Tag Archives: organizing

Juggling Tribbles

Tribbles from ThinkGeek

Check out these tribbles from ThinkGeek!

You ever feel like sometimes you’re not just juggling too many things in life, but you’re juggling tribbles? You’re keeping all the soft, furry balls in the air, and then they start reproducing!

Then you think, that’s okay, I’ve got it, they’re so cute, I’ll get a little less sleep or do this other thing moderately well instead of super great, and I’ll have time for all my tribbles. I’ll be able to keep them all in the air. And then they reproduce again!

That’s how I’ve been feeling since early fall last year! I love my life and my job, but sometimes I wonder how I can do everything. As a self-published writer, I’m in charge of the writing, scheduling editors, planning book covers and hiring designers, picking photos from photo shoots, planning promotions, buying ads, organizing and ordering promo items like book marks, business cards, and banners, and so much more!

Then I also teach classes and workshops, speak at schools and libraries, help friends with self-publishing or writing issues (like they help me with mine!), plan blogs and blog tours, participate in industry organizations and events – and I’m writing two nonfiction books based on the classes I teach. That’s just what’s on my calendar for the next few months!

Sheesh!

I’m trying not to drop the fluffy brown tribble named “Blog” here, but I do hope you’ll forgive me if sometimes my posts are short and sweet. 🙂

How about you? What kind of tribbles are you juggling?

Spring Cleaning – Not Just in the Spring?

I’m teaching a time management class right now for writers. It’s lots of fun figuring out our goals for the year, calculating (read “guesstimating”) how much time it will take for each goal, and plotting it all out on an annual calendar. (If you’re interested in learning more, see my Classes page. I teach this every January.)

CleanOfficeOne of my goals for June is to clean and organize my office. I know I have files I don’t need anymore. And much as I’d like to read everything that comes my way, I have way too many magazines that I’m just never going to have time to read. When my office started reminding me of the teasers for shows on hoarders (I could barely get to my desk between piles of books and papers), I knew it was time to make a change.

Why June and not now? Or spring? I have a major goal that I am working on right now: to have my second superhero novel ready for WonderCon in April. I’ll have a table in the Small Press area to sell and autograph books and, since it’s a comic book convention, it would be great to have two superhero books there instead of one. Then I’ll be at another comic book convention in May in Michigan – Cherry Capitol Comic Con. So the earliest I can think about cleaning is June.

[Note: If you want to know more about when and where I’ll be signing books, sign up for my newsletter at the top right of this page. I’ll add an Events page here as soon as I have time. :)]

All that being said, John had to work on Saturday, and I woke up with a rare bug. The Cleaning Bug. I hardly ever get sick like this, so I thought the best thing to do was to let it take its course. And it’s a good thing I did! Not only did I dust and move some things around in the living room and bedroom, but I started going through a pile of papers on my office floor to put them away.

I was surprised by how much of it I threw away, due to the Cleaning Bug, so I went through another pile, and another. Then I tackled a box, and another box, and another box! If I’d known how different my office would look once the bug had run its course, I would’ve taken before and after pictures! (I’m not done going through boxes and tossing things, but there is already a huge difference.) I am sooo relaxed and happy to be sitting at my desk again! When I took out four boxes of papers to the recycling bin, I had to wait and throw one away after the garbage man comes because I’d filled up the bin!

It is GREAT to get sick like that sometimes! I kinda wish I caught that bug more often. Now hopefully in June, when my calendar says I’ll be cleaning my office, I’ll actually be organizing it better so that work goes even more smoothly. I almost can’t wait!

What about you? Do you get the Cleaning Bug very often? Is it usually in the spring, or does it hit unexpectedly?

How Do You Organize Your Computer Files?

On Wednesdays, I’ll cross-post my blog from Routines for Writers here…

Each week, I try to think up something I’ve found useful in my writing life to share with you. This week I need your help.

I met with my friend Betsy yesterday to write down our goals. We were in the UTS Master of Arts in Creative Writing program together for the last year and a half, and now both of us need to hit the restart button on our careers. One of my goals for this week is “Organize my computer files.” But I don’t know how to do it.

The first five years of writing, it was pretty easy to keep things organized. I had one computer and a box of colored diskettes. I was writing a few magazine articles per year, and I worked on a couple of books each year. Not that much to keep track of. Mostly, when I finished something, it was never looked at again. But as time went by, I wrote more and more. Sometimes I’d send something out more than once to try to sell reprint rights.

Then two years ago I moved to another country again, and in the busyness of the process, I let my organization slip a bit. I saved my books and other writing files in multiple locations “just in case.” But then I started losing track of which copy I’d worked on and which copy was now an “old” copy.  Then I started school again and things got even crazier. Now I not only had a file for my superhero book under “Writing” but I had copies of several chapters under “School.” And not all together either. Each chapter that I worked on during class was saved in that class’s subfolder.

I bought a desktop computer after my first semester because working all day on my laptop was killing my neck, back and hands. But by the time the iMac arrived and was set up in my office, school had started again and I was focused more on keeping up with my homework than trying to understand the best way to file everything. Because now I had two computers, and the Apple people had copied all my files to the new computer at my request. Sometimes I used the laptop to do homework (and blogging and email), and sometimes I used the desktop. I might work on the most current file on the one computer, or the other – but it turns out it wasn’t always the same file.

