Virtual Mini-Con?

I was thinking this morning that the writers’ conference I went to in Iowa was great because I got to focus on writing for two days with no distractions.  Don’t get me wrong–I love some of my distractions.  In fact, one of them will be home from college tomorrow for a couple weeks.  I do pretty darn well when I can focus on one thing and get it done, but daily life doesn’t lend itself to that.  On a perfect day, I’ll get my household chores done , write, study, and spend time with my family.  So far I haven’t had a perfect day.  Ever.

I’ve tried lots of different systems–lists, tickler files, notes on a cork board, calendars (paper and online with alarms and reminders).  Part of the trouble is sometimes my goals are not specific enough.  “Finish Family Herbalist Certification” is pretty broad, but it seems like, in the time it would take to break it down, write it out, and log it on a calendar or pin it to my board, I could just do it and be done.  I like done, but it takes a long time.

I was going to post this on my fan page, but condensing it into a paragraph was too much to do before I go to work so I’ll just post this link.  If you’re interested in batting ideas around, leave me a comment somewhere.  Just don’t pin it to my cork board; I might miss it.


3 comments on “Virtual Mini-Con?

  1. Stephen B. says:

    Lists. I couldn’t keep anything on track without lists. Of course, I have to remember to actually look at the lists, but when I do, they keep me moving forward.

    On larger projects, I break them into smaller bits. For instance, my “Floozy” list right now reads:

    1. Choose font for cover. (Done!)
    2. Fix formatting on table of contents.
    3. Get corrections back from:
    4. Type in corrections.

    And so on. I have thirty items on the list. All are part of producing “Floozy.” Also, breaking a project up like that and doing one item a day keeps me feeling productive and upbeat.

  2. Jean says:

    That’s where David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD) approach of focusing on the “Next Action” helps. You have a projects and lists, but the key is to identify the “next action” you have to take to move one step further to accomplishing the task or project. The other critical part is to establish your system and follow it. It doesn’t matter WHAT that system is.

    I use a combination of FlyLady, Control Journal, and Things (software designed around but not solely for, GTD). It does all come down to whether I choose to execute the plan or not. Some “things” stay on my Today list for a long, long time. That’s my fault. I’m not executing my program. But, whenever I need something quick to do, I have it right there, and can execute it. I do love checking things off my list.

    I’ll caveat that with I love to make long, long, long lists of ALL the things I have to do. Then I set it aside and look at it a week later and check off all the things I’ve done. It works remarkably well. My subconscious remembers the stuff on the list, and it takes care of it for me. The reason some of those items remain on my list for so long is, when they pop up, my brain doesn’t think they need to be done yet, so it sets it aside until it decides it’s ready to be done.

  3. wendyblanton says:

    I’ve done lists for a long time. They’re invaluable to me, especially now when I can’t keep a thought for more than a minute. I’ve had 77 days of ADOB (Attention Deficit Ooh Butterfly!!!). My biggest issues are working on little bits of lots of different things day after day after day, and concentration/focus issues late in the day. I’m doing better with the focus the less caffeine I drink; when I first switched to tea I had 2-3 good, productive hours a day. The rest I was on autopilot at best.

    I’ve tried scheduling things at specific times and that hasn’t worked so well. The lists seem to do all right, but I’m looking for something that will help me get everything in one place. Maybe I’m just trying too hard.

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