P is for Prioritizing ~ Are You Doing It? #AtoZchallenge #ROW80

I missed my first Sunday #ROW80 update in a LONG time this weekend, and I hated it.

I hated not checking in with my peeps and seeing how y’all did for the week.

I hated being busy as all get out.

WHY was I so busy?

Because there were 2-3 important things that HAD to be done before I started the week.

Plus I sent my honey golfing for his birthday on Sunday so I had Baby Girl.

PLUS, if you remember my “K” post from a week or so ago, you’ll know that my plate is overflowing from too many commitments and the #AtoZchallenge is kicking my a$$.

I thought about quitting (pretty much every day between “D” and “L”), which told me there was a lesson to be learned so I dug in.

What do I think the A-to-Z Challenge is supposed to teach me?

  • To plan out my posts in advance
  • How to organize my thoughts more quickly and cohesively
  • How to keep my blogs shorter (last year, I average 1,000 words – this year I’m going for a 600-700 word average)
  • That I can organize my time better
  • To write EVERY day

What have I learned?

  • I need to prioritize my time better. I’m trying to pare my list of commitments down, but I’m in the middle of a lot of changes and it’s hard to figure out which to tackle first.
  • I don’t like to post every day. I think 4-5 times a week is the sweet spot for me, but I had to know for sure.
  • I like to take at least one day off each week. No writing and no outside commitments, and LOTS of sleep.
  • I can still get by on 5 hours of sleep a night. But I don’t like it at all. It makes me cranky and frantic, and I think it gives me heartburn. Seriously.

How’s my ROW80 Progress?

Quite frankly, it’s a bit sketchy. Here’s my Round 2 goals with an accounting below each one (in pink to cheer me up):

Jenny’s Round 2 Goals

  • Write 1 hour a day on my WIP, no matter what – that’s 7 hours a week. Report the number of pages completed at each Sunday check-in.
    Not only did I fall off the wagon with this, I’ve only written 4 pages on my memoir all week! Though to be fair, Monday’s porn post made me get out my fiction and give it a peek. I wrote 2 pages on that too.
  • Walk 10 miles per week.
    If I walked more than 3 miles this week, I’d be shocked.
  • Lose 10 pounds by the end of the round. Since taking off weight feels like chiseling a cement block these days, this is a very lofty goal, but it’s time. Hopefully the gluten-free eating will continue to help.
    I’m still losing about a pound a week and I’m happy with that. I’m definitely not as puffy and I can “feel” my food now – instead of being sluggish and starving all the time, I’m more alert (like I’m actually getting nutrients).
  • Get Baby Girl into pre-school by the end of May and work to make sure the transition is successful (and try not to cry over it).
    We’re full speed ahead to start pre-school by the week before Memorial Day.
  • Teach my first online course before the end of May. Teach 3 by the end of this round.
    I’m rocking this one. I’ve been working on course outlines and PowerPoints, and incorporating and I expect to have taught at least 3 classes by the end of the round.
  • Read Blake Snyder’s Save The Cat! and James Scott Bell’s Plot and Structureby the end of the round.
    I bought them and they’re sitting on my counter. I haven’t touched them though.🙂
  • Encourage my fellow ROW80 peeps every Sunday – minimum of five.
    This was the big bummer for me last week. I turned my computer off until the evening and just plowed through my “have-to’s.” I’ll be better at it this next week.

The wins were that I met 90% of my deadlines.

The downer is that some of my most important personal goals went sliding down the drain. I really, really want to get caught up before I go to Dallas so I can just enjoy myself.

Click here if you’d like to encourage your ROW80 teammates as well!

Do you have trouble prioritizing? What are your top three non-negotiable items that you do FIRST? What comes last? What are your biggest “wins” or “losses” this week? Enquiring minds love  to know these things here at More Cowbell!

Jenny

About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm (http://writersinthestormblog.com). Write on!
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45 Responses to P is for Prioritizing ~ Are You Doing It? #AtoZchallenge #ROW80

  1. kathils says:

    Oh, I hear you on the weight loss. I was elated Saturday when I was down seven. Like you, I feel *better* now that I’m eating healthier, more energy, more stamina — not this week. I had a full on munch out Monday and feeling it. Grrrrrr Hmm, prioritizing, yeah. Well, my non-negotiables are the animals. I have dogs and sheep and they always come first (just don’t tell the cat) every day. Writing something every day — or at least trying. Housework, much to my husband’s dismay, is always last on my list! LOL

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Holy cowbell, I just got such a charge reading that you “have dogs and sheep” (and cats). What a wonderful time you must have!

      And p.s. I think housework should always be last on the list. I scrape together $75 every month just to get the place cleaned. It helps keep me sane.🙂

      Like

      • kathils says:

        I’ve thought about paying somebody to clean but…um…well…I’m a bit of a control freak and I like certain things in certain places. I can envision cleaning before the cleaner got there, so they weren’t appalled at my lack of the clean gene. Then, (having resisted the urge to follow them from room to room whilst they were in process) go back through the house once they’re done, fixing the positioning of everything that got minutely moved by their dusting. I’m doomed.

