Do you create to-do lists, but never use them? Do you forget to start tasks you have promised others you would finish? Are you overwhelmed by hundreds of unopened emails? Does this sound all too familiar?
Do yourself a favor, spend this weekend with Completing The Writer's To-Do List and learn to get your tasks and your email under control.
Tonya has a gift for organization. She's used that gift to help large corporations put their systems in order. Now she's turned her attention to writing. Every time Tonya finishes a writing book, I want to include it in a Storybundle. Because the book invariably provides systems and ways of looking at writing that no one else can rival. If you're overwhelmed by the sheer volume of ideas from this Storybundle, Tonya's book will help you organize those ideas into an effective—and doable—to-do list. – Kristine Kathryn Rusch
"If you fly by the seat of your pants and can't be bothered with a To-Do List, but you keep missing deadlines. If you have a list longer than the Nile, but can't keep your head above water. If you want to get up each morning knowing what to do and go to bed each night with a feeling of real accomplishment. This book is for you."– Dory Crowe
"Tonya Price has done it again: she has given author's a great place to start in the path of organizing everything from To Do to Done. In Completing the Writer's To-Do List she puts together a stellar list of tools and a work flow you customize to fit your needs. Another great book for writers who struggle to get things done."– A.B. Alvarez
Nothing is more stressful than going to sleep and waking up in the middle of the night with the sudden realization you promised an editor you would have a revision to them by the morning that you forgot to start writing.
Today authors are responsible for so many tasks that it has become impossible for even those writers blessed with excellent memories to recall everything they need to do, want to do or have promised they would accomplish during the day. Our inability to keep track of every task we feel we should be doing stems from the fact humans did not evolve to handle our lengthy to-do lists.
In their academic paper, "The Pen is Mightier Than The Keyboard – Advantages of Longhand Over Laptop Note Taking," Pam A. Mueller, and Daniel M. Oppenheimer1 show that the human brain was not designed to store and retrieve the number of details that modern life demands of us. However, no species on Earth is as adaptive as humans. Our ability to adjust to changing conditions is what has contributed to human survival despite ice ages, droughts, and the emergence of the information age. As the torrent of demands on our time and attention grows, people have devised ways to deal with the amount of data we must process each day.
In 2001, author David Allen released Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-free Productivity2, a groundbreaking book that revolutionized how business professionals managed the information deluge that they faced. The lessons Allen taught formed the basis of subsequent approaches developed to control the amount of incoming information. In the intervening years, technology has both increased the number of tasks we need to perform and produced a variety of new tools for managing lists. However, due to the fast pace of innovation and adaptation of technology, most of us are left on our own to figure out how to organize our time to complete all the things required of us by our career, family, and leisure activities.
What this book will teach you
Completing the Writer's To-Do List builds on established methodologies such as the one developed by David Allen. In addition, we review subsequent approaches, and discuss the author's own experience to illustrate processes, which may be used to manage the enormous amount of tasks a writer confronts on a daily basis.
Writers find it increasingly difficult to track every requirement of running a writing business. In addition to research and writing a book, indie publishers also produce their work. At a high level, this includes working with a cover designer, copy editor, beta reader, proofreader, and interior layout designer. Indie publishers must also manage their marketing strategy, advertising campaigns, distribution process, and follower relationships. You can probably think of a couple of additional responsibilities not listed.
All too often, motivated writing entrepreneurs spend a weekend organizing their checklist of projects to complete, only to discover a month later they are once again losing track of what work they want to complete. This book will help you understand why this occurs and how to avoid that situation.
You can access all downloads for this book from the Business Books for Writer's website at:
Throughout the text tools are identified you can use to make it easier to organize and complete your tasks.
One of the tools discussed is Todoist (www.todoist.com). You can sign up for the free version or a premium subscription. Some of the discussions in the following chapters focus on features that are only available in the Todoist paid premium account. To start, get the free version to make sure you are comfortable using the program. Then, after you have been using your new process for completing your to-do list, pay for the premium version if you find yourself wishing you had the additional features.
The features in the premium version of Todoist are mentioned to let readers know the features are available and to point out how to use them since they can save you a lot of time and help you stay more organized.
