So Many Lists

Introvert HidingI have this recurring fantasy (not that kind) where I get everything done on my “to do” list. I know some of you are thinking that if I just buckled down, I’d get everything done, but it really isn’t that simple. You see, I have combined my daily task list with my broken/undone “big picture” list.

Yeah. Exactly. Now you see my problem.

“Write outline for second book” is right next to “laundry.” Clearly, laundry is going to get done. Probably today. That second book? We’ll see. Finishing my feature film script is doable if I dedicate some real time to it, but washing the dishes will definitely happen today.

All this leads me to my question – how do you make sure that your daily tasks don’t overwhelm the bigger, also necessary projects? Because I feel like I’m checking a lot of things off the list, but I’m not really getting anywhere with my larger goals.

I’ve tried putting them on separate lists. That just guaranteed that I did not look at the bigger list unless I had a deadline approaching (which is rare because most of my deadlines are self-imposed and seem to carry less weight than my few external ones).

I’ve tried scheduling my day to include a mix of both tasks and projects. Most of the time the tasks got done, but the projects were either barely started or saw only minor progress.

Now I’m seriously contemplating splitting my week into “project days” and “task days.” Have any of you given this a shot? Has it worked for those of you juggling jobs or freelancing gigs?

I’m not foolish enough to believe that if I just focus and implement this new plan, this list will all be completed. I know that I will always be adding things to the list. Teeth will have to be cleaned. Oil will need to be changed. A third book could be in the cards. But I’d like to be able to feel like I’m making real progress on the longer-term (and potentially much more financially beneficial and emotionally rewarding) projects without feeling like I’m not taking care of my life.