is Chris Baty's answer to one frequently asked question by Wrimos.

I'm so busy. How on earth am I going to find time to do NaNoWriMo? -Busy Wrimos all over the world

Almost everyone has something to do in November, and the Time Finder is designed for those who don't know what parts of their lives are most obvious to cut in November. Introduced in No Plot? No Problem!, the Time Finder is designed to give Wrimos a better picture of their everyday lives, from the times they're actually working to the three hours a day they spend on the NaNoWriMo forums. Necessary items for the Time Finder include writing utensils in three different colors, paper, and a few days of your life to document. The more days that you're documenting, the better; ideally, you will activate the Time Finder over the course of an entire week.

How to use the Time Finder

  1. Live your day as usual.
  2. Each day before you go to bed, write down your daily activities and the amount of time spent on each. The more specific, the better.
  3. Have a treat and go to bed. Including sleep in the Time Finder is necessary as you will need to spend some time sleeping during November.
  4. At the end of your Time Finder period, get out your writing utensils and go to town.
  5. Choose one color to mark all activities that you must do or risk unemployment, homelessness, failing of classes, death, and/or other highly undesirable circumstances. Red is a good color. Example activities: working, going to school/college, required sports/music practice & events, studying, traveling to and from work or school, paying bills, eating, sleeping (first 6 hours), essential hygiene (ex. showering), and drinking water.
  6. Choose another color to mark all activities that are highly desirable to you, but can still be given up for an entire month if necessary. Example activities: socializing with friends, professional events, optional sports/music practice & events, religious services, sleeping (beyond 6 hours), non-essential hygiene (ex. polishing nails, shaving), and any avoidable exercising.
  7. Use your third color to mark all nonessential items: the things you could give up for a month without missing anything major. Example activities: Internet surfing, the NaNoWriMo forums, other forums/websites you regularly visit, video games, sitting around deciding what to do next, sleeping (beyond 9 hours), trivial repetition of activities, and TV.
  8. Examine the time spent on your nonessential items. If you have around two hours or so a day in that color, you're ready to go. Most people do. If you spend less than two hours a day on nonessential items, then begin examining the other areas of your life for sneaky ways to write your novel. Examples include taking a shorter shower, limiting sleep to six hours, etc.

Note for the young ones: The time finder is a great tool to use when trying to find a way to do NaNo without affecting the important things in life! Some people find that with effective time finder use, school grades can actually increase during NaNo!