It’s the middle of July. I didn’t think much of it until I ran across two channels that were indulging in Christmas in July weekends. Christmas. Didn’t we just have Christmas and the Super Bowl a few weeks ago?
The realization that we are in the last half of 2013 got me to thinking about my goals for the year. I didn’t write an official list, but in my head I had a totally doable plan.
- Finish my first novel and publish it by November 1.
- Start an author blog.
- Start social media accounts to support my marketing efforts.
- Attend Camp NaNoWriMo in April and July – plan my second novel.
- Attend November’s NaNoWriMo – write the rough draft of the second book.
Five little things. It seemed manageable.
Lack of Planning = Collapse
What I hadn’t planned for each goal having its own to-do list and those items having their own to-do list, etc, etc. This is when that overwhelming feeling crept in and stomped on me. My mind spun. How was I going to complete everything?
I look at the authors I follow and asked myself how they accomplished so much? They take care of their families, write several books each year, run a blog and social media campaigns, publish multiple books each year, host podcasts, teach courses, host webinars, and attend conferences.
They make it look easy.
I don’t do half of what they do, even though I want to. I’ve reached the point where the spinning of my head is preventing all coherent and creative thought! I need help, I decided, as I flew off the tilt-a-whirl and sailed through the air. This is going to hurt, I just know it!
The Incredible Hulk
My daily to-do list is growing like the Incredible Hulk! Where am I going to find time to work on all these extra things? With my current schedule, I’m physically and mentally spent by the end of the week.
My head spins and my stomach cramps as I contemplate how much I already do each day and figure out how much I need to complete each day to reach my goals.
Have you ever felt this way? While I don’t wish these feelings on anyone else, it would be nice to know that I’m not alone, it’s normal, it’ll get better, and I’ll adjust. Surely I’m as capable as those other authors, right?
To stop the constant feeling of being overwhelmed, I have to make a choice. Do I give up my dream of writing and publishing books? Or do I figure out how to increase my productivity?
I’m going to figure this out. It’ll take time and effort to stop the tilt-a-whirl, but in the end it will be worth.
I decided to do some research on productivity. Here are a few things I found that look like they’ll help.
Suggestions For Getting More Done
- Wake up early – Check – I do this
- Pomodoro technique – I have tried this with mixed results. My sister loves it.
- Write out goals and ground rules for writing sessions – I need to try this one.
- Take notes – Check – I use Evernote for this. It’s on my laptop and on my phone, I love this app. In fact, when I was looking for ways to help get more done I looked here first for articles that I’d saved. I read them at the time but only applied one or two suggestions. It’s time for me to apply more of them.
- Make my goals Trackable – This one I’m definitely going to do.
- Use goal tracking software – I didn’t realize apps like this even existed.
Before I realized free writing was a real technique I called it random writing. The great thing about this technique, no matter what you call it, is it allows you to empty your mind. This allows me to slow the spinning, the endless churning my brain does that prevents me from having clear and creative thoughts. If I really have a lot going on, I’ll do this for thirty minutes, take a break, and do it again until there isn’t another word to write.
When I finish getting all my thoughts down, I’ll read it either right after or a couple of days later. Sometimes kernels of insight and ideas pop out at me when I review my free writing.
So Now What?
Implementation and evaluation. Not everything works for everyone. I have to find solutions that work for me. Part of my answer is realizing, and accepting, that it’s okay if I can’t keep up with other writers who’ve been creating for years.
I’d love to hear how you stay in-control of your life and how you stay productive.