Monday, 18 July 2011

The Dreaded (Or Is It?) To – Do List

Life is busy these days, so I now compile my ‘To – Do’ list on a weekly basis. I’m no expert but I thought I’d share a few things I’ve learned since I got into the habit. 

·         Spend half an hour each week compiling the list.  It will save you hours in the long term, and don’t overlook anything. Include all those mundane tasks which need doing as well as your writing related stuff. I’m talking about sorting the re-cycling, ringing the opticians, feeding the fish, or whatever. You’ll get a feeling of achievement every time you cross a task off your list.

·         Eat that frog. You know what this means? If you can tackle the worst task first, it’s out of the way. The tasks that will nag away at the back of your mind causing you to feel guilty because you’ve not done them. Best to get them out of the way as soon as you can.

·         The big one.  I plan in the really big writing task as I need to be in the right frame of mind, I need to complete these tasks undisturbed. This isn’t procrastination; it’s calculated planning so that I get the best environment in which to write.

·         Multitasking. This really depends on the individual; I often do two or three things at once. Perhaps listening to an audio book whilst ironing or cooking, or I’ll mind map a chapter whilst waiting to pick my teenagers up.

·         Do plan in time for you. This is essential. Personally, I need to take time out to do some of the other stuff I enjoy in life, like reading, visiting the Jacuzzi at my local spa or going out for a walk in the fresh air.

I don’t dread my to – do list, I get a real sense of achievement at the end of the week when I look back over my list, and see how much I’ve managed to cross off. I dread reviewing the previous week, and realising I haven’t got very much writing done! This way you get to see exactly what you've done!

Inevitably, there will be tasks left over, and its best to try and bump these up your list to a higher priority the following week, otherwise they’ll bug the hell out of you. I’m off to do that right now.


  1. I would dread getting a 'to do' list together - I'd never get to the end of it. Mind you it might help with my procrastination - I don't put off writing, but I procrastinate with other things like housework and gardening (it's like a rainforest at the back of ours)

  2. Cath,

    I've just done mine for August (forward planning) and the secret is not to take too much on.

    Regards household tasks...I'm just the same, our garden is more building site, than garden.

  3. I've never come across the 'eat that frog' phrase before - I like it.

  4. I love my to-do lists. They inspire me and give me confidence - especially when I can tick them off! AND they stop me forgetting...


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