Thursday, February 3, 2011

Deadlines, Deadlines.

My writing has taken off this past year, and although I won't go so far as to say that I'm a writer "in demand", I have somehow begun to amass a long list of deadlines and due dates.  Now, I'm not complaining - having a list of writing assignments and requests makes me feel useful and respectable in a way that is incomparable to any other job/career I've held.  But it does make me pause during the first week of the month when I write all of the deadlines on the whiteboard above my computer and when I'm done the board runs over with colors, bullet points and underlined important projects.

Managing deadlines can be tricky, especially when other opportunities pop up mid-month, a family member falls ill or the sun comes out and calls to you through the window.  It's probably the most difficult task I deal with on a week to week basis, and I have to force myself to not push things out "until tomorrow".  Some of the things that help to keep me on track are:

- Having clear and defined deadlines and goals.  Once the deadline is satisfied, erase it from the board and move on!  No sense fretting over whether or not the editor is going to send something back for revisions when there's a new project waiting to take its place.

- Pre-plan article and blog topics when able.  Although I can't predict what nodes of wisdom I might collect over the next few weeks, I do have an idea of upcoming events and holidays that can be fodder for writing.

- Fill the board, then say "no" or "can it wait?" to projects that come up mid-month.  Getting overambitious causes me to become overextended and feel burnt out pretty quickly.  Not to mention that if you say "yes" to anything, people get the impression that you are just sitting around all day playing Pirates Ahoy and waiting for something to do.  I might be playing Pirates Ahoy all day - but I'm doing it because I need a break, not because I'm desperate for work.

In managing myself, I've discovered that I'm both my best and WORST employee.  I am also the best and WORST boss I've ever had.  It's a constant struggle to stay on task, but then, I suppose that's just a small price to pay for being able to work in my pajamas.

Currently Reading:
Free Food for Millionaires

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