To-do list anxiety. A lot of professionals deal with it, but for the self-employed, it’s a particular challenge. Between all of the things that need to be done for clients and all of the things that are important to do to promote oneself and all of things to do to keep long-term, unpaid creative projects moving forward, prioritization can be…what’s the word I’m looking for?…a complete %@*^ing nightmare.
I like consistency. I like daily consistency. While client work always gets first billing (because that’s the only way I get to do any billing), it is important to me to tweet, keep up with my online content sources, blog (ahem), work on my own writing, stay on top of my email and read at least a few lines of a book every single day. And because I pretend I believe in balance, I tend to believe working out, walking the dog, trying a new recipe and a nominal amount of housework should also be daily activities.
Obviously, I don’t do all of these things every day. I just intend to, and then feel like a failure when I don’t.
But I was reading a book about nutrition recently (because why not?), and came across something that shook my to-do list philosophy for the better. Rather than freaking out about getting all the nutrients your body needs every day, it said to think about achieving balance over a week. This is particularly helpful for a vegetarian who eats fish, like me. Because if you try to eat fish every day to meet your protein needs, you’ll basically become walking mercury vessel and die (or something).
The same idea can be applied to getting all of the things done that are important to do. As time and space have proven, it’s just not possible to do everything that needs to done with consistency every single day. A few times a week? That can probably work. In fact, it’s bound to work exactly the way it does now, without all of the guilt. If daily consistency is so important, remaining consistently free of needless guilt seems like an acceptable substitute to freaking out over my hour-to-hour Twitter activity. Bi-hourly Twitter monitoring seems like plenty.