Monday, June 1, 2020

My Shih-Tzu Doesn't Care About My To-Do List

By Debra Sennefelder

The struggle is real people. Little Connie (who turns a year old this month) doesn’t give two-licks about my to-do list. Just look at her. Does she look like she’s concerned about any of my deadlines?

The correct answer is “no”.

I had copy edits due. I have an outline to write as well as a manuscript. I have social media posts to write. Oh, and a two releases coming up soon.

I try to explain this to her but all I get in return is pure silliness.

And I couldn’t be happier!

Since she came home last October, she's been a great reminder to stop and take a breath. Or, in her case a long walk. There’s also a mid-day game of tossing the ball around or paying tug o’ war with a stretchy toy. My little pup is a ball of energy.

i get through my to-do list and meet my deadlines thanks to organizing and prioritizing my work. I rely heavily on a paper planner to track all my due dates and assigning specific tasks throughout the day. My system isn’t perfect. I’m still looking to tweak it more so that my time spent working is more productive which will give me more time for silliness with my pup. I admit, I can’t resist that face!

Since I've surrendered to all that cuteness, I've also learned to be more flexible with my work day schedule to allow for breaks and I've brushed off an old time management tool - the Pomodoro Method. It's where I work for 20 minutes and then take a 5 minute break. The first week I started using the Pomodoro Method, I hit my goal of 10,000 new words. Week 2, I got the same result. Prior to using the method, I was struggling to hit half that number, and that wasn't working for my deadline.

I think what the method gave me was the ability to look at all the work I had to do as 20 minute chunks. Rather than think "I have 2,000 words to write today", I could simply sit down for 20 minutes and write. A few sessions later, I had my word count, my emails answered, Connie tuckered out and laundry done. 

I' d love to know what is your biggest distraction during your day and how have you handled it.

Debra Sennefelder is the author of the Food Blogger Mystery series and the Resale Boutique Mystery series. She lives and writes in Connecticut. When she’s not writing, she enjoys baking, exercising and taking long walks with her Shih-Tzu, Connie. You can keep in touch with Debra through her website, on Facebook and Instagram.