“Where did I put that editor’s phone number?”
Most creative types have some difficulty with organization. I’m no exception. Everyone misplaces their keys, but we seem to have a more difficult time with order. Surprisingly, we can be good at rearranging words, but poor at keeping track in other areas.
Over the years I’ve discovered this: Find what works for you. There are endless suggestions, like the ones I offer here. Pick, choose and put together a system that seems to work for you. For me, the simpler something is to use, the more likely I will use it.
Easy as 1, 2, 3
When I have a lot to complete in a week’s time, I make a list of everything. Then I assess how much time each will take in 15 minute increments (15-30-45 min).
Next, assign a 1, 2 or 3 priority to each item; 3 being the least important. Items with a 3 can be carried over to the next week. 1 and 2 should be completed; one being most important. This prevents me from doing tasks of less priority and then thinking I’m productive. It also lets me know which items to let go if I get too busy. If a task seems too daunting, break it into manageable bits.
I like sticky-notes, so in honor of the most famous brand (without infringing on trademark) here are a few things you can do with 15 to 30 minutes of focused effort.
1. List-it Make a second list of things you want to accomplish today. Mark which ones to complete in the morning and which to complete in the afternoon. Lists keep you from juggling too many thoughts and free you to focus.
3. Set-it (don’t forget it) Set 15 to 30 minutes aside to complete your non-writing tasks, such as paperwork, phone calls, and social media, and stick to them. I like to use a timer. Egg timer is a browser-based timer you can try if you don’t have one. If you know how much time you want, you don’t need to go to the site to enter it. Simply add the time to the end of the address in hours, minutes, and seconds.
For Example: http://e.ggtimer.com/1hour1minute10seconds. If your time ends, you can reset the same time by clicking on your browser’s refresh button.
Another technique is called the pomodoro technique using, you guessed it, a tomato-shaped timer. It suggests 25 minutes of work with 5 minute breaks. Again, find what works for you.
4. Enter-it Enter receipts, expenses and any income received. A notebook with pockets for receipts and other papers can prove invaluable.
5. File-it I like to have current projects out; but file papers, reference books, or other items you are not using at the end of the day (they seem to just pile up don’t they?).
I’d like to know what you think of these suggestions, and to hear what other methods are working for you.
Keep writing. And if you lose your keys occasionally, don’t worry about it ! (Click text if parody video, “Have you seen my keys tonight?” doesn’t show)