Make a To-Do List

It’s amazing what a to-do list can do. Too often if I don’t know what I want to do, I waste the day wandering around my office and grabbing at odds and ends. I may have some plans in mind and some things that need to be done, but I’m not in the mood when I wake up, I let worries distract me, or I get lured out into the gorgeous sunshine just beyond my window.

But if I have a list, I can start at the top and just do it. Checking tasks off when I finish them feels so good, and the pile of projects I’ve finished or moved forward is noticeably taller.

Anybody can make a list, but here are some tips:

  1. Make a to-do list for each day BEFORE that day, so you can jump right in, ready to go.
  2. Don’t put more on the list than you can actually do in one day. Be realistic. How long will it take to do each thing, and how long do you have? A to-do list that you can’t finish can be so discouraging that you just give up.
  3. Prioritize. Make sure the most important things, such as new writing, are at or near the top of the list, so you tackle them when you have the most energy. Put busywork near the end of the day.
  4. Be flexible. If something turns out to be not worth doing or not possible to do today, take it off the list. You’re the boss.
  5. Make another list of things that you’re going to get to some other day and set it aside for another day’s to-do list.

Okay, I’m about to cross off “blog.” My next task is a trip to the post office, and then I get to work on my book.

It doesn’t matter what you write your list on. Put it on your computer, your calendar, a scrap of paper, a white board (my current choice), your phone, your iPad, whatever. Just make the list.

Happy writing!