Lists: The Lifeblood of a Successful Business

Before I started freelancing, I was never a big list-maker. Things just got done at work and I’d stay late during crunch-times to make sure they did.

Then I joined the JHS team at and everything changed. Following the lead of successful women over there, I started to write everything down. Long-term goals, short-term to-dos, article assignments and ideas.

After Ashley was born, though, I misplaced my calendar. I’ve been without it since October. While I haven’t missed any deadlines or fallen behind, I’ve felt directionless. I know I have a handful of stories due the end of this month, beginning of next, but I sit in front of my computer once I get my daughter to sleep and stare blankly.

Fortunately, I have a brand-new planner, still in its wrapping, to crack open for 2009, so I’ll have a fresh start and will keep meticulous records of all my assignments, appointments and interviews. I have a feeling I’ll need it even more than I ever did before. My daily to-do lists will be significantly shorter than they ever were in the past, but I’ll aim to accomplish every item and then some. I used to be able to complete several interviews, 2 to 3 transcriptions and maybe a blog post or two (or a full-length feature article) in one day. Now I’m thankful if I get one “large project” done per day. But that’s okay.

On today’s agenda? I have at least five hours worth of interviews to transcribe that I will begin to tackle, and an interview scheduled for a few minutes from now. I’d also like to get a few blog posts written. Once the transcriptions are done, I can begin to write one of two articles due within the next few days. I have a feeling T.J. and Ashley will spend quality time together tonight while I type like a madwoman!

How about you? Do you keep lists or just remember it all in your head? What organization tools would you not be able to live without?