Thoughts · writing craft

Flexibility & A Disciplined Backbone: What Your To-Do List Needs

My time as a temporary full time writer has nearly come to an end as I’ll be starting my new job on Monday, but it’s only three days a week! I’ll still be a part time writer with two weekdays to write.

During this month I’ve been way more productive than I thought I’d be. I believe it’s all due to my to-do list. I download a program from the App Store called Todist. It sits on my desktop and has three ways of notifying me of tasks to be complete. The bar on the top of my screen (Macbook), next to the wifi signal there’s a black box and next to it is the number of tasks I’ve assigned myself today. When the program is open it also displays a number on the program in the task bar at the bottom. And it also sends me an email at the start of each day, but I rarely read those.

However, having a fancy to-do list doesn’t mean anything if you don’t have two things:

  1. Flexibility is an important aspect in anyone’s career, whether a writer or a bartender or a lawyer, because people are unpredictable. Even a fairly solitary career like writing, has people in it. I’m often waiting for my sister to review chapters for me, and even when they are in my possession, I often have questions to ask her. Sometimes she’s not around to answer them.The first task of the day may be to edit chapters twenty to twenty-three, and then continue on with three other things. However on chapter twenty-one there could be a plot error which takes the rest of the day to fix because it arcs over multiple other chapters.Time will fly by and it’s eight o’clock in the evening by the time the plot error is fixed. Then it’s a toss up between family time or completing another task or simply needing to relax after that effort. Sometimes tasks have to be postponed, and there’s not point beating yourself up because you didn’t get it done.

    Which is why:

  2. A disciplined backbone is also needed. If tasks are postponed because of Netflix or a game’s day, nothing will get done. Relaxation days are needed, but work days need to outweigh them by much more. There’s a difference between changing the schedule because of work related issues and changing it because of procrastination issues.





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