When I get close to completing one of the tasks on my writing/editing to-do list, I tend to slow down. (Procrastination by blog post writing, anyone?) I can focus on one task at a time just fine, but when it gets closer to checking one off, my eyes drop down and I see everything else I have to do.
It doesn’t seem to matter how big or small each task is. If it’s an item on the list, it looms large. And there are always so many left to do. Even when a deadline is months away, the number of lines can make it seem like I don’t have enough time.
So … what’s the solution? Aside from stopping five pages short of this round of editing to write a blog post, that is. Which probably tells you that I don’t really have a solution.
I’m a fan of having notes in front of me to remind me what to focus on. Some of them are on a bulletin board. Others are on a dry erase board. Still more are on sticky notes. (I have a lot of notes.) They get moved around depending on how important they are, with the most urgent peering at me from around my laptop screen.
The full to-do list hides in a drawer, thanks. I don’t need to stare at all of those lines and tasks every day.
I’m going to try limiting my sightline tasks to just two: the one I’m about to finish, and the next one in line. That’s it. Just two tasks. If you can travel miles in the dark by your headlights, you can write a book two tasks at a time.
It’s important to know that you have (so much) more to do, but it’s just as important to keep track of the fact that you are, actually, making progress. Items are being ticked off the list. You’re not at the last item (or the deadline) just yet, but you’re getting closer. Sure, there’s a long way to go, but look at how far you’ve come.
I’ve got my two tasks right there, staring at me, so we’ll see how this works. I’ve got five pages left to edit on this round, and it should be quick, if I can manage to focus on them and not the five pages left of my to-do list.
Butt in chair, fingers on keyboard, and blinders on. Let’s do this.