Everett Bogue is a professional writer of books and Letters. His work includes:

  • Augmented Reality [2011] (book)
  • Minimalist Business [2010] (book)
  • How to Create a Movement [2010] (book, now free)
  • Far Beyond The Stars [2009–2011] (blog)

Here is the interview with Everett Bogue. Thanks to Everett for his time and responses.

Iain Simpson: You don’t have any rigidly defined structure to your life; no mortgage payments, no traditional job or accompanying schedule so you can dedicate as much time as you want to your projects. With lots of unstructured time, it’s always tempting to put things off, and a lot of people find it easier to stay focussed with limited time to work in. This is especially true of larger projects. When you work on larger projects like your books how do you manage your time and objectives?

Everett Bogue: How do I manage unstructured time? That's a great question. It goes back to what you mentioned in the beginning of the question. I've made the conscious decision to watch the obligations that I create in my life: no house, no car, I untethered from my day job.

This leaves me with a nearly completely open schedule to do anything that I want to do.

With every empty space I create, something else fills the vacuum. The trick is to watch what I'm filling that space with. If I've eliminated a distraction, am I filling empty space with another distraction?

There's no clear path to the end goal here. I'm never done with the writing or the books. Both are constantly evolving as I move through the world.

What I do is hit publish when the time is right. For larger book projects, I've set deadlines in the past. The current book doesn't have an end point yet ??" because I'm not convinced books will ever be done. We're living in the age of post-artifact publishing.

IS: What techniques do you use to eliminate waste (unproductive time) from your workflow?

EB: My #1 technique is not working when nothing is coming. If I'm not writing anything important, I'll turn off the computer and go enjoy the summer sun. I'll take a walk. I'll go to a yoga class.

After I've been out in the world, the work comes easily. There is little waste.

IS: For smaller, single-objective projects, like your Letters and blog posts, do you employ any different project and time management techniques?

EB: First I write, I don't worry about whether I'll publish or not. I'll write for 40 or an hour.

Then I look at what I've written, and I ask: is this anything?

If yes, I go through every single line and ask: “why?” of every single line.

Once I see there aren't any obvious questions, I'm ready to publish.

IS: How do you typically conceive and execute projects specifically, what if any planning do you do in advance of starting them?

EB: It's impossible for me to know what a finished project will look like when I start, so I don't pretend to know. I go in with a flashlight, exploring what every edge looks like. The planning is that I know my work has to happen every day. At a certain point I look back at what I've done and say “oh, I've created something great.” and hit publish.

IS: Any other good advice on time and project management for those thinking of taking the plunge into freeform, schedule-free living?

EB: The hardest element, for me, is continually untethering from distractions. It's so tempting to fill empty time with TV, with Instagr.am, Twitter, or booze. Everything that isn't the work is a distraction. Yes, it's so much easier to get endlessly distracted.

AuthorI.B. Simpson