I recently came across the following chart and it illustrates perfectly what I'm aiming to achieve:
Take a minute to write down what you do on a daily basis from the moment you wake up, or in my case, from the moment I get trampled all over and yelled at by two infants keen to have breakfast in the middle of the night! I have to be honest, some days it doesn’t feel like an awful lot but my head is spinning at the end of the day as my list of errands increases. On the plus side, I can tell you what many of my Facebook friends have been up to all day long. Sound familiar? Distraction just comes way too easily, and the less you have to do, the more distracted you’ll become and that will start to build up to the point where all errands and housekeeping snowball until you don’t dare think about it and end up with takeaway for dinner. Again! Nevermind the writing.
Review your routine, write an improved routine and see how that works out. (the busier you are, the more you’ll get done)
If your new routine is still not working, perhaps it might be time to get rid of all distractions. As I type, a little box has popped up informing me I have new mail. That has to go, along with all other notifications! Set yourself certain times of day in your routine to check your e-mails and social networks. You do not need to see another photo of a cat doing something cute, or a baby with a face covered in chocolate! Well, at least not all day long, that can be done during your chill-out time. I’ve recently heard of people using timers to manage their workload and it sounds quite useful both for work and for leisure.
“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”
― Jim Ryun
Fill it! Colour code it. If you’re quite good at using an app to help manage your schedule, great. I’m not. I add to one and then don’t look at it for a week. I now have a shiny new wall calendar and I walk past it all day, every day. It’s the best thing ever!
There’s a column for each one of us in the household and I now know where everyone needs to be and when. It’s one less thing to keep in my busy mind and at a glance I know which days/ weeks will be better for writing or just note taking.
If you love apps, I find Evernote really good for planning, sharing and storing information.
Don’t Keep it in Your head or there will be no room for dreams!
I’m a little bit anal and really do enjoy lists and spreadsheets and so far it’s been fun. Putting it all into practice will be harder, but I’m determined to make it work.
- write notes for a feature
- write a logline
- share the logline for feedback
- write a loose outline
- rewrite outline
- write a treatment (or beat sheet or whatever it is you do)
- rewrite treatment
- get notes
- write 1st draft
Now that looks a lot more achievable, rather than writing a whole feature, the 1st task on my to-do list, which I can actually cross off within a realistic time frame is simply to write down notes. And ticking that box feels good! It is no longer a monster, it is no longer a task that I want to avoid and wash the dishes instead. It is a small part of a whole which I can enjoy as I haven’t set myself too high a goal all at once.
Empty Your Sink
That takes me into another part of my life that needs to be more organised, my home. I won’t bore you with how I’m going to achieve this without a cleaner but I have noticed that I get too distracted when the house is a mess, or worse, I feel guilty. Guilt that I have chosen to write over a list of other things that need my attention.
Most important of all though, make time for your friends and family. If you need to, add it to your to-do list “Call Mum/ sister/ friend/ dog”.
I have made a conscious effort to put my phone away at mealtimes. It was too easy to grab it to just check something quickly during a meal and that’s not something I want my kids to be doing if they are ever allowed their own phones.