Many years ago, when I was feeling just slightly overwhelmed with life, someone gave me a piece of very good advice–write it down. Write down all the things that are swirling around in your head and stressing you out. I said, but what if I still can’t get it all done? She said, well, then those things probably weren’t all that important.
Duh! Did I mention I was slightly overwhelmed at the time?
I went out and bought a PDA. And I did just what she said–wrote everything down. Okay, I stylused everything down.
And she was right. It helped. I think this is because, along with all the pressure of thinking we have SO much to do, there comes that fear that we’ll forget one or more of the tasks, and then…you know, the world will stop turning.
Life got more cope-able eventually, but I never did let go of my list habit. Many times, I end up doing just what I was “worried” about–not actually getting to the items on the list. Which, I have found out, is definitely okay. Sometimes the list itself can be just a little scary, but only if I actually let myself stare at it for too long. You know, rather than picking a job and getting it done.
Here’s the big thing about the list–it lets me get my writing in. First of all, yes, I always include my writing on the list. But more than that, the list puts me back into a make-it-work mode. It proves to me that I am right–I have plenty to do. Which means it is time to shift out of my rambly, whatever-pops-up-first-into-my-face methodology into a more organized state of being.
In other words, get back to my fiction-first rule.
This week, I have a pile of non-writing work stuff that I have to plow through, while son’s out of school. Next week, though, when those things are out of the way and we’re back on a more structured schedule, the list still won’t be truly depleted.
That’s okay. Because next week…wait for it:
Fiction comes before taxes. On my list and in real life.
Do you love lists? Hate them? Hang onto them like the life-preserver behind a high-powered speed boat? Here’s to however you make it all work!