Thursday 1st June 2017
Today was the first day resembling a return to normality. I woke up in my own bed and returned to the day job.
Of course, now that Chasepalooza is over, I have a mountain of things to do – from the mundane such as unpacking all my gear and dealing with issues around the house, through to the drafting of a short story and working on the edits for Black as Knight.
I went to bed at a sensible time and despite trying to lay in, got up at a sensible time too. I still feel a little knackered but I’m not sure if it’s jetlag or just residual exhaustion from a hectic couple of weeks.
As a result, my plan for today was simply to create a ToDo list of everything that needs to get done.
I’m big on productivity and the skills I’ve taught myself have certainly helped me get through mountains of work in the past. I tend to implement business level productivity on my day-to-day, making use of a strategy / methodology called Getting Things Done (GTD).
I tend to lean on it more heavily when I’ve got a huge amount of work to do, less so when my tasks are more singularly focused. But whilst my primary aim is the edits, I’ve found myself constantly coming up with items I need to do over the last few days.
The moment I find myself worrying that I might forget a task, is when I break out my productivity software.
I make use of an app called ToDoist. What I like about the app is that it is available on a wide range of platforms and because the data is stored in the cloud, I can pretty much access it anywhere.
I use ToDoist to implement a basic form of GTD. ToDoist has an inbox for all tasks. I create every task in this section. It can be as simple as dictating to my iPhone the task in question. The trick to the inbox is simply to gather all the tasks. It doesn’t matter if it’s a task that needs to be done today or one for next year… they all go into the inbox.
You then triage the inbox. In reality this means going through the list of tasks and assigning more data to them. I have a number of projects set up as folder and subfolders. So Black As Knight is a subproject of my project called Fiction and as such has its own folder.
So let’s say I have a task for Black As Knight to reread my editorial notes, I’d enter that into the inbox simply as “Read BaK Editorial”. When it came to triage, I’d expand upon it to give it a bit more detail. I’ll set a due date, often going so far as to set a time for the task to be completed as well.
Each task gets a location. I use 4: @online for tasks I need to do on a computer, @home for tasks that can only be done in the house, @work for tasks that need to be done in the office and @town for those tasks that require me to leave the house. The idea behind this is that if I was going into town, I could effectively group all the @town tasks together and do them all in one trip. In practise, I don’t make heavy use of the location.
With the location and date set, I’ll then drag and drop it into the relevant project folder.
Once I’ve done this for all the tasks, this gives me my plan of attack.
Now I could go into the Black As Knight project and see all the things I need to do (which can be very useful) but instead I go to today’s date. There I will see the tasks I need to do that day listed with a time.
So I could be editing yesterday’s The Climb at 8am, Doing some work related tasks from 10am until lunch, putting the dishwasher on at 1pm, and then writing today’s The Climb at 11pm.
This might sound very convoluted, but it means you can really stack tasks up, because you always know what you should be working on, and so nothing gets forgotten. Nor do you waste time wondering what you should be doing.
So my big task today was to do this for everything ranging from home stuff, through day job related tasks through to work that needs to done on the novel.
It might be too complicated for some people but I’ve found that my productivity shoots up whenever I put the time in to use it properly, so the investment of time to set it all up is really worth it.
I was due to go to Cake Club today but Kate was feeling ill and Sophie is a bit under the weather – plus I still feel knackered – so we’ve delayed it. It meant I had the evening to myself, and whilst I did work on a lot of tasks, I still felt a little out of it.
I caught up on Youtube subscriptions as I worked. I’m slowly catching up but I realise that since being away, Australian Masterchef has started and that pumps out hour+ long episodes for several months.
I went to the gym this evening as I need to work off the weight I gained whilst in the US. I’d always planned to come back to strict diet and lots of exercise. Surprisingly, I found I’d not lost strength but had lost stamina so I plan to spend the next couple of weeks doing some hard cardio.
So I end up the day feeling a bit like I haven’t achieved anything even though my only real task today was to compile the ToDo list. I’ve had to constantly remind myself that I’ve only just got back and that I’ve wisely eased myself back into it rather than diving in headfirst.
But, despite getting a number of tasks done today, I still feel restless. There’s just so much that needs doing and the sooner I can cross those items off my list, the more relaxed I’m going to feel.
I’m suspecting that June could be more hectic than even my storm chasing trip.
If you want to follow more of my journey, then be sure to check me on my social channels. Likewise, if you’d like me to expand on any point mentioned above, please say so in the comments.
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