        Like

  2. I get a bit overwhelmed every year during my son’s sporting season. Not only are there 2 – 4 matches a week, I am on the booster club’s board. It makes a lot of paperwork, and I rarely miss a match. I love being involved, really I do. But I can get too many irons in the fire and start to feel frazzled. I hope you forge through but then enter a season of way less ‘tyranny of the urgent’ and have a time where you can enjoy your writing/diet planning/pre-school searching (and subsequent adjusting…ha) at a littler slower and more enjoyable pace. Hang in there! Hope the end half of your week is downright boring….lol.

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I’m completely not looking forward to all the commitments of kid’s sports. I’m such a joiner, I already know they’re going to suck me in…

      I think a lot of this will be behind me by the time she starts pre-school at the end of May. THANK you for that wonderful wish…I hope I have a boring rest of the week too.🙂

      Like

  3. Ryan King says:

    I seriously don’t believe it. You did it again. LOL. We must be working on the same wavelength or something because I talked about goal priorities in my post. I better check my computer for a key logger.😉 Sounds like you had a rather tough week. We all have those Jenny. There’s no shame in that. But you’re a resilient woman and I have no doubt you’ll break out your cape and cowbell once again. I hope you have a better week.

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      That’s funny, Ryan! It’s the Cowbell drop-box. We’re all just pulling the same idea out. I seemed to have misplaced my cloak this week, but I’m gonna find it by Sunday if it kills me. Thank you for your faith!

      Like

  4. BelleofMountains says:

    I do get overwhelmed a lot; since I’m a full time student and a full time writer, so I sometimes have to choose between finishing a story and getting a good grade, but I always try to keep my boots in the mud and keep slogging forward. Keep up the hard work! Everybody has downer weeks from time to time, but it’s the long effort worked over many weeks that wins the challenge or seals the novel in the end.🙂

    (I’m on a gluten-free diet too…if you ever need any recipes I’ve got tons of them.)🙂

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Belle, I DO need recipes! Kait Nolan has a ton of them on pots and plots but I’ve found a ton of gluten-free websites with great recipes too. I think the main thing is learning what is and is NOT gluten-free.

      You’ve got tough choices with writing vs. school. I’m sure school wins 90% of the time, but that tug-of-war is still hard.😦

      Like

      • BelleofMountains says:

        It usually does, but I try to wiggle writing in there; a handful of words here and there. I could post gluten-free recipes on my website or something and give you the link to them if you’d like.🙂 Remember to avoid oats – they’re often contaminated with gluten but nobody will tell you. And check your cocoa powder and spices, too! They sometimes are bulked up with flour but, again, nobody will tell you.

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  5. Suzan Isik says:

    Aww, Jenny, you’re doing awesome! I started Weight Watchers this week so fingers crossed that this works. I also missed my workout schedule by a mile,

    I won’t be at DFWCon this year (couldn’t afford it) but I was hoping to get up there and hang out a little over the weekend, because there are some local peeps that I just don’t get to see that much anymore. Hope to see you, too!

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Suzan, I hope you DO come visit! Amy Shojai is talking about making a road trip from an hour north as well. Perhaps you two could coordinate that?

      I tried Weight Watchers in college to much success, then did it again in my 20’s and they put me on this “Super Start” program that about killed me. I haven’t tried it again, but I hear fantastic things about the program. I think it’s all about being accountable…that (and the fun) is why I love ROW80!

      Like

  6. Kat Morrisey says:

    Meeting 90% of your deadlines is a good thing, especially given everything on your plate! I always have a hard time prioritizing because in my head everything is as important as everything else (even though in reality it isn’t, lol) and so I end up jumping around from project to project, usually in full freak out mode. ROW80 has really helped with this, and although it’s better, it’s still a struggle sometimes to keep those priorities straight. And I also have Bell’s Plot and Structure sitting on my counter, not having been touched since I bought it–I need to get on that once classes are over!

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      That’s exactly it, Kat! It’s hard to figure out what should come first. Tameri commented below and it looks like she’s got her priorities in very good order.🙂

      I can’t wait to get to both those books!

      Like

  7. donnagalanti says:

    Jenny, I am in sync with you! Overcommitted, not enough time. And the A to Z kicking my butt! And like you it has taught me things. I did not want to set myself down to sticking to a regular blog routine before – even though I knew I should. Now I know hey – I CAN write 2 posts a week as I’m forced to do 6 now! And they can be short. So once April is over (hurry!) I plan to post twice a week and make it part of my job. I too dont get more than 6 hours sleep at night – wish I could sleep less. Now once I get these ten guest posts/interviews written in the next week I plan to take a break and gee, write my BOOK! Right now I’m saying YES to everything as I just had a book release….but I need to find a balance and occasionall say NO. Kudos for you for doing the Row80, I started it and dropped it. sigh….maybe next round!

    Keep plugging away. You are an inspiration to us!

    Like

  8. Stacy Green says:

    Prioritizing has been so important for me. I’ve set myself a strict schedule to finish this WIP by mid June, because I know once Grace is out of school I won’t be able to get nearly as much writing done, and before I know it I will be doing promo for Dark. You’re doing a good job, Jenny. Just keep plugging away!

