Confession time. I am lazy. Super lazy. If I could, I would spend the whole day on the couch, watching reruns of Beverly Hills, 90210 and reading as many books as I could get my hands on. But I have kids to raise, a house to clean, and a dream of seeing my name on the front of a book cover one day.
So what’s a lazy dreamer to do?
That’s where confession #2 come in. I love lists and schedules and planners. I’m the kind of person who will add something to my to do list that I’ve already done, just so I can cross it off. Don’t laugh; it’s very satisfying.
A few months ago, when I decided I was finally going to make my dream a reality, I went to Target (obviously) and bought a pretty planner that has monthly calendars as well as daily planners broken down by the hour and room for notes.
On the monthly planner, I keep track of appointments and events. I also plan out topics for this blog ahead of time.
On the daily planner, I pencil in:
- Writing and editing time. I’ll usually specify what I want to work on (my book, a blog post, a short story, or editing my friend’s awesome YA fantasy series). This way, when the time comes I’m already in the right mindset.
- Quality time with the kids. Okay, here is confession #3. I don’t really enjoy playing with my kids. Now don’t get me wrong. I love my kids more than anything. I love listening to their stories, cuddling them, reading to them, taking them to new places. But I’m just not that big on playing dolls or building castles. Not to mention that with all the other stuff I have to do, it’s easy to let the day go by without any real quality time with them. So I plan ahead. I add in games of Candy Land, coloring sessions, picnic lunches, or trips to the park or library to my schedule.
- Household chores. There are some things I do automatically — the dishes, laundry, bills. So I don’t feel the need to schedule them. But there are other tasks I tend to procrastinate on, like cleaning the bathrooms (ughhh) or dusting upstairs. So those go on my list.
- Errands. Again, not the ones I’d do anyway, like school drop-off/pick-up. But I do put down grocery shopping, so that I can prepare a list beforehand.
- Gym time or home workouts. If I write it down, I’m much more likely to actually do it.
Since I’ve started planning my days, I’ve found that I’ve become much more productive. I don’t always stick to the schedule, but having it on paper helps.
Another thing that helps is setting specific goals. A couple of months ago I sat down and wrote out a yearly timeline of the things I want to accomplish writing-wise. One for my book, one for short stories, and one for this website. I started at where I wanted to be a year from now, and worked backward, breaking the goals up into manageable mini-goals (like writing three blog posts a month, or hitting a specific word count each month for my manuscript). Then I wrote these down in my planner so that I can keep track of them and ensure I will reach them.
Maybe you have a dream of running a half marathon or starting a business on Etsy. Or you want to homeschool your kids or start meal planning. Whatever it is, scheduling and goal planning will help.
So try it. And tell me, what are the dreams you want to accomplish?