Somehow when we picture ourselves as “real writers” or better yet, “bestselling authors,” the vision is one filled with glitz and glamour. Exciting parties. Titillating conversation with other wordsmiths. Champagne toasts over brie, whirlwind book tours, and readers discussing our riveting storytelling abilities, pink-cheeked with excitement.
Maybe it’s the time of year or maybe it’s the feeling that everything in my schedule lately has to be planned down to the minute if I’m ever going to “get it all done.” Ever have days like that? While many of us thrive on schedules (even loose ones, jotted on the back of an envelope) and to-do lists (ever write things down after you’ve done them, just to experience the satisfaction of crossing them off?), there has to be a balance between organization and time to just live our lives.
Otherwise, we are not only unhappy people, we’re also unproductive writers.
So how do we do it? Balance time between our work, family and other commitments, between the “must do’s” and time to play and create, daydream and breathe? I don’t know. If I did, I would write a book about it and maybe that would be a bestseller. And then I could afford to hire someone to take care of all the details for me.
Until that happens, however, I need a plan. Here’s what I’ve come up with:
1. Keep a weekly accountability sheet.
This is where I write down my must-do’s for the week at work (I keep a separate sheet for home). It also contains this year’s top three goals and a spot to highlight activities from last week which I’m most proud of—those which pushed me closer to my writing goals.
2. Keep a daily to-do list/schedule.
I found this excellent sheet on Tsh’s site, The Art of Simple. It helps me organize my day which makes me very happy. Note: Add “play” or “daydream” or “read fiction” or whatever else you most like to do but don’t allow yourself much time for on this sheet. Make it a real priority, just like work and then enjoy it!
The chapters are short so you could sneak one in while waiting for a fax or email, or taking a five minute break while the tea water to boils. It’s a small book, but is jam-packed with great ideas for us creative types who have a tendency to bite of a bit too much at times.
Now it’s your turn: what are some of your favorite ways to stay organized? In which areas do you struggle the most?