Saturday, October 27, 2007

Five tips for the perpetually disorganised

(x-posted from my blog, Publish Hacks)
I promised I'd be back when my brain reconstituted slightly.
And so....without further ado.
The five top tips for the perpetually disorganized (cue chart count-down music)

In at number five - Make a to-do list - It might seem odd, but you're not going to be able get organized and plan your time without looking into what you've got to do. So, work out what you've got to work with, and then you can handle the rest more effectively.

At four - close your email. If, like me, you live in your email, you'll find your time is more effectively managed if you close the time sink that is your email. Not only do we focus less well on working if you're looking at your system tray for the little envelope every five minutes, but when it does come in, you then feel nagged, and may *have* to open it. Have a routine for checking email, even if its once an hour (but at the same time, if you're really in a flow at that point, don't break it)

At three - remember that if you're procrastinating, there's a reason for it. If you're ALWAYS procrastinating, perhaps you need to look at your practices, and find out why. Writing is everyone's passion, and yes, we all have to make money from it, but if you really hate what you're doing, maybe you need to look for something you hate less ;).

At two - remember that your todo list is a guideline, not a structure. As long as you're fulfilling your deadlines, don't sweat the small stuff. Similarly, if you're NOT completing your deadlines, you need to look at why. I'm very undisciplined, and I know that's what my main problem stems from, so I've built and designed my working patterns around that. But I don't break off when things are really going well either. If I get into the flow, I ride it out, and find a way to catch up later.

And at number one - make sure you've got the right tools for the right job. I'm currently trialling some low cost software that's supposedly great for people like me. It stores everything in the one place, so I can access whatever I need to with a couple of clicks, within the place I write - and is helping me see exactly where I need to go from here.
You don't NEED to buy software though - there are lots of free tools that you can use (in fact, I review them on my blog), its all a question of comfort.

BONUS tip!
Have FUN! Its one of the most important caveats of writing. We're not writing because we have to, we're writing because we love it. It might be hard, and yes, its frustrating, but at the end of the day, isn't it worth it?

2 comments:

Carolyn Erickson said...

LOL, Kai. I know you're right about #4, but that's probably the most difficult one in your list.

BTW, I read it as "At four (o'clock) turn off your email."

This is actually what I should do, because at that time my full focus needs to shift to home responsibilities.

Serenity Now! said...

I love the bonus tip. I think it's important to live your life with a little fun. We might as well enjoy the time we have here!