Have you ever wished you had more time and then get it and then waste it? I know I have.

I’ve often said I wish I had six hours more in the day and the energy to go with it. But that is never going to happen, right?

I’ve had days when there was nothing pressing on my agenda and I could’ve used the day to catch up on chores or activities that I’ve longed to do, but instead I became an eggplant who participated in a Law & Order rerun marathon.

Should I be upset with myself? No. Not if it only happens once or twice a year. Everyone needs the kick and just rest once in awhile. Wasting time, letting opportunities to do what you really want to do slip away, day after day, can lead to depression. So the question rises—how do you stop wasting time?

My best tool for not wasting time, is to make a list of things you want to accomplish each month, each week, each day. Some of you may have taken Margie Lawson’s workshop on Defeating Self-defeating Behaviors. In that class, Margie suggests people make such lists. I’ve made lists for years and I was so happy reading from the Psychologist that I was on the right track.

Some people might say, I don’t need a list, I know what I have to accomplish. My answer to them is, I do too. I know what I want to accomplish, but by making a list I prioritize my tasks, I set deadlines and I set goals. In other words, I have a plan.
Some might also say, I don’t have time now and you want me to take more time to make a list. Shhhh..Secret! It takes a few minutes. Usually, I’ll make my list in the morning, but sometimes I might start my list for the next day the night before and finish it off in the morning. And, just so you know, at times, things come up during the day and they’re added to my list and another chore might be moved to the next day. But having that list with me every day motivates me to not waste precious time.
So as an example, here is my list for today.

1) Deep edit chp 3 and email to reader. DONE

2) Write post for PFS Blog. DONE

3) Deep edit chp 4.

4) Exercise

5) Pick out outfits for up-coming wedding/vacation

There’s more, but these are the chores I really want to accomplish today. Note: exercise is on my list every single day. A 30 minute walk is exercise.

Okay, so what is on your list today?

19 comments

  1. Joanne // March 12, 2010 at 9:18 AM  

    Hi Autumn,
    My list today includes running 5 miles, which takes an hour. Then I hope to edit my manuscript for an hour, and cook dinner for a sick neighbor.

  2. Autumn Jordon // March 12, 2010 at 9:22 AM  

    Awesome. You know why? You have'nt created a list that is too long. You have specific goals. I'm sure you will accomplish them and more. God Bless you for helping a friend.

  3. Mary Marvella // March 12, 2010 at 9:53 AM  

    Running 5 miles? Amazing!
    My goals:

    1. edit at least 50 pages of my WIP and add at least 2 pages of new words.

    2. dance around 5 minutes, at least.

    3. write a grammar lesson for to share on one of my loops and to add to my tutoring blog.

    4 tutor a first grader (a whole set of goals there)

    5.vacuum my little workspace.

    6. stalk some folks on FB to let them know I have negatives to sell.

    Those are my main goals.

  4. Autumn Jordon // March 12, 2010 at 11:39 AM  

    LOL, Mary. I thought the same thing about Joanne's 5 miles. I'd be dead.

    Kudos to you on tutoring. Again, I an achievable list. Pat on the back.

    Me chp 4 is done. I have some more time, so I think I'll start chp. 5.

  5. Pamela Varnado // March 12, 2010 at 11:51 AM  

    Autumn, time management is something I struggle with. Working off a to-do-list every day helps me to stay focus. Bu my main problem with a list is that I tend to put too many items on it and then get discouraged when I don't accomplish them all.
    Right now I editing the short story I sold to Wild Rose Press and getting my entry ready for the Daphne contest.

  6. Autumn Jordon // March 12, 2010 at 12:11 PM  

    Pam, You're exactly right. Too many to dos on the to do list is a bad thing. Start with 3 must dos or want to dos and then learn to add. Joanne labeled time to do too. That is a great idea. It's sets a deadline.

  7. Mary Ricksen // March 12, 2010 at 12:12 PM  

    Laundry, errands, pick up someone at airport, vacuum, try not to strangle DH...
    Five miles, I'd be dead after a hundred feet!!
    Why am I the only one unorganized around here??

  8. Autumn Jordon // March 12, 2010 at 12:34 PM  

    LOL. Mary, I love your humor. Send DH to the airport, that's punishment.

