I’m actually not a very organized person at heart. If you take a look around my messy room or office at the books and files I have “strategically placed” in utterly nonsensical locations, you’ll know that’s true. It’s a fact of my personality that I can’t change, and because of this I have to compensate.
At any given time, in addition to my other responsibilities, I’m also juggling several writing projects and school (PhD program and an MFA program). This can lead to some definite confusion when it comes to deadlines if I’m not careful. So I’m ultra careful!
I rely on quite a few programs to keep me in line. They probably seem excessive, but you have to know the totally disorganized me to understand why I need such constant support.
In a way I’m like a cyborg – hooked up to all kinds of computer software, kept alive only by the grace of the Internet. 🙂 Awesome.
First, I keep a Word document that lists personal To Do items for each day, broken down into simple categories. I (roughly) plan this ahead for each month, and I update it every day. It’s nothing fancy; a typical day looks something like this:
Wednesday, August 11:
Read (insert book title and chapter here)
Read (insert other book title and chapter here)
(insert list of Funnel to dos)
Write about organization
Android play, scene 3
Dystopian novel, chapter 20 outline
Submit (insert short story title) for publication
Not everything gets done, and that’s okay. It feels nice to delete items as I go, and it gives me an idea each morning of what my time looks like for the rest of the day. I’m also pretty forgiving when things need to change. 🙂 Because many of these are personal deadlines, I remind myself that they are, for the most part, flexible.
I keep folders on my desktop that are clearly labeled for each project I’m working on, and I maintain backups of those.
My online calendar reminds me of important dates along the way. It sends daily email reminders about my appointments, and it text messages my phone an hour before each event or deadline.
To track where I have submitted work and when, I keep an Excel spreadsheet.
Like most other writers, I imagine, I also use Word docs for my works in progress – well, most of them. For plays I use Scrivener. It has a bit of a learning curve, but this program has been very useful to me for drafting scenes.
So, there you have it. There are actually a few other little things I use (example: the WordPress publishing scheduler), but the ones I listed here are definitely the biggest help. Excessive? Probably. In fact, many people see what a tight shop I run on my own schedule, and they assume I’m a very organized person. Ha. Hahahahahahahahahaha. *wipes away tears of laughter* These programs are quite organized; I’m only the lesser, human component that the software struggles to keep in line. 🙂
What about you? Do you count on The Great Computer to keep your day running smoothly, or are you naturally organized?