I’ve got more than one project on my plate. I’ve got my own writing, including creating ebooks and webinars. I’ve got my partnership with Lori Widmer in AboutWritingSquared which includes the 5 Buck Forum and more webinars. And I’ve got clients who pay me for my writing.
Keeping all these balls in the air, or the plates spinning, is a trick – keeping track of them is the key for me.
It turns out I want to keep track of at least four kinds of information:
- What I really want or need to get done today.
- What I’d like to get done if not today, soon.
- What I want to get done someday, but not today.
- Procedures and processes I know I’ll repeat, but not often enough to have them really memorized.
I haven’t yet found a calendar system that will let me see all these in a way that’s useful to me. So I developed my own. It’s not pretty, and it’s not automatic, but it’s working for me.
The first part is what I call my Daily Hit List. It’s a Word file that looks, in part, like this:
As I work I strike through the things that are done.
Each morning I copy yesterday’s into today’s date, double check on what I did yesterday, add and subtract to today’s list and begin my work.
It generally takes me no more than 3 minutes to survey the day and know what I’m about.
It’s chores like ‘promote google+ webinar Linkedin Groups or the steps involved in setting up a webinar, including the PayPal buttons that my other kind of hit list really shine.
These are examples of procedures and processesI have had to learn, often with calls to customer service, that I don’t use every day. In order to quit reinventing those wheels I set up a a hit list for each of them.
Here, to give you an idea of what I’m talking about, is the start of my hit list for promoting to LinkedIn Groups:
When I get done I’ll have a link to each group I use and the date I promoted which webinar there.
When a webinar is over I’ll just delete that column. I’ve actually got a form I can use over and over again.
This list actually does several things. It keeps a record of the list and of the date I promoted which webinar. It also let’s me do the promo over and over again without remaking the form. As I join new groups and leave others I can update the list simply.
I also have a hit list on marketing webinars in general and even one on the steps to create one.
I do also need a calendar, and right now I’m again working with Google’s. My biggest challenge is to look at it often enough.
This system obviously isn’t for everyone, but it’s working for me right now.
And that’s the point. Every writer, every freelancer who handles more than one project at a time needs some system to keep track of it all. Experiment. Figure out what you need, and if you have to create one that’s unique to you, go for it.
Know too, that like so many tools we use, there may come a time when yours stops working – it’s happened to me. Don’t hesitate to let go of what doesn’t work in favor of what does.
Oh, someone asked me why I call these hit lists. It comes from the notion that when I wake up I want to ‘hit’ it as in get work started fast and well.
How do you keep yourself organized?