I have a lot of post-its up by my desk with things written on them. When something goes onto a post-it, you know there’s trouble!
I have this post it up by my desk that says “Don’t let things take longer than they should! Impose your will on them!” Which should tell you what I suck at.
The impose your will thing tends to be really a good message for me, because I can sometimes really fuss over stupid things. Like, I write overly crafted emails.
But most of all, I have so many things going on—I have day job deadlines always buzzing around, plus book deadlines, and it gets to be this cloud of duties, and I get frozen, and then I just start panic-reacting to whatever seems most urgent without a larger prioritization. In short, not imposing my will.
A few tricks I’ve developed:
Make a list of must-do items at night before bed for the next day.
It’s too easy for me to just start reacting to emails and deadlines in the morning, but at night, I’m full of angst for what I should’ve done and didn’t get to. Usually if I can pick a few things I must fit in for a day along with urgent deadline work, that helps. Because some priorities don’t have deadlines. One mistake a frequently make here: choosing too many extra things.
Freedom software thingy
I love that freedom program! (See Jeffe’s post for more on that). I set that clock and just focus on one key thing, usually for a 2 hour span at a time. I use it to track day job hours and fiction writing hours, and try to stay balanced with it.
One or two small things
It’s easy to focus on clearing big things off the plate. But, then a crazy amount of small things builds up. So, clearing off a few small things per day can really help.
One week last month I had such a panic amount of deadlines, but I didn’t want to have to stop fiction writing, so I set up this punishing schedule of hours goals for both day job and novels, and if I didn’t hit the goals, I had to shop and make dinners for a whole week, a duty usually my husband and I share. I actually made it. A punishment really does help, but I was so fried after that week!
These are things that work for me. Yet…yet, still, up by my desk is that post-it. And I feel, still, that I have not really imposed my will on time.