I’ve got about twenty projects on the go at any one time. Some are long term, some are on hold pending outside responses, some are at the proposal stage, and some are at the wrap up stage. I’ve tried every method under the sun to stay on top of my work. But they have all failed in one important way: they never stopped my mind from wondering “What should I be working on now?”
For me, that awful feeling of being out of control is a total work killer. How can I be creative when a good portion of my brain in whirring away, trying to stay on top of next actions and deadlines?
I felt totally out of control. My next-action lists were long and my calendar was full, but I had no real idea where I was going.
Until I started using my calendar. REALLY using it. For some reason, I never made the leap from next-actions to SCHEDULING next-actions. As soon as I did that, calm returned, and productivity went through the roof.
I now schedule EVERYTHING. As a result, very little gets missed. I’m still using next-actions, but I’ve added the step of mapping them out on upcoming weeks. This way, I can relax, knowing that I’m going to get them done.
Of equal importance to me as a freelancer though, is the fact that I can feel more at ease about my availability to take on new work.
Like many of you, I have a hard time saying no to job offers. As a result, on a number of occasions I’ve wound up being way too over-committed. Now, that’s impossible.
This isn’t exactly rocket science here. I’m sure many of you do this already. But it’s amazing that a relatively intelligent, committed person like myself didn’t figure this out sooner. I’m betting I’m not the only one (gee, I’d sure feel silly if I was).
I’ve included a shot of my schedule below, so you can really see what I mean.