Friday, September 18, 2009

nerd alert: the queen of to-do lists

I’ve just finished organizing my to-do list. Perhaps I should be embarrassed to admit this list is five pages long. However, within these five pages are some really great opportunities to follow up on, projects I am working on that require attention, and well… it’s like five pages of hopes and dreams awaiting my focus.

Someone who doesn’t know me very well may be inclined to think such a list is out of control and unmanageable. Yet, here’s the thing: it’s totally organized and I am not the least bit panicked. Why not? My list is very straightforward, managed, and easy to work with. Because I made it with me in mind. Meaning… I know how I work, what I respond to, and what sort of structure I need to see on paper in order to get things done.

Thus, my list contains headers such as the following:
  • to-do today
  • to-do tomorrow
  • to-do this week
  • to-do next week
…and then, after the immediate attention items, I have broken down other ongoing projects and tasks into categories such as submissions, projects, website updates, etc. By breaking down the task into its category, when I need to refill my ‘today’ to-dos it’s easy to see where work needs to be done and in what order of priority.

Okay, so maybe it seems a bit much to have five pages of headers staring at me. But the thing I have learned about to-do lists is that they are only useful if they mean something to the owner. For me, it’s a matter of keeping everything in its priority sequence, with actual dated assignments next to each task. Maybe this doesn’t work so well for deadline-oriented folks or anal taskmasters, but it’s what works for me. So, I shall continue to relish in my nerdy glory.

What about you? How do you keep the to-do list in check?


  1. Yes, continue to relish in your 'nerdy glory' :)

    I am jumping on today to say that I got your book of poems, 'Stains:Early Poems' and I want to say WOW! Seriously Lori, that is an amazing collection of beauty. Magic. Pure magic.Thank you for sending it to me :) I am so blessed to have read it. And I have a friend already hooked on your work who I am buying another copy of your book for. Thank you again Lori :)

  2. I'm glad to read about a kindred "to-do" spirit.

    My to-do list is a collection of spreadsheets, with tabs for web updates, blog ideas, flash fiction, short story contests and projects, and the re-write of my novel. It also includes my day-job daily to-do lists. My massive spreadsheet also works to encourage me with a tab for accomplishments.


  3. Tabitha... you know how to make my day. Thank you so much for your kind words. I'm glad you've enjoyed STAINS and are spreading the word. I very much appreciate that!!!

  4. Cathryn,

    I *love* your system. Aren't spreadsheets wonderful? I don't know what I would do without excel and its tabs and pages of organized goodness.

    I think you have one of the key ingredients, too. The 'accomplishments' page is so very important for staying motivated and on-task. Good job.

    Welcome to the blog!