Writer's Roulette

Every now and again, I have so many work-related juggling balls in the air, that I don't know which to deal with next. Or I'll start one piece of work, then realise I'd rather be/should be doing something else, and switch. It drives me insane, as if my brain is being pulled in five different directions at once. Occasionally, if I'm not careful, I'll short-circuit and nothing of any significance is achieved. Maddening.

Hooray, then, for Jurgen Wolff, whose blog I only just discovered, thanks to a link in today's Shooting People newsletter, edited by the unstoppable Andy Conway (although he hasn't written an editorial for a couple of days now, which upsets me). Here's one of Wolff's simple suggestions for overcoming the madness...

Because procrastinators often like the excitement of putting things off, try playing "to-do list roulette." Make a list of three things you could do today (including at least one task that relates to getting done the thing you're supposed to be doing instead of procrastinating). Write each one on a separate index card, turn them over, shuffle them until you have no idea which one is which, select one, turn it over, and do that task. The element of chance may give you the adrenaline you crave, and the odds are that you'll be on task for at least one-third of the time.

This I like. Might well give it a shot. Or shall I? After all, there are five other methods to overcome indecision. Which one's best? Etc.


Lucy said...

I really don't get why Time Management is supposed to be hard. You do what needs to be done in the order of what is most urgent - or am I missing something??

Piers said...

You are obviously an Organised Person.

And therefore not to be trusted.

Jason Arnopp said...

*Rolls eyes*

Oh Lucy. Honestly, you're so *simplistic*. ;-)

Yes, that's the sensible way to go about things. But we're not all wired that way. And it's much harder when, for instance, you have five things of equal importance, or which all have to be delivered for Friday. That's when you clutch your temples and yell, "I cannot stand the confusion in my mind!".

Phill Barron said...

I opt for getting up early so I can do a 'proper day's work'. I then lounge around watching Stargate and eating breakfast until lunchtime.

Then I have lunch.

After lunch, I get showered and dressed and press on with some real procrastination.

Unless there's a film on.

Finally, about five o'clock, in a blaze of sheer panic, I start with the most urgent thing and work solidly until I go blind somewhere around three in the morning.

I'd like to say it works for me, but it doesn't really.

Lucy said...

"And it's much harder when, for instance, you have five things of equal importance, or which all have to be delivered for Friday."

There are ALWAYS things that differ, what are the chances that they are ALL as important as each other?? Zero. You just have to think, sometimes very hard, HOW they differ... If for example you have to write 2 8 page treatments you have to write, which is the producer who could take you further? Go with that one first then.

But Piers is right. I'm not to gbe trusted. Because I will take you all down with my specific brand of evil advice.

Lucy said...

Like this: have a few kids. They will enable you to Time Manage brilliantly. You'll thank me for this advice.

Andy Conway said...

Hey! I'm not supposed to write one every day, it's just a habit I fell into. Way back at the start (almost a year now) I did one a WEEK. Now, if there's a Special posting I grab the chance for a break (er, or if I can't think of anything to say, I admit it).

Jason Arnopp said...

Oh but sir, it's just not the same without a Conway intro. There I've been, for the last coupla days, first coffee of the day in hand as usual, scrolling up and down the newsletter, wondering where your little Editor's Note has gone!

It's like turning up to a party without being met by the witty, congenial host! A terrible business all 'round. :-)

Jurgen Wolff said...

re Lucy--ahh, the wonder of left-brain people! Thanks for the mention, when I write about procrastination it doesn't feel like I'm procrastinating.

Lucy said...

Left brain people - or maybe just women?! Or more specifically, women-who-are-or-who-have-been-single-mothers-are-the-ones-who-get-more-done?! ; )

And if my brain veers to the left, does that mean it's Communist?