How do you manage your time when writing?

Separating the time needed to write daily is especially hard if you have a fixed job, family and social obligations, then, how do we get it?

An option is to cut down on the time we spend watching TV. But many times the reason we watch TV is that we are tired, stressed, and we just want to take a break and think about nothing. Writing in such condition is not recommended either.

Going to bed an hour later may help, if we are nocturnal beings. I personally have a hard time keeping my eyes opened after a certain hour and I generally devote the last part of my day to read (something necessary; do not change reading for writing because it does not work).

Many people find it useful to write in the mornings, on the contrary. The agony of getting out of bed an hour earlier is dissipated with coffee. Moreover, you will probably be much more alert that at night, the neighbors are not making any noise, offices cannot call because they are not open and sales persons have not begun their rounds yet, which means there are less distractions.

But of course, this depends on what works best for you. You only need to make sure that when you write, you do so intelligently.

The mega-trends of contemporary society

The new information and communication technologies are contributing to significant cultural transformations, linked to the “information technology culture”, such as the alteration of the basic concepts of time and space. The notion of reality coexists with the possibility of creating “virtual realities”, which creates new challenges for higher education.

To conclude this point, allow me to enumerate what the analysts call “the mega-trends of contemporary society“, which influence in some way higher education.

  • A computerized society is replacing the old industrial society
  • “Intelligent” technologies replace the traditional ones.
  • “Proactive” societies, with an anticipatory attitude, contrast the essentially “reactionary” societies.
  • Globalized national economies, or in the process to be, take the place of national economies.
  • Democratic systems, every time more participative turn obsolete the ones merely representative, and even more the authoritarian, as we can see on the Arab world.
  • In social development, we are going from strategic short-term views, to long term state policies.
  • In public administration, the decentralized managements systems are being promoted.
  • Commercial, financial and industrial institutions are moving from traditional vertical hierarchies to organizational networks, with more horizontal structures.
  • In the basic social organization, the woman is playing every time a major role.

The challenge of balancing higher learning

It is not about creating an ideology out of competitiveness and productivity. We cannot leave aside equity, or the guarantee of respect to human dignity and environmental sustainability. We shouldn’t be tempted by “spurious competitiveness”, which is the one achieved by freezing or reducing the salaries, limiting the basic social services and threatening our environment. It is necessary to design a development strategy that satisfies at the same time the requirements of the economic growth and of social equity. Concerning competitiveness, Nicaragua is within the least competitive countries in Latin America, only outpaced by Paraguay and Venezuela.


The dream for those of us who are not willing to refuse to the utopia, is that the XXI century could be the century of ethics, overtaking the century of technology. It is necessary to build an ethical modernity, which maintains the values of humanism and of equality of rights for all and each human being, subordinating technological and political power to the ethical values. In this sense, although the University should create knowledge and provide the students with the competence and necessary abilities to exercise their specialty, it cannot neglect its character as the center par excellence, for the cultivation of an ethical, critical and responsible consciousness to confront the national and global problems. The University cannot neglect its mission as an institution former of a culture of social responsibility that goes beyond the function of preparing the high level intellectual capital of the country. University should be an example and guide of ethical commitment, so this permeates all social activities, including politics that should never be separated from ethics. The ethical revaluation of politics would lead citizens, specially the youth, to recover the credibility in politics as a kind occupation, which last aim is to serve the common good and not simply seek power just for the sake of power or wealth. This reflection acquires special importance on the actual context of our country, immersed in the worst ethical crisis of its history. It is time to promote, through graduate students, a new political culture, with a profound ethical base.

Globalization is not completely good or bad

It depends on how nations are integrated on it. And in this point, higher education can play an essential role, through generating the conditions that allow a favorable incorporation. Globalization offers many new opportunities to the countries that know how to make use of them; whereas, it deepens and widens the economic, financial,  scientific and technological inequalities for those countries incapable of benefiting from it. The advisability, quality and equity of educational systems, particularly of higher education systems, determine, to a great extent, the place that each country has on the new international scene and their possibilities to achieve a beneficial inclusion.


In order for higher education to fulfill that important role, it needs profound innovations, to shake the foundations of our educational systems, still so linked to the tradition. Those innovations cannot be merely episodic: they should be part of a permanent and continuous process. As a result, we should challenge our imagination and reconsider the objectives, missions and functions of the higher education institutions, always having in mind the need to have also a higher education imbued with values, aware of its ethical and social obligations and at the disposal of the promotion of freedom, tolerance, justice, respect to human rights, environmental conservation and peace culture. In short, contemporary higher education should be at the disposal of the model proclaimed by the United Nations to guide the direction of society on the XXI century: the sustainable human development.


Within the key elements to integrate ourselves favorably on the open markets of global economy, there is the considerable improvement of our competitiveness and productive capacity. Both include knowledge, technologies, use of information, abilities and innovation; they mean improving the quality, advisability and equity of our educational and scientific-technological systems and the formation of our high level human resources. The Nordic countries understood this early enough, specially Finland, Ireland and the south-east Asian countries, and they started investing copiously on their people, meaning, on their educational systems. In addition, they increased the percentage of the GDP destined to Research and Development.

