Making My Creative Day Surmountable

Surmountable and Individualistic

Dizzy. I feel dizzy. Yes, I know. In this day and age it’s a real trial to stay on task and not be distracted by the hundreds of other things that are on your plate. Where is a moment t catch my breath? I wake up at about 5:30AM and my day doesn’t end until around 9 PM, if I’m lucky. It’s crazy.

The Basic Supply List To Sort Myself Out:

  • bullet journal (because I can design and customize my own layout and because I’m a visual kind of gal. And I need reasons to buy all the cool journals I like to use.
  • Sticky notes (the program on the computer, and the physical form of little colorful squares of paper. Because I simply have to clear my head. Too many characters, too many to-do lists. I simply must get the business stuff out of my head. Paper does the trick because I only have so much computer screen to work with. And filing it into a spreadsheet puts it out of sight, out of mind. And again, only so much room on the computer’s desktop. And, frankly, I’d rather have a cluttered physical desktop, than a computer screen desktop. It’s a thing with me.
  • My vintage fountain pen, and I found a turquoise V5 Pilot pen that works for me, too. I use peacock-colored ink in my fountain pen. It’s a fun color to work with.
  • Outlook for email and some of my longer-term deadlines.

surmountable_19Having a lot of balls to juggle each and every day really takes some determination. A mixture of contract work having nothing to do with writing, photography, graphic design of banners and covers, writing, outlining, editing, proofing, brainstorming, and on and on. I have a mix of tasks I need to accomplish in any given day.

I am a list writer. My desk is covered in handwritten lists that eventually get transferred somewhere else. Excel spreadsheets are something I only use for part of what I need to keep track of, such as books published, price, length, etc., on that end. To-do lists I tend to keep on my desk as constant reminders. The ideal schedule I’d like to strive for is posted on my wall. The visual of the schedule can help rein me in if I get too far off the mark.

There are days when I look at what I would like to accomplish, and the amount of time in any given day that I have in order to accomplish, so the to-do list and the schedule posted are critical to being productive.

Marketing is a part of the plan and finding time on most days to do that, again takes times to map out. Fitting time in to write, to create, to promote, to read, to research, and the many bits and pieces that come along with that often makes me dizzy and I can freeze in place. Particularly because that is just one part of what I need to balance in any given day. Visualizing the to-do list the night before can help with that. Because then I can wake up the next morning with a clearer plan to approach the day.

I have about 20 slips of paper on my desk right now with various notes I’ve made through the week on tags/hashtags for various things I’m looking to promote. I have several title ideas for new stories. I have a list of books that are on Kindle Unlimited and dates those end, I have a Christmas grocery shopping list that I keep adding to. I’ll be sorting these out this weekend and transferring the information to various Excel spreadsheets, my bullet journal, my calendar sheets that are split into categories of things that need to be accomplished throughout a month.

Oh, yes, the calendar. I have come to the conclusion I can’t use just one calendar; it gets far too cluttered. I’ve split things up to more manageable pieces to help focus. Too much on one calendar makes everything a blur and feels very overwhelming to me. I generally don’t use my online calendar to keep track of short-term goals, maybe because I’m a tactile, hands-on kind of gal. That’s more for reminders of birthdays, anniversaries, yearly events and such. And I like shuffling – cards, paper, whatever, because shuffling in and of itself is a form of reminder or nudge for me. And I do like to compartmentalize things.

My day is surmountable though it doesn’t seem like it at times. Perhaps to someone a little more structured and straightforward it looks totally convoluted. But, it works for me.

Books Released Tracker. I mean, really, don’t I stare at a computer screen for enough hours in the day? I need to break it up. That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it. And again, I like buying journals and using them for a variety of different things. And it gives purpose to a journal buying binge. Because I have so many stories available and promotion I need to do for those stories (and yes, I’ve tried using Excel, but it didn’t work for me as well), I’ve taken to using a separate journal book and I have it set up somewhat like a bullet journal with an index at the front, and each book has a page with details on where and when I promote it, so I’m not duplicating the same information on the same social media sites too closely together. Could I use an Excel spreadsheet for this? Sure. But I don’t. Lots of reasons, but I just don’t. Anyway. In the journal  I can see when I posted excerpts on my blog, Facebook promotions, Instagram images, etc., for that book at a glance. It’s working for me.

img_0923Then there’s my Daily Deeds book that I made, tailored for me. Because I like to create things, and I like writing things down so I can remember what I did. It will show me what groups I’ve posted to specifically in a drill down, what I have accomplished on a given day such as free units offered, book editing completed, formatting accomplished, etc.  Daily Deeds is basically a tracker with details of what I’m doing, and details such as posting on Facebook, I’ll list the exact groups I post to, so I don’t repeat it and I can look back and review that list before posting something again. Or it might detail something that wasn’t on the to-do list, but did get accomplished out of order, or because it suddenly become urgent to get it done.

I will say the holidays throw a wrench into the mix and stretches my daily management abilities to the max.

Health must factor into the fray. I find the best thing for me to do since I’m at my desk  most of the day to work is I do a mix of 45 minutes at the computer, 15 minutes away, even if it’s just walking to the other end of the house, or doing little 15-minute chores that take me away from the computer.  Two days a week I’m out in nature, walking, hiking, photographing. And these two days are what can make the rest of the week surmountable. I can clear my head, in the quiet, I let my mind wander, I clear my head, and I am rejuvenated once again to return to task.

So I take control, I make it surmountable, I individualize for me, I may get repetitive, but for me, that’s sometimes necessary – for my personality, for the ways in which I can accomplish. That’s really the bottom line – to accomplish. I have to make my life work for me. I will prevail, and will use whatever it takes to do that.

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