Now Where Was I?

Being a freelance writer means I've got lots of projects — big and small — on the go all the time. To keep each one moving forward, though, I often feel like a flea jumping around and taking little nibbles here and there.

I have a couple of handy strategies to get me moving quickly when I jump back into a project. Without these tips, I waste time answering the question, "Now where was I?"

The To-Do List

My best strategy is the to-do list. Here's how to build them for maximum results:

For each project you work on, define an overarching "Special Project" task. This is not really a task, because a task should be the one thing you can do to move forward.

The Special Project is a complete definition of what you're trying to accomplish. It has the following elements: Outcome, Tasks, Metrics, and Notes.

Outcome: This is just a simple sentence or two that describes the final end result.

Tasks: These are the individual steps that you need to work on to reach the Outcome.

When breaking a project down, it helps to think backwards. Read your Outcome statement. What do you think would be the last thing to do before reaching your Outcome? Write it down. Look at that Task, and ask the same question again. What would be the last thing you do before you can work on that Task? Write that down next.

Keep going backwards in time until you've got all your Tasks defined for the Special Project.

Metrics: These are anything that you can measure or report on that will show the forward movement to your Special Project completion.

When you complete a Task, move it from the Task list down into the Metrics area and mark it DONE.

For example, if you're writing an eBook a Task that becomes a Metric might be "Complete Outline". Cut it from the Task list and paste it to the Metrics list. Then mark it DONE.

Or maybe you want to contact 25 prospects for your copywriting business. In the Metrics section you'd record, "Prospects Emailed: 6/25". Keep updating it until you hit 25/25.

Notes: Drop any ideas into this section that are relevant to your Special Project.

Use this section to catch your fleeting thoughts. Your mind works better at creating ideas when it's not busy trying to remember them all. Unload your mind here and let this list hold your ideas.

Glancing over this entire breakdown of your Special Project makes it easy to answer the "Now where was I?" question. Quickly you can see your end result. Quickly you can see what task you should be working on. Quickly you can get an overview of how far you've come, and how far you've yet to go.

Stop In The Middle

Don't think of this as "Stuck in the Middle."

You can stop right in the middle of an article or right in the middle… of a sentence.

Either way, you plant a seed of intention in your mind. Your subconscious is aware you've got unfinished business to attend to.

This helps launch your mind right back into the thinking for your project. It also adds a sense of urgency to get back and finish what you've been working on.

These strategies let me take nibbles or chomps from my projects. They keep me moving forward.

If you've got some some crafty methods of your own, please share them in the comments.

By Kevin Rokosh

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