I’ve recently felt a need to get both my work day and writing day more organized. You know how it is, you let yourself get distracted momentarily, telling yourself you’ll only take a few minutes to check that email, respond to posts on your Facebook wall, Tweet what you just heard on the radio…you get the picture.
I’m a fairly organized person, and already used a task list to track my daily and weekly tasks. Even so, I found my systems wanting and decided to look for something to give my the extra discipline I felt I needed. To be honest, I’m still experimenting with this method, and the last week has more external interruptions than usual, but so far I love the increased amount of work I’ve been able to accomplish.
My first step was to transfer my existing task list into Wunderkit, and then expand it from there. Before my task list was fairly general in nature. I used a combination of labels in my email inbox and sticky notes stuck to my iMac to keep track of the daily minutia.
I still use the email labels, but each of them become an item in the task list on Wunderkit. Let me back up a little and give a general explanation about Wunderkit itself.
It’s not my purpose to review the software for you, but I highly encourage you to give it a try. Wunderkit is really meant to be a group workspace, and I may use it that way in the future with my beta readers or with coworkers, but for now I’m still feeling my way through.
Wunderkit allows you to create multiple workspaces. You can do this via their website, via a computer-based application, or their smartphone app. You can make these workspaces private—as all mine are for now—or you can invite others to join your workspace, giving them access to your task list and notes. You can also create public workspaces which anyone can join.
Below, you see the task list from my work workspace. My personal method is to label each task in all caps at the beginning, prioritizing when the task needs to be done. Like any task list, when you’ve complete the task, you check it off and it gets moved to the Recently Done section of your workspace.
In this next image you see my task list from my writing workspace. Rather than use the list to detail when tasks need to be done, I label them by type (i.e. blog post), or show what stage of completion a writing project is currently in. I typically jump from project to project as I write, so I don’t prioritize what I’m going to write or when I’m going to write it. I have found that being able to see the project listed in front of me, and what stage they’re in, helps me keep from neglecting any of them.
Now, the next step in my new organization plan involves the Pomodoro Technique. The easiest way to explain the technique is to quote the website.
- Choose a task to be accomplished
- Set the Pomodoro to 25 minutes (the Pomodoro is the timer)
- Work on the task until the Pomodoro rings, then put a check on your sheet of paper
- Take a short break (5 minutes is OK)
- Every 4 Pomodoros take a longer break
So, whether at work or at home plying my writing, I choose a task and spend the requisite time on it. Admittedly some of my tasks don’t take 25 minutes to accomplish, so I might group some of them together.
For my timer, I’m using the free version of the PomodoroApp, and may think about purchasing it in the future.
Up to this point the system is working beautifully, keeping me on task for short bursts and allowing breaks when I need them. I’ll post an update in the future to report on how it’s going.
I’m Jeff M. Miller, and I help ordinary people who are stuck in a rut change their behaviors so they can be extraordinary. I’m an entrepreneur who retired from my full-time job in my early 40s to work from home. I’m a financial counselor, life coach, graphic designer, and passionate believer in helping others improve their lives a little more each day.