My productivity in the New Year was going well … until right around sometime last week. At that point, I got some great news that caused me to pretty much drop everything and scramble to catch up. (More on that news at a later date…)
Not only that, but I’m in the midst of preparing for a new arrival, and trying to wrap my head around all the hormones and emotions that cause me to want to wash dishes instead of write. Seriously? This is a thing?
So back to productivity. In my case, I had to kick myself and remind the old brain that I had some lists of things to do that all tied in with the goals I’ve been writing about the past two weeks.
On the left side of my computer screen is a digital sticky note with my 2017 writing projects outlined. These are broken into two categories: “For Love” and “For Money.”* Each of these projects tie into the goals that I’m working on writing up. Furthermore, at the top of the list, I’ve written a reminder to myself: Work for YOU before you work for someone else.
This is just a writerly version of the old financial management advice: Pay yourself (i.e. put your money into savings), before you pay others. And it works about half the time. Anyone who’s ever seen their bills outpace their investments knows that budgeting–whether time or money–requires discipline and sometimes is too challenging.
The good news is, if we drop the ball, we get the chance to start over. Which brings me to my weekly bullet points.
On my actual, physical desk, I have a whiteboard with a “To-Do” list of bullet points for the week. These are also divided into “For Love” and “For Money.” I’m still working on achieving that sweet spot of just enough tasks for me to fill the week with and not try to bite off more than I can chew–and yet still be accountable enough to achieve those larger goals on that computer sticky note.
I’ve been asked before, how do you get all this stuff done? One way is through caffeine and checklists, especially when it comes close to the actual execution of complicated events on the schedule.
But the other part of that is bullet points and to-do lists that keep me on track, and help me gauge that productivity. Although I did get off track this past week, I look back at my bullet points and realize that I’ve actually gotten more creative work accomplished this past month than I have in the past year. And that is saying something.
To my fellow writers, organizers, communicators, and leaders–good luck. Hope your bullet points are sound, your checklists are neat, and your caffeine is plentiful!
* Projects that I’m writing on spec count as “For Money.” Because I’m spending my own time, but the goal is that I will be shopping them in the future. Therefore, I’m working for myself, and I consider my time to be money in this case.