Sunday, July 24, 2011

Maintaining Momentum

Okay, this last week, as I've been thinking about my system of doing things, I realized I forgot a couple of huge components. I also realized that this mini-series has helped me see the things I'm doing that work, what doesn't work, and also the things I could do to make things work better. As a result, I took a day or two and did some major organizing here online and on my computer and it should help me tremendously. *grin* It already has.

So, thank you for humoring me and helping me see things more clearly. =)

Here are some other things that really help my productivity level—they all fall into the category of accountability.

First: In the comments on Time Management Ala Patty, Joanne mentioned the note we send each other every night. It's simply an accountability note of what we accomplished that day and our writing related plans for the next day. The note often includes more, but those are the “required” items. So that provides daily accountability for us.

Second: Over a year ago I joined a small group set up to help provide accountability in our writing goals. It's a yahoo group and every Friday night a Roll Call email is scheduled to go out automatically. Usually it's on Saturday that we email in to the group with two lists: our goals for the past week and how we did on each item and another list of our goals for the upcoming week. These are bullet point lists with measurable goals, and we do measure.

Some weeks every item on our goals list is followed by no. LoL, or nope or a variety of other negative responses, and we can get creative because it's really depressing to write NO on five out of five goals. Thankfully, other weeks there's more cheering than nopes on there. Those simple weekly lists keeps us on target. Progress is progress, no matter how small the steps are. Little things add up over time and we've accomplished far more since we started reporting in than we did before.

Sure, some weeks come when life explodes and all hope of progress is blown to smithereens. Some weeks our accountability group resembles a prayer group, and that's good. We cheer each other on, pray each other on and cry on each other's shoulders. Through it all, we encourage—even when we're wielding the fabled wet noodle. And yes, we do pull that out on occasion. It's part of holding each other accountable even as we encourage.

Third: The private yahoo group I have. I'm the only member of this group and there are two purposes for it. One, to act as an off-site storage for a few items, making it so if my computer crashes (banish the thought!) I haven't lost all my work. Two, to act as a reminder system for me. Yahoo groups have a calendar feature that you can schedule email reminders, and I need them.

Here are some of the things I have reminders set for:
  • the due dates for the four sites I write for
  • chores I have for the sites I own/manage, including backing up those sites
  • changing the filter on the AC/furnace (LoL, and other such household things I tend to forget)
  • to back up my manuscripts and the spreadsheet I use as a master index for EVERYthing

Without this reminder system I tend to forget many things—I am a very forgetful person, just ask my husband and kids. Yes, I have a daytimer, but to be honest, weeks sometimes go by with me forgetting to look at it, so the automatic email reminders are a lifesaver. It's worth the hour it took me to get the dates entered—many times over.

The key for me has been accountability and a system to be reminded. It's taken me time to find a system that works for me, but right now, this is what I do.

So tell me, what are some of your tricks that keep you productive?

The first two posts in this mini-series:
Time Management Ala Patty
Treasure Hunting Marathon

8 comments:

  1. Well you already know one of them! And that little reminder each week is sooo valuable to me! I need the accountability.

    I also put a sticky note right on my laptop--and for really important dates/events, I have a small bright green sticky that goes along the top of the keyboard.

    I use Faithwriters Submission Tracker for things I submit. Though I have to admit, that's not been used much lately. *Eyeroll*

    For family events, there's a calendar on the desk in the kitchen and a bright round pink dry erase board on the fridge for things that need to be done THAT week.
    I sort my emails into folders and sub-folders, too.

    And still...I forget things. (:

    Great post!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Stickies! Where would we be without them?! LoL, I'd be in a heap of trouble, that's where. Yup, I put the really important stuff and the things my husband asks me to do (making it really important) on stickies on my laptop.

    Good ones, Dee! Especially that email sorting! What a lifesaver! =]

    Hugs!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm impressed with your accountability system & use of spreadsheets. It answers my questions on how you keep up with your writing, characters & life.

    I recently went back to what has worked for me in the past--a stenographer's notebook & electronic post-it notes.

    The stenographer notebook is always with my laptop. Its my place to jot notes, questions & ideas. I use only the front side of each page. I like using Post-its in there as well.

    The digital Post-its are such a time saver for me. Recently when you were helping me with my blog header (thank you, thank you!!) I copy/pasted parts of your email into a post-it and referred to it as needed. There are "memo board" that I store all those post-its in.

    Love you...I'm off to the beach.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I remember your stenographers notebooks, Cheryl! Your journals are truly inspirational too. (hmmm, gonna have to talk to you about those!)

    And I LOVE your header. Beautiful! Sea Level 320 hehe. She's my sister so I can brag--you should see her pictures. Beautiful!! So glad to see you back in the blogging world! =] Happy Anniversary! 30 years! Way to go! =]

    Enjoy the beach for me. I have the sea glass you gave me right here--the sea foam heart shaped piece, and my jar of mini shells is right above my computer. Love you, chica.

    ReplyDelete
  5. My daily emails to you, electronic post-its, email files, google reader (:::ducking:::), stuff like that.

    GREAT series, sweets.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Anonymous8:06 PM

    All I have is my "paper brain":), a pocket notebook where I write the things I want to remember to do at some point. Thanks for the encouragement toward accountability! I cringe at the thought, because I think others expect more of me than I do. I am encouraged to know that, even in accountability, we can have the grace and humility to admit that we fail. Maybe pride is the central issue in my heart that causes me to avoid it. I am still learning! Thanks!

    Dan

    ReplyDelete
  7. I use the stenographers notebooks too. I make a weekly list including the house chores and cross them off as each is finished in a different color. If I don't my life gets very unbalanced. I also use gmail which has the calendar like yahoo. I also send reminders --NOW. I just learned about that feature about a month ago. Now I have it set to remind me to buy/make birthday cards ten days in advance. NO more oh my goodness it's a birthday and I'm not prepared!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I love the idea of "accountability notes" being exchanged with a friend! Great organizational ideas! And I sure need to incorporate a few of them into my daily life! Hugs!

    ReplyDelete

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