What I Learned From My Taskmaster, er, Coach

This is me at my most organized. And, yep, that's a Day-Timer right there. Am I the only one who still likes them?
This is me at my most organized. And, yep, that’s a Day-Timer right there. Am I the only one who still likes them?

Three things you should know about me:

1. I’m a tad chaotic, not a linear thinker, and organizationally challenged. (That’s really a three-for-one.)

2. I get overwhelmed easily when faced with the need to think ahead, plan backwards, and cross tasks off lists.

3. I work two jobs when you count novel stuff and day job–so I’m bananas anyhow.

I knew, come January 1st, 2014, I was going to be in for it with KILMOON tasks, so back in December I arranged for a month’s worth of coaching from the fabulous Lisa Romeo. I had two main worries: The sheer level of pre-launch tasks I needed to get a grip on PLUS seasonal affective disorder. Bad timing that my book launches in March because January is my worst month of the year for energy and self-discipline.

I’m the hibernation queen, seriously.

Thanks to Lisa, I did get some major things accomplished in January. Things like:

1. Blog tour pretty much set in stone.

2. Launch party venue and date set.

3. Swag and promotion-y stuff almost on its way to be completed.

4. Newsletter almost on it’s way to being completed.

5. A ton of smaller task items too.

Here’s the funny thing–even with a coach telling me what to do, namely

  • Figure out my big task categories (blog tour, launch party, etc.) and brainstorm every sub-task possible.
  • Set the deadlines and then schedule the sub-tasks backwards.
  • Write a to-do list for the week, with the first tasks for each category.
  • Complete the tasks and cross them off the list; get the next tasks.

I STILL wasn’t that organized or really that effective. I got more done than I would have — for sure — because Lisa was there to gently whip me into shape, but still.

Come to find out that I suck at follow-through and quick decision-making. Also, I have a tendency to put tasks on the list that I’m not mentally ready to tackle yet, so they get pushed to the next week, and then I have an even loooonger task list the next week.

My task lists are really mental-prep lists. I put a task on it, and hopefully I actually do it the next week. I suppose as long as I know that about myself, I can plan accordingly, right?

Unfortunately, I’m not so good at planning either.

Sigh. In my attempt to get organized, I feel more unorganized than ever. Feels like I’m learning to walk — faltering baby steps, land on my arse, get back up again. That’s OK, but man, without diapers I’m landing hard.

And, even the sub-tasks have sub-tasks. For example, here’s a task I thought I’d get done today: Send a launch party save-the-date email to friends and family, with proper invite to come later.

Easy … except there are tons of people I want to tell in addition to my obvious crew. So really I need to 1) wade through my paper piles for various Post-Its on which I’ve jotted names of people not to forget to invite; 2) write a coherent list; 3) figure out how to contact them if I don’t have handy email addresses.

Don’t think I’ll be crossing that task off the list today.

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8 thoughts on “What I Learned From My Taskmaster, er, Coach

    1. Hi LL! Thanks for visiting. Whining and kvetching aside, it is a fun problem to have–I’m so grateful! I’m such a drama queen sometimes. (Probably should have added that as number four on the list. :-))

    1. Tough when we just want to sleep, right? I’m glad I caught your launch party postcard on Facebook. I hadn’t thought of that, but it’s such an obvious thing. Makes me wonder what other obvious things I’m missing from my task lists …

  1. You won’t think of every little detail. You will get through the main tasks and the sub-tasks & sub-sub-tasks. Everything else (like someone’s great idea) is just icing for your 5-layer cake. If you can’t incorporate it in advance then you can find a way to use it later.

    Don’t forget to breathe Lisa

    1. Thanks, June! There’s no way I can get to every thing that’s jotted on every Post It note. The coach was great about giving me the permission I wasn’t giving myself to let things go.

  2. Love this article. Such an eye-opener. Listing tasks you’re not mental ready to tackle yet … and then because of it you just keep pushing them further and further off … that’s totally me. Good to know what I should work on. Thanks and best of luck to you!

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