Learn how to capture your tasks
A methodology will be introduced for gathering your items in one place so you can track your work. In addition, you will discover how to manage your information going forward, and if your life gets complicated and you get behind again, learn how to re-establish control of what you need to accomplish.
Part 1 : Gathering the tools you will need
The book is organized into four sections. Part 1 will help you understand why you struggle with staying up-to-date with your tasks and why most people create lists only to abandon them.
After understanding why most people fail to accomplish their goals for the day, we will review the plan for getting your to-do list under control in a weekend. We will then review how to customize a process that works for you. Illness, unexpected opportunities and a variety of other circumstances can cause a build-up of unfinished work. You need a plan for recovering after you have had a setback.
Part 2 : Preparing for success
My father once told me that to be a good carpenter you need the right tools. Likewise, success in finishing everything you need to complete each day requires the right tools and knowing how to use them.
You can get various apps, programs, and strategies to help you get things done. You can manage all aspects of your to-do list in a program such as Outlook, but many writers prefer to use programs specifically aimed at collecting their to-dos or storing their completed tasks. We will recommend an approach and then show you how to experiment with other methods so you can tailor your system to the way you like to work.
Never be afraid of adjusting your approach as you learn more about what works for you.
Part 3 : Developing a system that works for you
The third part of the book will review a five-stage system for tracking, completing, and maintaining your to-do items from the many sources where they are stored, using the five-stage approach developed by David Allen in his book, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity.3
In Chapter 5 you will learn how to create a process that always captures your to-do items, while Chapter 6 discusses the benefits of using a document management system for archiving your information, so you can find the material you need when you need it.
Part 4 : Your process
One reason writers start a to-do list and then never complete the work they need to finish is that they lack a review process for remembering what tasks they want to complete after the first few days. In Chapter 7, you will learn how to set up a system to capture, schedule, and complete your task list.
Your email account(s) play a significant role in your task management system. Email is often the source of your to-do list and can form the basis of your permanent record- keeping system. Chapter 8 discusses how to end each day with zero emails in your Inbox. Cleaning up your daily emails so that you can deal with incoming messages providing you with more writing time.
The chapter ends with an acknowledgment that almost everyone who tries to get their to-do list under control encounters difficulties at some point. After reviewing the kinds of situations that might cause you to get behind, strategies are introduced to get you back on track.
The book concludes with a chapter listing resources where you can learn more about developing, following, and maintaining your list. Use these resources to fine tune your task management strategy, and discover tools available to simplify the entire process.
How this book fits in the
Business Books for Writers series
Since writers are busy professionals each book in the Business Books for Writers series is short so you can read it in a weekend. The Writer's Business Plan4, helps writing entrepreneurs decide what they want their business to accomplish and what they want to achieve with their company. Meeting the Writer's Deadline introduced strategies for completing writing projects by helping writers set clear goals for their writing enterprise and a strategy for achieving those goals.
The current book, as the third in the series, fills in the next step in the process: taking the goals and tasks created by the previous two books and bringing them under your control, thereby allowing you to spend more time writing, making it easier to hit your deadlines and reach your writing business goals.
Each of the Business Books for Writers contains examples, checklists, worksheets, and templates, so readers do not have to reinvent these helpful tools. Feel free to modify them as needed for your personal use.
Print readers will find a webpage listing all the URLs in the book that can be used to easily access online resources. For Completing the Writers To-Do List, the URL page is found at:
Website resources for this book
You will find a unique web page on the Business Books for Writers website where any corrections to the manuscript found after publication are listed. While we work hard to catch all errors through our professional copyediting, proofreading and layout stages, a small typo might occasionally occur. You can find the current crop of errors with corrections at:
I received positive comments from readers regarding the tips, hints, and end of chapter review points contained in books one, and two of the series, so look through the book. Below is your first tip box!
Tip: You need a system
Many writers get frustrated with their inability to complete everything they need to do to run a business. Getting behind becomes a source of stress, and it is not uncommon for writers to start thinking of themselves as a failure. The secret to completing your to-do list is to develop a system. That is what Completing The Writer's To-Do List teaches you to do.