Sometimes I remembered to save the work to the MobileMe “cloud” that I was trying to learn more about. Sometimes I was in a hurry and just saved to wherever was quickest. Mostly now, I have no idea where the most current version of any file is located. And I know for sure that some files have X changes made and saved on one computer, and Y changes made and saved on the other computer. Yes, I made a real mess of things. So now I have two computers with innumerable files to re-organize. I feel overwhelmed when I try to think up a plan to get everything in its place. And I’ll need a plan to stay organized, as well.

I know that iCloud is coming in the Fall according to the Apple web site. I expect it’s similar to MobileMe, which I already have (though iCloud is free with the newest operating system, and MobileMe is a paid subscription service). But here’s my question – if I put all my important files in the cloud, can I definitely access the most current (and only??) version even if I’m not connected to the Internet? My worry is that I won’t be able to get to my (only?) copy of my book or other file that I need if my Internet goes down. I know I can put files in Dropbox, but it’s the same question – what if I can’t access the Internet?

think that MobileMe saves a copy to my MobileMe iDisk on the desktop of my iMac and the desktop of my MacBook…but I’m not sure. If that’s the case, I think I’ll be safe to work on a file even if the Internet is down – so long as I only work on it on one computer.

So…what do you think? Can I be rescued?  🙂

I think I know the first couple of steps:

  1. Bring my laptop into my office, connect it to its backup drive, and backup both computers. (They each have their own backup drive.) I have Time Machine on both Macs, so I’ll always be able to access files on the backup drive that I later delete from the computers.
  2. Start with the most recent files, the school files. Find the latest copy of each chapter of my books that I worked on, save those to the appropriate “Writing” subfolder, then create one copy of my school files on my iMac, deleting all the other school files from my MacBook and the MobileMe cloud since I won’t need to use them again.
  3. Do the same thing with my blogging files, but put them up on the cloud and delete them from both computers. (Is that really safe and the right thing to do?) Notice me trying to do what are likely the two easiest bits first because organizing the most important files – the writing files – is too overwhelming even though they’re the most important.
  4. Figure out how to better organize my writing files now – especially the ones that have gone through various revisions (agent notes, critique group notes, grad school critique notes, etc). And then… ???

Umm… help?!  🙂

If you know what to do because you’ve messed this up yourself, or because you’re an organizational genius, will you please come to my rescue? LOL! Anything you can put in the comments section would be useful to all of our other reader friends who might need similar help. But if you feel more comfortable emailing me, you can reach me at kittyrosebucholtz AT yahoo dot com.

Thank you in advance! It’ll be great to be able to check off one of my goals for the week as completed. But more than that, it’ll be such a relief to open and edit a file knowing it really is the most current version with all the other notes included! If I get enough comments and ideas, I’ll write another blog post putting all the ideas together. So if you want credit for your idea, please leave your name and web site address and I’ll link to you.  🙂

A New To Do List

When I was visiting the U.S. last month, I was wandering through an office supply store for some reason (any reason will do) and found the coolest To Do list ever!

It is a 3M Post-it Weekly Planner with 52 tear-off sheets (with no sticky glue on the back) and 6 small Post-it note pads (with sticky glue). It has four parallel sections for all seven days of the week, presumably so you can organize four people. But I’m going to use it to organize all the bits of my life.

The first sheet I used as a monthly planner, actually, to organize all the events of my mom’s four-week visit. I used the bright orange sticky notes for things we were doing with other people. When the weather changed our plans, I could move the sticky note to another day.

I used a green sticky note to list all the things we might want to do but I wasn’t sure if we’d have time to do and I just left it at the bottom of the paper. The white stickies were for things Mom and I would do alone together, but that might be changed due to weather. The white note above with the Art Gallery was moved a LOT due to a week of rain.

And for dinners with friends, our night at the opera and other items that wouldn’t change, I wrote them right onto the paper. The next time we have guests, I think I might use this again. It was a wonderful planning tool. You could easily see what you were going to do, and what was still left that needed to find a day to do or see it.

When Mom leaves next week, I’ll start using one sheet a week as is intended.  🙂  Since there aren’t four people in our house, and John doesn’t have a hundred things planned every week, I think I’m going to use the bottom section for People – times John will be away, my girls nights out, Skyping with friends, calling family, etc.

The top one will be my Writing To Do list. There are five lines in each box, so I can write up to 5 things I mean to do with my writing on each day. Some weeks I’ll write “blog” every Sunday through Thursday and other weeks I’ll try to write all five blogs on one or two days because of other deadlines and commitments.

That leaves me two more sections. Because we might move, and due to the state of our living conditions after 18 months of priority-one homework, then a month of being away, then a month of guests, I’ve decided that Housework/Cooking will be the second section down and Organizing/Packing will be the third section down. Since I don’t know for sure how best this planner will work for me, I’m glad the sheets tear off each week and I can try something new every week if I want.

Another way to use it would be to put Writing in the top section, Career Work in the second section (research, paperwork, etc.), and have the bottom two for personal/home work. Or all four could be different aspects of career. Or whatever you wanted to do!  🙂

I bought this pad for about $16 at Office Depot somewhere in Los Angeles, and here is an Amazon link so you can see it. If you get one, or have something similar, tell us how you could/would/do use it.