Time and constancy

Writing, organizing and keeping a rhythm generally is not a problem when we start a project. Everything is new.  At the beginning our enthusiasm, the motivation, and the faith in our ability as writers are overwhelming.

But time changes all. It is noble to try to comply with the planned writing time with the best intention, but, what to do when the initial push decreases?

There are techniques to concentrate (setting deadlines, establishing goals, rewarding yourself), but all these mean that you want to keep writing.

At some point in this long term project that is your novel, especially when writing the first draft, you will begin to doubt yourself.

It is not good enough; it is similar to other stories; it does not lead to anything; it is boring; it has too many clichés; it does not have action; and the list can go on forever.

However, not only you do not need to worry, but you should also expect a phase like this. When you hit a bump, when you feel that there is no point in continuing, you need to acknowledge that this phase is part of the writing process.

It is not always easy to be aware that you are in this phase, but, when the painful desire to give everything up appears, take a deep breath and embrace it. Do not try to fight it, it is pointless. Allow yourself to doubt and move on to the next phase.

Of course, there is a chance that it is really a bad work, a huge waste of time. But there is no way of knowing until you have finished. Finish writing. It is very important to complete the projects we begin.

Once you have changed your goal of “creating a master piece” to “finishing this novel”, the task will become much lighter.

To be clear: this does not mean to lower your standards but to avoid the psychological trap of judging things half done, with the false urgency of escaping to reduce loss.

Keep writing until you complete your first draft. Once you have done it you will feel a great relief…for a couple of seconds. Then the following will begin: This does not have potential; nothing can be salvaged; I am wasting my time; I have no idea how to fix this; I better toss it all out and start again.

But you need to understand that this is also part of the process.

A long term project has many ups and downs, many cycles, and it is necessary to overcome them all in order to complete it. One way of doing it is to maintain, despite everything, the writing time that we have scheduled at the beginning. This will make you keep moving. It will provide consistency, rhythm and some security that you will keep advancing towards your goal.

How to balance the complexity of an University

It is necessary to keep in mind that within the characteristics of contemporary knowledge, we find the increasingly accelerated growth, increasing complexity and its tendency to a rapid obsolescence, all of which influence the work of the University. The highest complexity of contemporary knowledge includes the interdisciplinary nature in the exercise of the university functions as the only way of responding. The internal structure of knowledge is also subject to changes. We live, as it has been mentioned, in the “era of possibilities or probabilities“, where one cannot take for granted any knowledge. If the XX century was the century of scientific certainties and accelerated development of the different disciplines and sub-disciplines, the present century is destined to be the century of uncertainty, interdisciplinary and the recovery of the holistic vision of knowledge. Uncertainty becomes an incentive for the advance of knowledge. At the same time, the issues that once had a clear disciplinary focus, now have an inter- and trans-disciplinary tasks. It is not possible anymore to study the reality around us without an interdisciplinary perspective.


On top, knowledge is produced in different areas, every time closer to its practical use, and in developed countries, due to its technological applications, it tends to move from the academic institutions to the productive companies, which means a great risk for the disinterested character and common good nature, dedicated to the service of the humanity, of the knowledge generated by university research.


The existence of a knowledge that doesn’t know boundaries entails unprecedented challenges for contemporary higher education. One can talk about the “globalization of knowledge”, a process that involves universities. However, such globalization often covers up a process of corporatization of academic knowledge, with the risk of a higher control of the results and university research by companies, specially multinational corporations. The University, true to its own essence, should continue being the place for the disinterested search of knowledge.



We have just started the second decade of a new century. We live in a globalized society, characterized by constant changes. It is clear that the innovative tendencies found nowadays on higher education cannot be separated from the influence of the two most incidental elements on its performance: globalization and the emergence of knowledge societies. Both merit broad reflections by specialists on various fields, so I will limit my analysis to their impact on the actual and future higher education.


As a response the challenges that these events pose to higher education, different processes of university transformation, every time more profound, are being implemented in almost every world region. They want to achieve, that the institution that we call “University”, overcomes the new challenges and survive, keeping what has been until now its own essence. That’s how the “World Declaration on Higher Education for the 21st Century”  approved in Paris in 1998, understood it, when it mentioned that in order to face those challenges, universities should undertake the “most radical reform that they’ve ever faced”.


Globalization is a multidimensional process, stimulated by the rapid technologic advance of computer sciences and communication. However, economic and financial globalization is the one that drags the other dimensions, and it is characterized for being asymmetrical: global economy has not lead to the creation of a truly global society where the benefits are fairly distributed, but has lead to an increasing inequality between nations and within them.


In the face of this situation, no other entity is better equipped than the University to confront this civilizing challenge, told us the memorable rector P. Xabier Gorostiaga, S.J. So, the first challenge that the University of the XXI should face, is to assume critically globalization, make it the object of its reflections and research, and introduce the study of its complex condition as a cross curricular subject in its program.