Silja Swaby, half Jamaican, half Finnish, is a marine biologist and author. Funded by Arts Council England, she has won competitions, and been placed in prizes and awards. She is working on a series of futuristic thrillers, featuring a female biologist whose quiet academic life takes a drastic turn. Silja has taken creative writing courses at Cambridge University and more recently Yale University, USA.

Silja tutors writers, gives workshops, and provides a critique service. She is happily unmarried and lives in deepest Somerset, UK.

Silja Swaby is pronounced Sil-yah Sway-bee.

July 14, 2008

To-do lists

There’s no getting away from lists and personally, I’d cease to function without them. But are you daunted when yours is as long as your Granny’s stocking? Don't be. First, try not to add on little jobs to tick them off. It feels like you are busy, but really you are wasting time. Secondly prioritise. Put the number one next to the most important thing you have to do that day, put a two next to the second most important thing, up to three. Don’t assign any more. Start working on number one. Don’t start on two or three until you finish or at least have done something significant on one. Do this each day and the things you really need to get done - will get done.

1 comment:

GB said...

Some more tips.

Update the list on a daily basis and when you complete a task cross it out, this helps you to recognise your achievements no matter how big or small.

Prioritise your work. Essential. From your work plan or 'to do' list create "must do", "should do" and "if I get to" categories for your activities.

Set Deadlines. A critical issue.

Don't Procrastinate. It's deceptively easy to put things off by believing you can "log in" after dinner and finish up, or "just put in extra hours tomorrow." So complete the less pleasant tasks first, get them out of the way and give yourself a 'reward' for doing the job.

Complete Tasks. Complete one task before starting another. Attempting to address too many tasks simultaneously is wasteful and can indicate poor planning and/or prioritising. Determine if you're attempting too much, re-examine plans and priorities - be realistic.

Schedule Telephone and e-mail use. Determine a logical point in the day to make most of your calls, and send your e-mails. Don't become a slave to e-mail, waiting for the next message to drop into your in-box.

Minimise interruptions. Constant interruptions or other distractions will destroy the best plans and schedules.

Don't work excessive hours. This temptation is common but ultimately is self-defeating as excessive hours can lead to increased levels of stress and fatigue. Work at maintaining a work/home life balance.

Plan for the unexpected. Problems or delays can happen. Identify 'contingency plans' for completing time critical activities. Ensure you make regular back-ups of your work.

Pot luck Writing tips