Hello. I’m a writer and I have a confession. I can’t be satisfied with just one.
It’s true. I am not, nor will I ever be, a one-calendar woman.
As much as I would like to be dedicated and faithful to just one, I can’t do it. Three I can do. Two is possible, but never, never just one. Now, before you judge too harshly, you should hear me out.
At any given time, I am using Outlook, a weekly planner, or a wall calendar. Each satisfies me in a different way. One calendar fulfills me visually (wall), another feeds my organizational ego (Outlook), and a third lets me do whatever I want (planner). Do you deny yourself this amazing trio?
I have a full personal life along with deadlines for various work such as editing, writing, book reviews, consulting projects, and coaching clients. No amount of sharpening my pencils to write smaller in the designated space or other types of dieting is going to get me down to one calendar. Really, I’ve tried.
It’s easy enough to schedule appointments and meetings, block off time for exercise or travel, but it’s hard to know how much time any writing, editing, re-writing, submitting, querying, marketing, consulting, or coaching project will take. Sure, I can set a timer for each category, but, seriously, these tasks take as long as they take. When I think a project will be a breeze, it’s a hurricane. When I think it’ll be like dancing in quicksand, it’s crossing the finish line without exertion.
I use the wall calendar for a visual of each of the unpredictable categories. I use colored, small, rectangular flags with a sticky end on one side. I use one color for an editing deadline, another for a writing deadline, and so on. I write the project name and due date on the flag and stick it at an angle to the wall calendar in the box for due date. When I complete the task, I straighten the page marker and move it to the date I completed the task (hopefully it’s ahead of deadline, so I can have a special reward).
At a glance, I can see what income-producing deadlines are approaching and work them into my weekly and daily schedule along with other goals and appointments. My weekly planner and Outlook match up, eventually. Well, okay, only when they are in the same room at the same time. You see how I need space and variety, right?
Each type of calendar uniquely satisfies me and allows me to life my life in an organized, colorful fashion. I can’t imagine expanding to four calendars, but I reserve the right to experiment.
I know I’ll always have at least two calendars – online and paper. If I lose/misplace the paper calendar I have the online calendar. If my computer is on the fritz or not available, I have the paper calendar.
Do you keep your writing goals amongst your daily goals? How do you keep your writing projects organized?
Lisa J. Jackson is a self-employed editor, author, book coach, consultant, Big Sister, cat owner, and chocolate lover. She’s addicted to Sudoku, cafés, coffee ice cream, and words…she never tires of words. She writes fiction as Lisa Haselton and has a blog for book reviews and author interviews and is on the staff of The Writer’s Chatroom where she gets to chat with writing professionals on a weekly basis — and you can too! ©Lisa J. Jackson, 2010