Order and Planning and Schedules

One of the most jarring things about losing an established routine is having to come up with a new one to fit completely different circumstances.  I’ve found it to be very challenging to move from an extremely regimented life, where schedules were imposed on me from the outside, to one that is a lot more self-generated, self-motivated, and self-sustained.

This is still very much a work in progress—I’m bumbling around to see what works and what doesn’t.  It’s hard to go from a life with very clear cut boundaries to one that is a little more free form.  I mean, you actually DO have to get things done to meet your goals.  Freedom is great, but only if you actually take advantage of it.  As opposed to, say, watching Netflix.  Or so I’ve been told… *cough*

It’s even more challenging if you happen to be a woman of a certain age who’s short term memory is, shall we say, inconsistent.

All of this means I’ve been needing something to help keep me in line, help me keep things in some kind of order.  Otherwise, I’ll be lost.  Either I’ll forget what I need to do completely, or I’ll remember it all at once.  Then I’ll feel like I have to do everything at the same time before I lose track of it again.  And that’s overwhelming.

It’s especially true because there are a LOT of plates to keep up in the air in this writing / publishing biz. It’s really easy to lose track of it all.  Add in regular life tasks and expectations and…boom.


Ergo…schedules.  Planning.

But, just as I’ve learned the hard way that writing using too strict an outline doesn’t really work for me, I’m learning that being too slavish to a schedule doesn’t exactly work for me either.

Not that there’s anything wrong with a detailed schedule.  I know people, good people, who have their entire lives mapped out in a day-planner, right down to the minute.  I know people, good people, who actually live by those schedules.  These are organized people. Focused people.  People to be admired.

I, my friends, am not one of those people.

Oh, no, no, no.  I am a stubborn little Hungarian-Pennsylvania Dutchwoman.  I am Paprika Spice.  You give me too many detailed schedules and plans and I will go out of my WAY to show you that I don’t need no stinking schedules!  Those stinkin’ schedules are goin’ DOWN, yo!

Even if I’m the one who set up the schedules and made the plans and deadlines.  Even if the only one who’s hurt by breaking them is, well, me.

Yeah, cause that’s the way I ROLL!  What, what!  *makes finger guns*

And this, children, is the sad story of my life.  I know I need order and planning and schedules to reach my full potential, and yet I remain determined to break out into chaos at the first possible opportunity.

Another problem is that calendars also don’t work for me.  I think it’s the detailed schedule bit.  I see something written on a calendar, and I immediately feel like I need to ignore it or push it.

Which is not exactly the point of the exercise.

Until recently, I was using steno pads to keep track of things.  I had them scattered all over the house.  All of them had lists.  Lists and lists and lists.  And that’s fine…except when you have five steno pads, all with their individual lists, and the same items listed in all five places.  Not to mention that they tend to get buried under assorted detritus only to be unearthed months, nay, years later.  Not helpful.

So I recently started using Google Tasks. It’s been going pretty well, so far.  I loaded the app on my phone and can access it from my desktop as well.   Google Tasks feeds into Google Calendar, so if I need to see things in a calendar format, I can.

Google Tasks works for me because it is basically a to-do list like the ones I was writing and leaving scattered all over my house.  But now everything’s in one place and I can assign dates and make them recurring in various iterations.  Then I can view the various tasks in date order.  When I think of something I need to do, I can add it immediately to the list and then promptly forget about it, knowing I’ll be reminded when I need to do something.

It’s not a perfect app by any stretch of the imagination.  I REALLY don’t like how the recurring tasks are hidden until the day they occur unless you look at Calendar (it makes it easy to over-book a day).  But so far it hasn’t triggered my inner schedule-buster.  Betsy…SMASH!

I have business and personal tasks all on one list because at this point my business IS my personal and both need to be accounted for in the same 24 hour period.

We’ll see how it goes.  Either way, I am determined.  I WILL have order! I WILL!

And maybe I’ll even be able to meet deadlines.

Because I’ll remember what they are.

I hope.




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