â€œYou work all the time.â€ My husband was tying to be sympathetic, but I wasnâ€™t sure if it was for me or for him. My freelance writing is the only income that we currently have coming into our home. YES! I do work a lot. No, I do not work all the time.
Part of my problem is that I donâ€™t work enough or at least not as efficiently as I could be working. I chat on IM or check emails or stare out the window when what I really need to be doing is finishing up all of these projects that I have due at the end of the month.
One of the tools that I have been using lately is a schedule, charted out by the half hour, and combined with a to do list of all the writing projects I need to tackle (and any other chores that might need to be done). It is not my first attempt at organizing my writing.
1. I created file folders for each day of the week and I set them next to the monitor â€“ neatly organized. I also had a file folder for weekly projects and monthly projects (and one for rush job). Each new client would go into a folder for the day the project was due. It was more hassle than I needed and took up too much of my limited space.
2. I have tried using a calendar and writing out all of the due dates. I posted the calendar right next to the monitor so that I would have to look at it every day. It worked fairly well most of the time, but although it was suppose to help me manage my time, what I found myself doing is saying â€œitâ€™s not due until such and suchâ€ and I would proceed to waste away my day.
3. I tried doing just a to do list that included all of the projects or parts of projects that I needed to get done in one day. I found that I would spend too much time on this project and run out of time to do that project.
It seems that the combination of the to do list and the schedule is working out so far. I have written in time to work on my novel, to work on creative writing and to send out queries. This is the first full week of the new system and I think that it is almost the perfect combination. I will probably end up adding the calendar as well just so I can tell at a glance what my week or month will be like.
The kicker in all of this is that I am not a naturally organized person. It makes me laugh out loud (and wish my husband was around) when people point out how organized I am. Getting to this place has taken lots of work and sacrifice.
I have found out that with out organization there is no way for me to reach the level of success that I expect out of my writing. It would be impossible to get quality work done on time and it would be almost impossible to keep up with who owed me what.
In the end it doesnâ€™t really matter which system I use or if I do use a combination of all of them. The work will never get done if I donâ€™t focus in and do it.