Sunday, January 27, 2013

From To-Do to Ta-Da, Part 1

Overwhelmed? Desk a mess? Too many projects? Deadlines looming? Not sure what to tackle first?
Overeating to escape? Oh, maybe that was just me. Yesterday I downed yogurt, two kinds of fruit, cereal, a peanut-butter sandwich, cheddar chips, meat loaf, cheese, celery, a trail mix bar, a light beer, and a popsicle. I could have kept going if I hadn’t fallen asleep. Much of my frenetic eating had one purpose: to distract me from the challenges waiting in my office.
When I started this post, I wondered if I could stand to begin one more new document. I have so many unfinished Word files that I can’t remember what I named them. I start a new file when I get a new idea, and yesterday I had plenty of ideas.
We just got a pub date for the memoir I co-authored with my brother. Mr. Joe is due out in seven months, and we have begun the publicity campaign. Here I sit in the deep Ohio winter, wearing my sweats and fuzzy slippers, faced with our mission of creating a buzz--but not facing it alone. I am oh, so glad that Joe is in it with me.
Oh, you thought the publisher would do this? We’ve talked about these roles before: the publisher publicizes the book and the authors publicize themselves. Joe and I also have a publicist who makes our job easier, but many responsibilities still fall to us, the authors.
Yesterday Joe and I practiced interviewing techniques. We discussed what content to develop for our electronic press kit (EPK) and even touched on possible new projects. He is investigating websites related to books and has started a blog.
I started a gazillion Word files and ate.
Today had to be different, yet my brain was still in such a rat race with itself that I couldn’t think. So I stopped. I stopped and did what has never failed me: I took the time to get organized.
1.       Before I could be recruited for “Hoarders,” I cleaned off my desk. I moved everything off the top and ran a disinfecting wipe over the surface. I looked at every folder, sheet of paper, and sticky note, discarding what I could. I filed folders away and put books back on the shelf.

2.       I made a to-do list. This solution is tried and true, but many times I have to be facing disaster before I remember to try it. The length of the list doesn’t matter; its purpose is to separate the tasks that have become one big jumble and help us identify the most urgent ones. Here are mine:
Gather or create (with Joe) material for electronic press kit
Choose book excerpts
Write query letters
Send promised photos to horror website
Research magazines
Develop articles (with Joe)
Keep blog going
3.       I started working the list, my mind finally calming at the idea of one task at a time. For me, it’s the only way to work. And, for today, I can check off the last item on the list.


  1. Wonderful and so uplifting to me to know there are reasons for eating other than being ravenous from exertion (in your case, warranted b/c it was mental exertion). Jane, you tackle topics and post blogs that we all ponder deeply but are not so eloquently endowed as you to "put the point across." I, like you, have to have a clean slate (home, car, whatever, etc., before beginning a new endeavor or journey. Yours and Joe's Mr. Joe journey is on its way; and we the readers will be the benefactors of your hard work. Thank you again for a thought provoking, excellent blog.

    1. What an encouraging comment, Betty. Thank you. I didn't mention in the post that I'm a lifetime Weight Watchers member still tracking what I eat. Yesterday felt like a binge, but I went only one point over my daily goal. When stress intervenes, though, it's a challenge.

  2. I loved the blog too, Jane. You have a wonderful sense of humor and you should share it with everyone you can.I noticed that the binge consisted of mostly healthy food with few or no points. That's a good habit to get into. I have learned much from you. Thanks!

    1. Thanks, Joe. You are a good barometer for me when I write a new post. Yes, my eating binge was partly healthy, at least. The only troubling thing is the "binge" part, but I do watch my WW points. Both of us are eating better now.

  3. I noticed the same about the food choices. One does not binge on celery and fruit, dearie. I hope you didn't see my desk when you were here. It needs a shovel, and rather than tackle it, I moved into the dining room. I don't like to file, you see, and the piles keep getting taller. It's a piling system. I do find lists very helpful when my head is too cluttered with to-do items. Once I no longer need to keep them in my head, stress level drops. Now, to keep the piles off of my to-do list...

    1. A piling system: that's funny! It's what I had on a small scale here in the office. When my desk gets that way I forget what I have, so I have to clean it up. I think we all face clutter and downsizing issues, especially as we get older and don't need all that stuff. Thanks for your comment; weren't you having trouble posting to this blog? Glad you got it working.