Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Making To-Do Lists

I'm not sure how I ever functioned without to-do lists.

On days when I don't make them, I get very little done. On days when I DO, life--and especially writing--moves forward at a healthy pace.

Today's to-do list includes answering email, editing articles for clients, formatting Seasons of an Irish Hermitage, blogging, writing newsletters, researching literary agents, designing a new Web site, planning a road trip, and revising Burning Light. It is broken into bite-sized time chunks: I can easily accomplish all this in a day, provided that I stay focused.

Furthermore, each item on the list is a bite-sized chunk from a bigger list: the list of projects and commitments I need to finish this summer. Each morning, I refer to that list and make sure that every project is moving ahead at the pace needed to finish on time. Of course, a few things will end up cut from the list entirely--I'm not superhuman. But having everything written down helps me prioritize.

A to-do list provides me with direction for the day, a record of what I've accomplished, and peace of mind--I know when I can take a break and when I can't, because I know exactly what needs doing and what can rest for now. As a self-employed writer/editor/writing coach, I know I couldn't function without one.

Lists are one of the major tools in my writer's arsenal. How about you? What tools and techniques keep you on track?

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1 Comments:

Blogger Melody said...

Rachel,

This is a great post. I work like this too. Every morning I spend about five minutes organizing my to-do list. Today I'm giving myself a little breather, so I wrote one column of "Have to do" and one column of "Want to do." I get so much more work done then I used to when I didn't use to do lists.

Melody Platz
The Writer’s Comfy Corner

9:42 AM  

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