Thursday, May 10, 2012

Deadlines, To Do Lists, and Expectations, Oh My

I'm a compulsive list maker and setter-up of organizational systems to keep track of them that I ultimately don't or can't use.

I fact, I'm probably the most organized disorganized person you'll ever meet.

This is not something I'm proud of and something I've struggled with for my entire life. I was a terribly disorganized student and blew through deadlines (or at least left things for the last minute) more times than I want to admit. It wasn't until I hit graduate school and my student physical therapy placements that I had to learn to deal with deadlines, schedules, and time management.

It was a hard lesson, but ultimately, I developed a system using a Daytimer paper calendar that I ended up keeping for nearly 2 decades. If I didn't always make my deadlines, at least I knew they existed.

Now that I'm no longer in clinical practice and most of my deadlines are self-imposed, it's definitely more difficult for me to stay on task. At any given time, I'll have a scrap paper to do list floating around my office or the kitchen, another one on a white board in my office, still another one on my PDA, synced to my computer.

It's a little crazy making, quite honestly, but it's the best I can do right now.

I've come to terms with the chaos that is my life currently, juggling writing time, managing the promotion of my debut novel, family responsibilities (life with teens is crazy at the best of times), and my elderly parents' health issues. It means that deadlines come in a lot of different flavors.  Some of them are want-to's: revision of an older novel so I can get it on my agent's TBR pile, brainstorming time for a sequel to THE BETWEEN. Some of them are have-to's: upcoming trip to Cleveland with Dad for a medical consultation. Others are routine tasks that seem as if they never quite finish: bills, laundry, returning phone calls.

Because my brain is almost always spinning in too many directions at once, I write down what I need to do and when I need to complete it where ever I happen to be.  Hence the multiplicity of to-do lists.

Ultimately, things get done. Lists get completed, crossed off, thrown out.

It's just not a pretty process.

Today’s post was inspired by the topic “Deadlines: Love’em or hate’em?”– May’s topic in the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour — an ongoing tour where you, the reader, travel around the world from author’s blog to author’s blog. We have all sorts of writers at all stages in their writing career, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy. 

1 comment:

  1. Awesome, Lisa - I totally do this too!! I keep track of "to do" at the office and at home on little notepads that I carry around and leave on my desks. It's the only way I can keep track!