My trick was simple: pick the one most death-defying feat of the day and crank it out without succumbing to the lure of email, chatting with my cube neighbor, or that blinking voicemail light of doom. This was far before the Cone of Silence headphones so it wasn’t easy in a busy office but knocking off the big thing for the day helped me shake my bad thang at the rest of the list.
Now that I’m writing full-time, the list is back in play but in a new format: Google calendar. I have five color-coded calendars stacked on top of each other in the browser plus a task manager in the sidebar to keep me on track. Family, scouts, summer camp director, writing deadlines and the editing schedule for An Army of Ermas all cheerfully litter my screen. It’s a rainbow of OCD. I also have a pink board with upcoming project deadlines and I think that’s a petrified cookie propped up on my printer. Please, god, don’t tell me I put that cookie there as an incentive. I’m doomed.
I’ll gloss over the huge family calendar plastered over the kitchen table for five kids to add their activities to (copied then to my Google calendar) and my iPhone calendar that freaks out and beeps if it thinks I’ve missed something at 4am, waking the dogs and making my husband believe it’s time to get up and make me coffee (win!).
Right now I’m plotting a short story on a yellow legal pad though it will soon move to FreeMind (mind mapping software) once I get the rough ideas down. If it’s too big, that idea will move to the 8ft blackboard so I can better organize the flow. Yes, I know it’s only 5000 words. Can you imagine me as a novelist?
So what are your organizational tips, Cha-Cha?