It’s February already! How did that happen? Where did January go? Why didn’t I notice it flying past?
I don’t know about the rest of you, but staying organized is a constant struggle for me.
There are so many work things to coordinate. This week alone I have an article to write for the trade magazine published by Romance Writers of New Zealand, copy edits of one book to go through (notes from the copy editor that I need to look at, consider, and make changes to the book as necessary) 100 pages of the next book to write if I hope to meet my March 1 deadline, and I’m still monitoring the forum from the online workshop I taught in January because participants are still posting there and I need to make sure I don’t ignore their questions and comments. I have a FedEx box filled with books I need to read and score for the RITA contest. And let’s not forget about all those industry blogs, Facebook posts and Tweets I “should” be following so I can stay on top of the publishing world.
There are church things to coordinate: a class on web design, church meetings, daily scripture study, Family Search indexing from old census, military, and city records. And a dozen other things God is prompting me to do on a daily basis.
Personal stuff, like getting some exercise and cleaning the house and the day I try to give my daughter every week, which also does double duty as my special time with my granddaughters. Reading, which also fits into my work schedule because a writer who doesn’t read has no business writing. Working on gifts for friends and family, some of which I promised to make so long ago it’s embarrassing. My nephew and his wife will be married 3 years (please tell me it’s not 4!) this August, and I’m still working on their wedding present. And there’s coordinating transportation, which can sometimes be very tricky in a busy family with only one vehicle. Now my daughter is starting a new job with weird hours, and the coordinating is going to get even tougher.
And the thing is, there’s really nothing I can cut out. So I have to fit it all into a 24-hour period, only 16 of which I can actually use because I’m not as young as I used to be. I can’t get by on no sleep like I could when I was working a full-time job with the federal court system, going to school 3 nights a week and also playing/singing in a band somewhere between 3 and 5 nights every week.
The biggest question I have these days is how to keep track of everything I need to get done. How to organize those repeating tasks so I don’t forget them. How to keep track of the commitment I made to be in a certain place with certain information six months or a year from now and also keep track of what’s on the schedule today.
A calendar seems like an obvious answer, but what kind? One that sits on my desk. Perfect! Except then I don’t have it with me to make notes about all the stuff that comes up when I’m away from my home office. One that fits into my purse seems like a great idea, except then I forget to get it out and look at it. Some days my head feels so scrambled, I’d have to make a note on the calendar to remind me to look at the calendar.
A computerized version. I’ve tried Outlook (which is wonderful because it keeps calendar and tasks on the same page, but it keeps crashing on me) Google (which is fine if I remember to ever go there and its Tasks function doesn’t work for me. I’ve even tried Calendar Creator — but all of those are only good as long as I’m sitting in front of the computer. A Blackberry! Great idea. Do you know where I can get one for free?
So how do you do it? I know I’m not the only over-committed person out there. What do you use to keep your days flowing smoothly?