So by now you’ve probably noticed that I completely changed the layout of my blog. I wanted it to be closer to a big-name author website, featuring the appropriate pages. But then I realized that because of the way I network with people, it’s still a blog first, thus what you see now. (Any input on how this looks and is working, please comment!)
This is part of an overall effort to reorganize. I built this fancy to-do list (more on that later) and some of the entries include cleaning my room, cleaning my office, cleaning my computer, making a proper Facebook page as an author and not just for the book… I even have a brand-new phone. Combined with my new wardrobe and a couple of other changes in habit, it’s safe to say that I’m a whole new me. And I think that’s probably the real point of changing so much–to bring on a whole new identity and thus give myself the chance to change anything I want about myself, including my productivity.
So what’s this fancy to-do list stuff? Well, I was looking for a basic one when I stumbled upon MindTools, which describes something called an “action program.” Basically, you start out by putting down every single thing you could possibly hope to put on your list to get done, in all areas of your life. Completely empty your brain until you’re not afraid of having forgotten anything. That much alone can cut the stress of keeping track of things.
Then, you organize all these entries into different categories or projects. It doesn’t matter how many you make, as long as they all have a decent handful of things in them. It really just depends on the size of your list. While you’re putting them in, give each task a rank based on how important it is to get it done, from A to F. I like to put the A-rank tasks on the top of each category.
Finally, grab a handful of these tasks, preferably ones with high importance ranks, and put them in a smaller to-do list at the top. MindTools calls this the “next actions” list. If they’re really big tasks that’ll take all day or longer, put only the next step or two of the task on your list. Then you can do the things on that list, check them off, and when you’re done you go back to that list of projects and get a few more. This will keep you from having to keep track of and remember everything, and let you focus on only a few things.
As a writer this is obviously pretty important to me. I have all these blog entries to write, not only here but on several other sites; all kinds of little marketing moves I can make; and, of course, the next book in the series won’t write itself. All this plus several learning and self-improvement experiences that I’ve been meaning to get into. And only 24 short hours in the day! I’m certainly not the only writer who has this problem, so I hope this technique helps you guys as much as it’s already helping me.