What to do with a to-do list that’s three months or older?
I know I said I was restarting two weeks ago, but I forgot about a holiday and some other stuff in the way. Object lesson here – I might have lost the plot when it comes to my own stuff, but I still need a to-do list.
I know that I said in my last post that I wasn’t doing my own work, but it’s at the point now that I feel as if I’m really not achieving anything. And if you’re there with me, I bet you’re as miserable as I’ve been lately.
So I thought I’d give you some ideas, just in case you’re in the same position as me.
More every day
A sign that your to-do list is getting out of control is that it just gets longer and longer. Procrastination is one thing, but if you’re just adding every day, and can’t seem to make headway on your goals (if you have any), then it’s possible that you’ve got to re-evaluate. Or, if you’re like me, you’ve got a to-do for your own stuff that’s three months old.
There comes a point when you should just say ‘I’m done’. Not that you’ll never do the stuff on your to-do, but that you’re ready to start fresh.
Evaluating your goals
One of the major things you need to do is evaluate (or re-evaluate) your goals – if you’re sitting with the same things on your list, day in, day out, perhaps you need a break.
Or, perhaps you might need to cut down your list into more manageable steps.
Once you’ve done that, you may find that you’re able to make a bit of headway with your goals.
Bitten off more than you can chew
If you’re really stuck, the other option is to decide whether it’s costing you more time than it would cost to hire others – while this may sound counter-intuitive, it’s important to consider whether you need a professional to finish up or do the things you’re struggling with. Things like editing/web design/public relations/graphic work/formatting might be cheaper to send to a professional, when you factor in time and the things that you might need to do to complete them. While you can’t ask someone to write the book for you (well, you can, but really, that’s probably not an option), it’s better to send some of the work to other people.
Sometimes the only thing you can do is wipe the slate clean and re-plan completely. In those cases, just make a clean break of it. Get rid of your to-do and start over.
As for where to make the lists – it depends on what you like. I offer a free download in return for joining ‘the Author CEO‘ which I think tracks everything important for any writer, from word count goals to how much water you’ve drunk (it’s important to stay hydrated!) while there is a great free app online called ‘Wunderlist‘ – but there are other ones out there too.
Whatever you choose, remember to mark off the things you’re doing – even the smallest thing can be a victory when you’re getting back into the swing of things.
This is one of a set of posts called ‘Back in the Saddle’. It started here.