As you might’ve guessed from some of my previous posts, I have a curiosity with time management and productivity. That’s not to say that I’m an expert at either in theory or practice, but it’s something I think about a lot and do my best to apply in my life.

Part of getting myself into a better frame of mind as we embark on Week 2 of EVERYONE Is HOME, one thing became real clear to me real quick: I needed to up my productivity. Not because work demanded it, but because it’s important to me. Making sure I got something done in the right frame of mind is important to my mental health and balance.

I’ve become a big fan of a to-do list. I tried scheduling myself by the half hour throughout the day, but that caused more frustration than it was worth because my schedule is always fluid depending on deadlines, when clients get information to me, and various changes. In other words, it’s a mess and I don’t have the clout that some captain of industry would have to demand everyone do it my way. So a good ol’ fashioned to-do list it is.

And it works fine. At a glance to my left, on a piece of paper, is all the things I’d like to accomplish that day. It’s handwritten and then checked off with marker. On good days, everything gets done. On bad days, not so much.

Like I said, it works fine for works. But for creativity? Not so much. And that’s actually where I’ll need help on an average day.

Having multiple projects going has a lot of benefits, but being perfectly organized is not one of them. What do I want to work on? What is there to work on? But there seems to be an awfully lot of that to do… And this thing over here… Oy vey…

So it was recommended that I get a second list. This is my permanent-ish to-do list. All of the side projects I have going are there, but as to-do items. The catch here is that I’ve broken them down into repeatable bite-sized chunks. Instead of saying “edit book of poems you’ve been fiddling around with forever”, the to-do item is “edit 3 poems”. Rather than “finish the bloody screenplay draft you’ve been putting off”, that item says “revise 5 pages of script”. Not only is it a bit more polite, it’s something I can grab ahold of, work on for a bit, and then set aside. Maybe other folks manage this differently, but I need all the help I can get.

Something interesting I’ve noticed just now is that to-do lists fall in line with left and right brain theory in location as well – my work/everyday list is on my left and the projects are tacked up to my right. Probably nothing to it, but interesting nonetheless.

Anyone have an interesting way of managing their projects and daily life?