Monday, September 3, 2018

Guest Post: Jan Rayl on Time Management

Please welcome another guest post on Time Management by our lovable President of Write By the Rails, Jan Rayl:

Victor many thanks for inviting me to be a guest on your blog. I also want to take a moment to thank you for all the budding authors you have helped in our writing group, Write by the Rails. As I have recommended your services to many of our authors, I hear the feedback. I am pleased to say that every author I have given your information to contact has been 100% pleased with your work! I have seen countless book covers you have designed and they are beautiful!

Professionally I am a nurse. In nursing time management is critical and lives can depend on it in a fast-paced emergency setting. As a nurse educator I teach my student that the first thing you do is take a deep breath when faced with an emergency. I tell them we must take care of ourselves in a crisis to be able to carry on effectively.

The same is true no matter the profession: you must take care of yourself first. So how does this relate to time management? We each are in control of our calendars and schedules. I used to jot down the appointments on my calendar as they came up. I had work appointments, volunteer meetings, things folks would ask me to do, helping friends, doctors’ appointments, oops another meeting and then next thing I knew I was scheduled and at times overbooked. I stuck to my schedule!

I learned the valuable lesson of taking care of yourself first the hard way; I got sick. I got really sick and was off work for three months. I ended up with pneumonia, a sinus infection and both ears infected. Every meeting, appointment and commitment this double-booked, driven, helpful woman had crammed into my calendar came to a screeching halt.

Once I was on the road to recovery and no longer too sick to do anything, I began to ponder my calendar. As I looked back I saw week after week where I was completely booked every night of the week and most of every weekend. I was doing important things, I was helping others, getting things done. However, in the frenzy of my “helping” I had forgotten to take care of the most important person in life: myself.

Now when I look at my calendar I schedule “Jan Days” first. These are my days, days where I, Jan, get to do something for me. Sometimes it is half a day, or an evening. But I also am sure to book whole weekends! I may not have a big plan—I may stay home and read, go to a park, or a movie. The what does not matter. What matters is I go on my calendar first! I am also sure to have blank days every week. I have made a point to have evening meetings only twice a week. I need the down time in the evening.

I have found that I weeded through the things I was doing and have cut back to the things that give me joy. In the process the things I let go of got picked up by others and some were not. The things that were not may not have been that important to begin with. Perhaps I was doing them because I always had.

I work full-time teaching nursing and see a few patients part-time as a nurse. I volunteer as President of Write by the Rails, my local writing group. I live in Northern Virginia, well known for its fast-paced, driven lifestyle. But I am no longer fast-paced. I have learned to let some organizations and clubs go. I have learned to say, “no.” I have learned to manage my time by making “my” time first, then giving to others. I hope you will consider looking at your calendar and making sure you are taking care of yourself first!

Jan Rayl is in her third term as President of Write by the Rails. Write by the Rails is the Prince William County, Virginia area Chapter of Virginia Writer’s Club which celebrated 100 years in 2018. Jan has been published in numerous nursing journals and the Write by The Rails anthologies New Departures and No Additional Postage Necessary. Jan blogs on travel, book reviews and other musings at

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