Handling the To-Do List

Saturday, August 31, 2013
If you've read many of my posts on The Muffin, you know that I spend three hours a day teaching Journalism, Speech and Drama.

So, when the last school bell rings in May, I create my summer to-do list and break it into multiple categories, like home improvements, school projects (you see, school NEVER ends for a teacher), and writing projects.

This summer, my writing project list included 11 projects ranging from setting up a new schedule for my blog, querying new markets, completing some photo projects, devoting a specific number of hours to working on the novel, and developing story ideas for the regional publications I write for.

How many projects were crossed off the list?

Can I plead the 5th? Do I have to answer the questions?


Yes, the deuce. Dos. One + one equals two.

The weird thing is, I feel like I got a lot of writing accomplished this summer. I know my bank account appreciated my efforts!

But two? Seriously?

I'm frustrated that I didn't get more done. I've always thought I'm a good organizer and a fast writer.

Only two?

It got me thinking about WHY I didn't get a lot done. Interference from Facebook, Twitter and Words with Friends? Caring for the grandsons while their mom is at work? Wanting a bit of ME time? Too much "Orange is the New Black" or "The Newsroom"?

Sure, some of those factor in, but they aren't the real culprit.

So the day before I returned to school, I sent a HARO query and received a lot of great advice. During September, on my blog dates, I'm going to talk about tackling the to-do list and keeping it manageable. I'll be sharing information from organization experts, a psychologist, and medical experts.

You may be surprised at some of the answers. I was!

Until my next blog post, I'm curious. How do you handle your to-do list? Do you break down each task step-by-step? Do you have an established writing routine that lets you meet your goals?

Share your thoughts with us.

by LuAnn Schindler. Read more of LuAnn's work at her website.


Margo Dill said...

First, I am SUPER excited that you are going to tackle this subject and with these experts. I can't wait. My to-do list is a monster, every day. I never feel like I can just relax--I have stopped watching all TV shows. I do read a lot--but if I choose to read something that isn't for my book review column and only for my personal blog, I even feel guilty. A psychologist could be helpful to me! :) LOL As for approaching my list, I do have 3 columns: writing work with deadlines, stuff I would like to accomplish as a writer (like fix my blog, send brochures to schools), and then personal stuff--this includes cleaning, photo organizing, researching trips, etc. I try to organize my day by thinking about it in time increments: i will spend this much time with my family, this much time with work, and this much time doing the cleaning/organizing. This topic is near and dear to my heart. THANK YOU!

Marcia Peterson said...

Maybe we get too grand about what we think we can accomplish in a "summer." I know I've been guilty of listing all these projects for a given month or season and it's really too much. So cut yourself some slack. :)

As to what does help, I find that I have to actually schedule in tasks in my daily/weekly planner. That's how things happen!

I am very interested to find out what tips you have learned about, though. I love organizational stuff! Looking forward to those posts. :)

P.S. Orange is the New Black & Newsroom are shows I watch too. My husband and I watch about 5 different shows together, all Tivo'ed, so we'll watch them on a couple of weekend nights without taking up much other productive time. Some TV is ok!

Sioux Roslawski said...

LuAnn--I'm afraid to watch OITNB because I'm almost at the end of "Breaking Bad" (one of a couple of monkeys on my back) and cannot handle another "addiction."

I (unfortunately) consider my to-do list quite elastic. The deadlines (when it comes to my WIP and household chores) keep getting extensions. The Chicken Soup and other anthology deadlines get honored (because I have no choice).

I am no help. Sorry. But I do NEED help, so I'm looking forward to your next post.

Catch My Words said...

I never do all I plan to do over the summer, but I have loaded 104 projects on Teachers Pay Teachers, and now I'm starting to make a little bit of pocket change.


Victoria said...

I found that I got the most done when I was in grad school because I always had very specific deadlines for when projects needed to be completed, so now that I'm out of school, I impose these deadlines on myself. This, along with list making, outlining and writing every morning when my daughter is in preschool, help me to get everything finished.

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