Why 283? Because I have a feeling I have tried 283 times to become more efficient. At least. Even before the electronic revolution, I would attempt to manage my time with my annual new year’s trip to the office supply store, which for me is almost a Julia Child like pilgrimage to Kitchen Kaboodle. HEAVEN. I would go into an orgy of delighted  touching, feeling and  smelling (yes, smelling) of planners. I couldn’t afford the really nice ones, but I would judge them as if I could. Then I would make my selection and take my new planner home, full of purpose and resolve. This year would be the year that I’d  be on top of all the things! And that would last until mid January–February at the very longest. Then I would put my planner aside and go back to the happy pastime of procrastination.

I can’t do that anymore.

As an author I have lots and lots of deadlines. I have been given a chance to make a living and follow my dreams but in order to do so, I have to get serious about this time management stuff, because it doesn’t happen on its own. My books won’t miraculously finish themselves, the promoting and marketing doesn’t happen in a vacuum and I have yet to see the house  clean itself, despite how many times I leave money out for the elves.

So I have become the keeper of lists. Master list, to track all the things. Weekly list, which is a rather optimistic account of what I can pack into a week and the daily list that tracks what I need to get done in a day to keep me from stepping off the proverbial time management cliff.  But in spite of all my lists, I still felt as if I were a hamster on a wheel—running in circles without accomplishing much of anything. Oh, I was making my deadlines, but I still didn’t feel as if I were in charge. So I decided to change all that with some goal-oriented personal study. Shannon McKeldon, an amazing author and friend started a program of self study where she actually gave herself homework. This I could do. I started with a highly recommended book called Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy and  Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World by Michael Hyatt. Both books teach skills I desperately need to develop: managing my time and building my author’s platform.

Mark Twain once said that if the first thing you do each morning is eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that is probably the worst thing is going to happen to you all day long. Brian Tracy writes that your “frog” is your biggest , most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on and is usually the one that will have the greatest positive impact on your day and life. So I look at my list and start with the toughest one, which in my case is usually a word count goal or a revision page goal. If I can get that one out of the way, the weight off my shoulders allows me to whiz right through the rest of the list. It has made a huge difference in my daily productivity.

From Platform by Michael Hyatt, I’m learning how to create and market a WOW product and what that means. In my case, my wow products need to be my books and the workshops and seminars I’m developing.

I have also learned that I really need to keep developing my skill set. This year, I plan on attending Toastmasters, attending at least one writing intensive and reading daily on the craft of writing. Does anyone have any great writing book recommendations? I am working through The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron and have most of Natalie Goldberg’s books. What else should I add to my library?