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Getting Things Done Strategically

Updated on December 16, 2017
cygnetbrown profile image

Donna, AKA Cygnet Brown is a recent honors graduate of Argosy University. She is an author of four books and a long time gardener.

Writing is My Passion

So much has changed for me during the past year. I have learned that my time is my most valuable commodity. I have determined my passion and that I feel is the most important strategy for getting what I want to do done. I am passionate about writing as well as entertaining and educating others to do what I am passionate to share. In addition, I have a lot on my plate. In addition to writing, editing, publishing, marketing, and meeting new potential fans, I also have had other people vying for my time. My daughter often wanted me to do things for her.My husband wanted me to keep the house and car clean. He also wanted me to bring in a paycheck. My professor in the college class wanted me to finish the next assignment on time.I am now a pastor, and President of the Oregon County Writer's Group. I have had all these people pulling me away from what I feel I really want to be doing and that is write, therefore for in order to do what I want and to hang onto valuable relationships, I have developed some strategies along the way. to get it all done.

Setting Goals

The truth is, I really don't get it all done. I prioritize what I want to do with my time and let other things that are less important go. That is where goal setting comes in. I have to know my destination before I begin the daily journey, otherwise I simply wander around in the land of busy and never really accomplishing anything.

I found that goals are a necessity for knowing what I am going to do in the future. I have long-term goals that reach five years into the future. I have medium annual goals as well as short-term quarterly, weekly and daily goals.

My daily goals are stepping stones to bigger goals. I have learned that I can meet my daily writing goals. I don't need to procrastinate. I can focus on the things are productive. I can avoid spending too much time on social media sites. I can be choosy about what television shows I watch. I can read books simply for pleasure if I limit my reading to certain times and I can allot specific times to work on finishing my next novel.

Strategies Of Getting It All Done

1. In order to be able to get the writing that I want to get in every day, the first and most important strategy is for me to make a plan, prioritize, and stick to it. Planning my day is the first thing I schedule each day. You can schedule your planning time any time of the day that you want. Many people like to schedule at the beginning of the day. Still others like to plan in the evening before they go to bed. I prefer to schedule my day at the end of my work day. This way I know where my work will pick up the following day, but my family life gets to take priority in the evening after my writing time is done. Planning my day only takes about 15 minutes, and I believe that it is my most important 15 minutes of the day.

2. To help me schedule my day, I have created habits that I do consistently. I have things that I do every day at the same time. In the morning before my scheduled time to start work, I get myself ready for work, and clean up the breakfast dishes and clean the bathrooms. When I start work, I work on my most challenging project until about 11 am when I check my emails. At noon I make lunch and clean the kitchen. During the afternoon I write.I finish my work day by reading more emails, and preparing my schedule for the next day. I then have dinner, I do more housework. If nothing else is planned I work on another writing project in the evening.

3. With each one of my projects, I follow my SOFF principle. I start the project, organize and/or outline the project , then I focus on tasks that are involved in the project until the project is finished or time is up and I have to stop and determine where and when I will pick up the project later.

4. To make the most of SOFF principle,(Start, Organize, Focus, and Finish) I find it most efficient if I plan my projects into 15 minute tasks. I am amazed at what I can get done in 15 minutes. If I’m looking to write articles during my project time, I first sit down and write down as many article ideas as I can for the next 15 minutes. Then I look through those ideas and find one that I think would be easy and quick to write. For the next 15 minutes I write everything I can think of about the topic. I would then divide the ideas about those topics into article ideas and organize what material I had into each of the articles. When that fifteen minutes was up, I would then develop an article that I had the most information already. I would then spend the next 15 minutes either fleshing out or researching so that I could flesh out that article. The next 15 minutes might be spent organizing and editing the material I've written. It might take another 15 minutes to find a photo and publish the article. In less than an hour I could have an article completed as well as have the beginnings of several more.

5. On the days when I plan on being away from my work station for appointments, I carry several mini projects to work on while I wait. These projects can vary from dictating ideas for writing a press release into my evernote app on my smartphone, capturing an idea that I have for my current novel or nonfiction book, or it could be that I will read a business book on my kindle. It is definitely more productive than reading those out of date magazines at the dentist office.

6. I make it a rule to work on the things I find most difficult, most important items on my list first, then reward myself by doing something that I really enjoy doing. Today for instance, I am finishing this article then as a reward I will watch an old Star Trek television program. It looks as though I will get to watch a little television after all.

7. Finally, I have learned that I don't have to do everything. Yes, there are things that I need to schedule, there are also things that I need to delegate to others, but most important, there are things that I need to simply realize that I no longer want to do. Those are the things in my life that I simply have to delete.


Goal Setting Process

© 2013 Cygnet Brown


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    • rasta1 profile image

      Marvin Parke 4 years ago from Jamaica

      Very sound principles of organization expressed in the article. I like the 15 minute plan.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Helpful tips! There are so many things to steal our time. Reading others' strategies helps me. Thanks! Voted up and more!

    • prairieprincess profile image

      Sharilee Swaity 4 years ago from Canada

      Cygnet, this is a great article on organizing yourself as a writer. So true that so many other things compete for our time. Thank you for sharing your strategies!