Treat Me Write!
Get Out Your Pen and Reward Yourself.

By Cyndy Bolton

Got a few extra micro-minutes? You know what I mean. That bit of time between the last project you just emailed to the client, and the time the kids get off of the bus. Make the most of this time by grabbing your pen or pencil and jotting down your thoughts. By doing this, I find it helps me stay organized and on task.

Before I adopted this good habit, I sometimes found myself in disarray thinking about priorities, responsibilities and obligations. Distraction would come to me in various forms of all of these things. I would start one task and be interrupted by another, only to again be taken away to do something else. The constant array of disruptions would break my focus, and I found my initial task would go forgotten, or be completed at a less convenient time. Are you following me? Ah, I can see that a good portion of you are nodding with familiarity on your faces.

Allow me to suggest a solution. You may be reluctant to try it at first, but if you stick with it, you will see positive results. My solution is writing. Yes, the old-fashioned "pick-up-your-pencil-and-paper and write" fix. It works. Take the small amount of time that you may have and use it as efficiently as you can. Review what has been on your mind and make a brief sketch of how to deal with it. Problem solving or just doodling will help you sort your issues and clear your mind. It will also reinforce thoughts by visually stimulating your mind. This is how I learned theory in Art school. Write it down.

Once you adopt this cool little habit, you will find yourself thinking about what to write as you wind down the last of what you are currently working on. For instance, say the kids are coming home in 20 minutes. Make yourself a cup of tea, sit in a sunny corner, grab a pen and pad and create. It's doing something as simple as making a shopping list, planning your trip, steps to freelancing your skills or even plotting your first novel.

Make sure that you have a pen and pad handy most of the time. Carry them in your purse or in your car, and make the time to put in your submissions. I keep them beside my bed, that's when the real creative thoughts flow, just as I am dozing off. Take the opportunity to go to a stationery store, or even the dollar store, and pick out your own special writing tools. Select ones that appeal to you with just the right colors and patterns.

Don't forget to occasionally review your notes. It's fun to see how your writing has progressed, both in its style and content. Be careful to only use this as reflection time. Try not to feel guilty about what you had aspired to do, but didn't yet accomplish. Remember, our to-do lists are a living entity, and are constantly changing in order to adapt.

So the next time you are fretting about the fact that time is not on your side, pick up your pen and reward yourself. Simple acts of creativity such as completing your to-do list or putting the finishing touches on your biography will give you that all important sense of accomplishment.