  9. Patrice // March 12, 2010 at 1:06 PM  

    Autumn,
    You sound like a person who's pretty regimented and does what she needs to do, list or no list. I'm like that myself. I'm editing an entire book which is completed, but my agent saw a few problems, mainly not enough conflict between hero/heroine, and I've given myself a deadline of March 25th, because I have back to back company after that. Since Mar. lst, I've done 240 pages, so I'm ahead of schedule. Redid a major scene today, and another 20 pages so far. Will use my Elliptical machine when I get tired of working!

  10. rita // March 12, 2010 at 1:47 PM  

    Written down makes it real. I have to check it off. Sometimes writing it down is the hardest part. Some days I set word goals, other days, time goals. A friend, who lives an hour and a half away, and I ride our stationary bikes together twice a day. Talking on the phone. Right now it's at 35 minutes each time. We expect to be at 45 minutes in 10 days. Time goes faster when you are talking to someone, but doesn't have any effect on how sore your hinny gets. Today I have 'do taxes' on the list. Awk!!!! My absolute worst thing to do.

  11. Beth Trissel // March 12, 2010 at 2:28 PM  

    Wow, Joanne's on the ball. Life throws things at me like a burnt out well pump and no water for 24 hrs (yesterday and the evening before) and the discovery that my grandbaby got flea bites here! AAGGHH, so cleaning like a crazed bunny, bathing small dog in flea shampoo and giving her a haircut, putting frontline on larger dog, washing coach throws and and and, not on my list. Neither was the stomach flu earlier this week. Maybe it's partly being on a farm, all the little people in my life, and just family in general, but my goal each day is to try and eat right in my neverending weightloss thing, to exercise as possible, and write, something, preferably work on a manuscript. :)
    Thanks Autumnn

  12. Autumn Jordon // March 12, 2010 at 3:08 PM  

    Pat, We're lost sisters. I'm doing edits too. Ahead of schedule is a good place to be. Good job.

  13. Autumn Jordon // March 12, 2010 at 3:10 PM  

    Hey, Rita. I talk to my long-distance friend while I walk. She tells me when I'm breathing too heavy. LOL. Nothing like taking care of two things at once to make more time. Good for you.

  14. Autumn Jordon // March 12, 2010 at 3:13 PM  

    Wow, Beth you are busy. And you're right, life does get in the way at times. But those that it doesn't and we need direction, doing a list is a great way to stay on track.

    Hope everything settles down for you ASAP.

  15. Scarlet Pumpernickel // March 12, 2010 at 10:00 PM  

    Autumn I admire anyone who can make list and then complete those things in a timely manner. I tend to be scattered, but manage to muddle through someway. I have so many things I need to do, that I might have to give it another try.

  16. Beth Trissel // March 12, 2010 at 11:04 PM  

    Autumn, I need another writing prompt or something to get me out of the muddle of day to day and into 'the zone.'

  17. Rebecca Lynn // March 12, 2010 at 11:22 PM  

    I started making lists every week after I did the Day Zero Project. It's a project to do 101 Things in 1001 Days. You make a list and then check things off as you do them. I'd noticed about myself that I was intentionally making time to do the things on my list because I wanted to be able to check them off at the end. So I thought, if I can do that, I should try doing lists every week. And it's been *so* helpful.

    So, like you, I'm glad to hear a licensed psychologist say that it's a good tactic!. :-)

    Great post.

  18. Vanessa Barneveld // March 13, 2010 at 12:07 AM  

    Hi, Autumn! Sounds like I need to start making a list. I'm guilty of wasting precious time.

    My list for today:
    1. Purchase tiles for the new bathroom. Done! Whoo!
    2. Do a circuit of five weight machines, upping the weights by five kilograms each set. Done! Ow!
    3. Fix washing machine. Semi-done. I think I need a new one.
    4. Visit lovely Autumn's blog. Done!
    5. Edit the second chapter of my current wip. Starting...now!

  19. Mary Marvella // March 13, 2010 at 1:00 AM  

    The first grader was sick, I danced around for more than 5 minutes, I vacuumed my work area and the hall, and am working on my WIP, 50 pages of editing so far.