Ever since I became a freelance writer I wake up in the morning and write a list of what I want to do that day. I usually set myself too big of a task and have to send things over to the next day and that's OK. But when I finish tasks on the list there’s a great sense of success when ticking it off.
The importance – or more the great thing – about writing a list for the day is the goals you set. In any job you have to have goals. When it comes to working from home the temptation to not do anything until the last minute is there, the only thing making you do anything at all is the knowledge that it has to be done by a certain day. Don't think of this as a plan for each day, think of it as setting goals. I’m not a planner, I hate planning. I like having goals. Ever since I was a kid I’ve known I wanted to be a writer and have worked towards that – it was my goal. I didn’t plan to write for said magazines or go to said Universities, that happened along the way.
Writing a list for the day helps you keep on top of all the work you have to do, it gives you a sense of accomplishment each day. If you wake up and have a vague idea of what you need to do, the idea gets vaguer as the day goes on, beacuse you have nothing restricting you. Facebook and Twitter distract you, Youtube and Google entertain you. Even in the work place you can get distracted – talking to your colleagues, going back and forth to make coffee and pondering a bit too much. With a list you can see what it is you have left to do. You can’t cheat with a list, sure you can tick it off but you are still reminded that you have to do the task another day.
I am obsessed with lists. After I submit this article I’m going to tick that off my list and go onto my next thing. Does my list control my day? No. It doesn’t isolate me from friends or opportunities, it simply reminds me that I have told myself I want to do this amount on this day and I have to do it. It can be done at 2pm or 2am but it has to be done by the time I put my head down on my pillow.
Lists are our perimeters, the poke we need to keep working, the undeniable truth and, as scary as they sound, they’re not scary at all. And, most importantly, they work extremely well.