Last week, Becky’s post made me think about how we writers have to juggle. Sometimes we drop a ball or two, because there are so many of them to keep in the air. Not only do we have different writing projects but also related tasks, such as research, editing, clerical, service, marketing, promotion, and… What else am I forgetting?
At the start of each new year, I like to assess how many balls have dropped, so that I can see where I need to focus more. Last year I wrote about my goals as being more of a road map toward where I wanted to go, and that approach worked well for me. Somehow, despite the unanticipated disruptions, and despite lots of dropped balls, I made it to the neighborhood of where I wanted to be. Yay!
So this year I’m designing another road map, tailored to my needs. 2019 will be the year of cleaning-unfinished-projects-off-my-desk.
That means lots of juggling.
How to keep all those balls in the air? And then, keep them all straight? Some folks use excel sheets, but I’m a hard-copy type. I like to use paper calendars and ledgers. I divide up my tasks on the calendar, working around other obligations already in place. This way, I can visualize the bite-sized pieces that will take me in the right direction on my road map, and then I mark them off each day in the proper column of the ledger. When I look at my columns, I see at a glance when I’m spending too much time on a certain project and neglecting something else.
As for when I tend to those various tasks, I save the mindless ones for that time of the day when my mind slumps, and I need a cuppa tea. I also like to alternate my physical position in my office for the type of task I’m doing. If it’s creative, then I’m at my antique roll-top desk. If it’s research, I’m in my comfy armchair. If it’s editing, I’m on the laptop, anywhere there’s a quiet corner of the house. If it requires technology, I’m at the worktable with my desktop.
But still, it’s so easy to drop those balls, isn’t it?
Do you have other tips for keeping on task with your different projects?