The October Checklist (Or EEEKS! It’s Getting Scary Now!)

Wednesday, October 02, 2019
Maybe it’s because it’s ninety-three degrees today. Or that I’m still lounging about in flip-flops and cut-off shorts while dead leaves fall into my frozen adult beverage. The point is, I did NOT see October coming until I turned the page on the calendar—and I screamed like the teenage girl in the horror flick who knows (or technically, doesn’t know) that she’s doomed.

Because October means just three more months before 2019 ends, and with it, all the goals and resolutions and whatever else I planned to accomplish by the end of the year, of which I don’t have a bat’s chance in you-know-where of finishing.

Ugh. I don’t know how this keeps happening to me, but I do know how to take care of business (after I’ve finished all the panicky shouting and running into walls, that is). So if you’ve just faced the ugly realization that you’re way behind, take a look at my October Checklist and we’ll catch up together:

1. Give Yourself a Hand. Find that list you made way back in January and celebrate each and every goal you’ve accomplished. I always include a couple of wants that I automatically do on a regular basis—like reading 50 books—just so I can feel good about accomplishing a goal. But I’m also usually surprised at how much I’ve done throughout the year. So check off what you’ve accomplished and enjoy a little bit of bliss before you start berating yourself. Wheee!

2. Prioritize. The art of prioritizing is very useful no matter what you want to accomplish, and I use this skill daily with my Things To Do List. You see, I invariably list more than I can do in any given day, but I adjust as the day progresses to make sure that I accomplish what I absolutely must get done that day.

So find your 2019 list of goals or resolutions or whatever you call ‘em and put them in order of importance, preferably listing them into a couple of subheadings: Must Do, Should Do, Only If I Have Time To Do. This will force you to intentionally look at your goals and figure out how important each one is.

3. Time to toss. Yep, it’s time to get real up in here. You have three months, and if we’re being honest, you really have about sixty days to get ‘er done. So now you can see why all that hard thinking and prioritizing was important. If you used subheadings, now is when we toss the “Only If I Have Time To Do” goals. If you put your goals in order of importance, toss at least the bottom third of your list. Come on, you were never going to get those goals done, so toss ‘em right now! See how freeing that is? Next, tackle your “Should Do” goals.

My shoulds are usually things like, “redesign my website” or “get new business cards”…basically, they’re on my list because it’d be nice if I did these sorts of things, but there are no dire ramifications if I don’t. Still, sometimes it can be a bit trickier, so if you’re having trouble deciding, think about the consequences of not accomplishing a goal. I guarantee that you’ll easily figure out that there are “Should Do” goals that can be tossed and others that have to be added to “Must Do.” And now all that is left is what you absolutely need to get done in the next three months. Wheee!

So October doesn’t have to scare you anymore. Because unlike the crazed teenage girl, you’re not doomed; you have a new (way shorter) list of goals or resolutions or whatever you call ‘em and you can bask in the knowledge that you’ll accomplish ‘em before the 2019 deadline.

Well, maybe everything but fixing Thanksgiving dinner. EEEEKS!

~Cathy C. Hall


Renee Roberson said...

I went back and took a peek at the goals I developed back in January, and boy did I veer off course. I may have screamed a little myself looking at that list! I do find I have a tendency to get a little crazy with my writing goals, though. In my defense I was having a very hard time at my job during the first part of the year, and then in the middle of the year I got a new job opportunity and took it, but it required a pretty quick deep dive into my responsibilities. For this last ninety or so days, I think I'm going to focus on developing my podcast idea (one script written and three more to go before I'll feel comfortable producing) and anything else will be gravy!

Cathy C. Hall said...

There you go! That's exactly what I'm talking about Renee, that life happens, sometimes with great opportunities, and other times with challenges. So yeah, it's all about being flexible and figuring out what really matters.

I think there's maybe two projects on my list now. And I'm okay with that. :-)

And good luck with the podcast!

Linda O'Connell said...

I am always well intentioned, but somehow I let things slip and then rush to accomplish my goals before the end of each month. I think prioritize is what I need to do.

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

Renee definitely has the right idea. I'm going to focus on outlining the beats in my novel, reading memoir so I better understand how to write it, and reaching out to three more agents.

Marcia Peterson said...

Cathy, I love your photo and first paragraph! You always provide that dose of fun with your helpful advice.

Cathy C. Hall said...

Aw, thanks, MP! Fortunately I have a job that indulges my fun side. ;-)

Sioux Roslawski said...

Cathy--Your image of a pumpkin barfing out pumpkin glob makes me think of what I'm like as a writer sometimes--spewing out stuff that nobody else is interested in. ;)

Yes, another year is almost over. Another year of my manuscript getting dusty... unless something happens in the next three months. (I can stay hopeful, right?)

Thanks for making ME shriek, panic-striken. ;)

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