I have a work plan so I can keep up with my monthly To Do List. It looks like this:
There are good parts of having a work plan. For example, I always know what I want to be working on next. Sort of. I mean I know what I wanted to be working on next when I made the plan three, or six, months ago. We all get clubbed in the head by a story occasionally. When that happens, it throws off my work plan entirely and I spend the next few weeks picking up the pieces.
I’m also one of those humans who chronically underestimates how much time it will take to accomplish something. This is perhaps because I get distracted easily and perhaps because I sign up for too many things and perhaps just because that’s how life goes. The Zombie Book edits, for example, were supposed to be finished in July. Yet I am still chipping away at them – I haven’t even gotten to the fun part where I have to type everything up yet. So I imagine they will continue into September, at least.
So you can see, the work plan becomes something closer to a guideline than an actual rigorous timeline.
The helpful part of keeping a schedule like this, besides maintaining momentum when you have the energy to meet the (hopefully realistic) deadlines you’ve set, is that it also helps you see what you’ve done from month to month. This is nice because I, like many, often look back and wonder what in the world I’ve been doing for the past few weeks. Recently, I’ve added the Tools for Writers Google Sheet** to my arsenal. The wordcount tracker is particularly awesome for me, since I am pretty bad at doing that work. I also like the Career Bingo, which I revisit from time to time for comfort. It helps to be reminded of what you have accomplished, and not just focus on what you have planned next.
Hopefully these resources will help you, too.
**And if anyone remembers the name of the writer who puts together this tool, please send it my way so I can include a link to her site!