If you’re like me, you no doubt had lots of plans and goals (not resolutions!) for this year. And if you are like me, you may already be feeling a teensy bit overwhelmed by all that you want to accomplish. My year’s to do list looks something like this:
Write 2nd #medievalFrenchteenassassinbook
Revise 1st #medievalFrenchteenassassinbook
Redesign and relaunch website
Promote 4th Theodosia book (pubs April 2011)
Promote 4th Nathaniel Fludd book (pubs April 2011)
Create Marketing plan for above
Attend agency retreat (Austin, TX, April)
Teach one day session at SB Writer’s Conference (June)
SCBWI Nationals?? (August)
Attend first World Fantasy Con in San Diego (October)
Write weekly entry for Shrinking Violets
Write weekly entry for GeekMoms
Write entries for my own blog
Participate in Enchanted Inkpot
Write entries for Theodosia blog
Comment more on other people’s blogs
That doesn’t even count the big personal To Do items like:
Do my taxes
College search for son
Get son settled in said college
De-clutter house of twenty years worth accumulated crap
So where do I even start? If I think of all that I have to do, I immediately feel fragmented and overwhelmed.
As introverts, our energy for this stuff is finite and we have to use it wisely so that we gain maximum benefits without draining our battering to the emergency levels. How do we do that?
And that’s when I realized that my word for the year really does need to be TRUST rather than confidence. Not only do I need to trust in myself a lot more than I do, but I need to trust that I will be able to get to what needs to be done.
Even so, when I look at that To Do list, I have to dig deep to find that trust. Trust that I can get to everything, trust that the things I don’t get to won’t really matter in the end, that if I just keep washing my bowl and washing it the best way I know how, that will be enough.
But trust isn’t much help in prioritizing.
True prioritizing has to come from a deep, centered place and takes more than a cost benefit analysis. We have to understand on the deepest level what our life and career goals are.
At this point in my life, my priorities are:
- My family (But they are all very independent and (mostly) on their own now, so require much less of me.)
- My health (Which seems so obvious but I am willing to bet I am not the only woman here who has put that on the back burner for far too long.
- Writing (Although sometimes, quite honestly, writing comes before health, which I need to work on.)
Looking at those two lists side by side, another word I almost chose for 2011 kept floating around in my head: nourish. I got to thinking about trusting and nourishing almost being a complete directive on their own.
But to reach our dreams, and find the energy to tend to the business side of our dreams, something more was required. Perseverance.
Suddenly I had a To Do List Triage Protocol in place; a veritable Holy Trinity of words to use as my guiding principles as I pursue all that I want to do this year. By asking how the items on my To Do List help me achieve my goals by building trust, nourishing, or helping me persevere when it is required, voila! My priorities suddenly became much clearer. I was able to identify those tasks that are most central to my life/professional goals.
The unpleasant truth is, there are lots of tasks that simply have to be on our To Do list so we may continue to do what we love. And that’s where the word persevere comes in. If you are a published writer, a lot of those To Dos probably pertain to the business side of things. But here’s the kicker: YOU get to decide precisely which business things those entail. It could be blogging, Twitter, compiling a massive mailing list for postcard mailings upon the publication of your next book, putting together kick @ss brochures for school visits, teaching at a conference, whatever you are comfortable with.
Remember that no one can do it all, and no one really expects you to. (And if they do, send them over to see me and we’ll have a heart-to-heart wherein I will set them straight.) You will be the most effective in those promotional or marketing activities you actually enjoy or, barring that, can find a way to hate less. ☺
So now it’s your turn. Can you spend some time developing a To Do List Triage Protocol? I can personally recommend the three word approach. It’s totally freed me up. AND, if you share your ideas with us, I will enter you in the drawing to win a signed copy of THE LATTE REBELLION by our very own Sarah Stevenson! (Not even introverts can resist that offer!)