Sunday, 21 May 2017

Chaos: Controlled

I have been so chaotic recently. To try and control the chaos I have had help from cleaners, mentors and the internet.

"I need to manage my time!" was what was going through my head pretty much constantly. I felt like I had too much to do, and not enough time in which to do it.
But I have realised that time management isn't the issue. Yes, I may still need a bit of help to get everything done, but as I sit in the time allocated for my writing, I often twiddle my thumbs.
Now, I know my other half (who thinks he is the boss) will not be impressed with this obvious lack of productivity. I can hear him in my head as I type saying 'Just Bloody Write!". And whilst that is probably the best advice anyone can give a writer, it isn't helpful if you are missing one thing.
It is management of a different thing all together. Task management.
I can do the writing. But when I come to the end, I lose all focus. I can lose focus in the middle, even in a short story. My task isn't being managed. I am not doing the things that need to be done to get the story to the best it can be. This might be planning scenes, or producing character arcs.
Another thing my husband-to-be will agree with is that I am too focussed on what others expect me to be doing. Whether that is 'getting a job' or hitting a word quota. Whilst I am not averse to these (okay, maybe the getting a job), to hit my word targets I need a visual map of where I am going.
I have to remember I am relatively new to all of this. One day, this may not be such an issue. But it is right now.
So from now, I am going to micro manage. I have all the time in the world today. My first task will be to write a task list!
How do you do it?

1 comment:

  1. Hi Ingrid, I can identify with your situation, and found myself nodding as I read your words. It's very difficult to manage both time and tasks. However, that is exactly what we have to do to get to where we want to be, regardless if it's writing or decorating the house! Better organisation is required.

    Like yourself, I've made huge changes to the way I approach my writing life, and even the direction I've been going in has been changed. It's been hard. It is still hard making the adjustment. The problem is, you can plan to do the tasks in the timeframe you have and then either it takes longer or 'real' life happens.

    What I have found to help me you may already be doing, but I am happy to share with you what I do.

    Firstly, every Sunday I write two lists of tasks, the first is for my daily life, so it will have things like 'do the weekly shopping online, get hair cut, pick up the dry cleaning, pilates class and visit mum. The second list is all about the writing. It will read, edit short story, find a market for it, attend #writingchat, go to writers group etc

    I try not to have more than 10 things on each list and I say to myself, 'right you need to do one from each list every day, and if you do anymore, it's a bonus!' As the week progresses I tick off what I've done and I always keep the list where I can see it regularly. If at the end of the week stuff hasn't been done, I forward it onto the next list and add whatever else I need to do. It is a system. Tasks are getting done, and although they may not be getting done as quickly as I want them to be done, things are moving forward.

    What I've noticed is that I'm not getting quite as stressed. I feel more organised and I don't feel guilty when I take 'me' time as it's factored onto my list.

    The hard part is to synch your 'to do' lists with your diary/life, but you have to do it, so I sit on a Sunday evening and decide how I think it will be done.
    It's early days with this system and it's dependent on life running fairly even. I tend to allow more time to do things. Some would say, I bet you get less done? Actually no, because I am focused on putting a line through tasks as I do them, and i want to have them all crossed off.

    What is your method of dealing with lists and tasks?


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