Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tuesday Tip: September 18th.

Organization, or more specifically, the lack thereof, has been the downfall of more than one potential author. While keeping organized is a task that itself takes time away from your primary goals, if done correctly, can focus your efforts beyond what you would normally accomplish.
There are several tools that can aid in the task of organization, depending on your situation. This week, I am going to focus on my two favorite: The Kindle ‘My Checklist’ program, and ‘Microsoft One Note’.
I discovered the Kindle ‘My Checklist’ program shortly after getting my Kindle. It’s a free download from Kindle Direct, and is fairly simple to use. You can create up to 25 checklists, with up to 50 items per list. It’s useful for grocery lists, inventory management, various to-do lists, etc. This is, of course, assuming you have a Kindle device, or the ability to run Kindle apps on another portable device.
The other useful program I use is Microsoft OneNote. It is a program I have seen on computers I have used before, but I had never opened it until a few months ago. It allows you to organize different document types in various pages, sub-pages, and tabs. There is still a lot of functionality I have yet to discover, but it has already replaced my Kindle lists for my writing. I have a ‘Writing’ tab in my notebook, and the top page has Projects, Goals, and Action Items. In the Projects section of that page, I have links to different documents I am working on, reducing the need to navigate through my folders, while still keeping the different document types and projects separate in my filing structure. Under that, on the left-hand side, I have goals, each with tagged with different priorities, labeled with general time frames. On the right side, I have Action Items - broken down tasks that move me closer to my goals. These are also tagged by priority.
One important thing to remember is time management. Personally, I do not have a great deal of time to devote to my writing, the marketing or other developmental aspects of the publishing ordeal that still need attended to. I need to maximize every minute that I do set aside for these purposes. For that reason, I have a shortcut to OneNote in the startup folder on my working computer. I boot it up, log in, and hop to my current project from my Project links. If I am not feeling inspired to write, I tab back over, and see if there is anything else that I can complete on my Action Item lists. If I think of something that I need to do, I can add it without a second thought. All of my notes on world-building, character profiles, timelines, future plots, and societal organizations within the world my novels are set in have been pulled into my notebook and organized in tabs. It’s a little bit of work at the beginning, but when you have a time budget of approximately 70 minutes per day to spend on a venture, you’d better make it count.
So get organized! Try and put this to use in your endeavors, and let me know how it works.
Next week, I’ll talk about what it takes to get noticed, and the drastic measures I’m considering.