    Like

  9. Julie Glover says:

    It’s interesting that you tackled this subject today since my husband and I had a conversation this week about priorities. I concluded that I need to treat my writing like a JOB, which means kickin’ it like crazy when the hubs and kids are at job/school but also turning it off in the evenings to focus on household and family. I’ve been approaching writing more like a here-and-there task, trying to juggle that ball with all of the others. I need focus. Best wishes with your goals and priorities.

    I think you did terrific this week, Jenny. And I’m going to play mama here and say GET MORE SLEEP! No, you can’t make it on five hours a night. Take care of yourself so you can take care of your family and your career.

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      You sweet Mama, you! I think the “Writing as a Job” thing is the key to the universe. It makes everyone else take it more seriously because YOU take it more seriously. And they don’t resent it because it doesn’t usually take away from “their” time.

      Good for you – let me know how you do!

      Like

  10. Marie Trout says:

    We all love to beat ourselves up about what we are NOT completing. I think it sounds like you ARE achieving a lot. And while doing so inspiring others. Cheers for you!

    Like

  11. K.B. Owen says:

    Hey, Jenny, I think you’ve been doing a FANTASTIC job! It’s good that you recognize you’re over-committed, and are doing something about it. And I agree with Julie – get more sleep! You want to enjoy the journey, and you sure as heck can’t do that if you are a crankster.

    My biggest challenges these days: energy and motivation. Wish I had more of both!

    Have a great week!

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I did get more sleep last night (I promise) but the Mon/Tuesday crazy work days seem to suck up more than their fair share of time and I rarely get more than 10-12 hours of sleep over those two days. I’ll keep working on it.

      I’d imagine with the allergies you’ve been having, energy and motivation are VERY difficult to come by! You have a great week too…thanks again for my amazing Monday post!

      Like

  12. You’ve done wonderfully this week, definitely more wins than misses. You’ve recognized areas to trim, etc. and are moving forward. Kudos Jenny. I’m with Julie…get some sleep. 5 hours? Ugh, I can do it when I have to but on a nightly basis…not pretty🙂

    For me, I think I need to take a page out of Julie’s book and start treating writing like a job, with set hours!

    Wishing you a smoother week, my friend.

    Like

  13. I’m getting better with it. I keep a Google calendar, and I do the most important things first. This A-Z challenge is important for my exposure and for my fiction. So it’s a priority.

    Jolie du Pre
    Precious Monsters

    Like

  14. scribblesfromjenn says:

    Great post! I need to chisel off some weight and prioritize more. I have read Save the Cat and I LOVE it. It’s my new writing bible. The beat sheet saved my life.
    http://j-scribbles.blogspot.com/

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Jenn, thanks for taking time to comment! I can’t wait to read Save the Cat – I hear the best reviews on the beat sheet. Now, I’m gonna go take a peek at your blog.🙂

      Like

  15. Dahnya Och says:

    Hi Jenny! I feel like I’ve been hit or miss with my goals because of prioritizing as well. It’s so hard to say no, or to think of things as “unimportant” when they are important to others.

    I don’t think I could do the A-Z challenge; everyone who has been doing it has either admitted massive struggling or just overall exhaustion. Good for you for keeping with it. You’re almost done!

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Yep, it is a hard lesson for most of us, I think. Good for you struggling with it, Dahnya – we’re gonna win this battle! I know it.🙂

      #AtoZ was something I did on a whim, but i really did have specific goals in mind, and it’s been very, very good for me. I’d recommend it to anyone who feels they want to be a professional writer. That being said, I don’t know that I’d do it again. It’s very, very grueling if you do it right.

      Like

  16. Priorities?
    Family first.
    WIP
    Blogging
    Fun

    Sometimes I hit the target and sometimes not. A friend of mine wanted me to do the A-Z challenge and I knew it would be too much for me so I passed. I’m starting to realize my strengths and weaknesses, but like you, I hate it when I miss out on my blogging friends. Like last week. That nearly killed me, but I had to do it. Taking a day just for yourself is a fab idea. I highly recommend ‘me time’. Keep kicking a$$!

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I’d say your priorities are in perfect order, Tameri. But i sure missed the hell out of you and Nat last week. She would have died over Monday’s porn post. I almost held it for her and Hubby!

      Like

  17. jedimarri says:

    I think it ate my last post…

    As I was trying to say, I have priority issues myself sometimes. Partially cuz I’m a little too ADHD. But, as a kind commenter reminded me this week, you have a LOT of goals, so don’t feel bad if one slips, it’s amazing that you are getting so much done! I’ll try to remember the same🙂

    Like

  18. Juliana Haygert says:

    I feel you. With all the moving back to the US and reorganizing our home and schedule and life, I feel like important stuff are slipping through my fingers. Even when I try to prioritize stuff, something else happens and changes everything.
    Anyway, we’re trying lol
    Meeting 90% of your deadlines is great!

    Like

  19. It sounds like you learned a lot. It’s always a learning process. I like to think that eventually we’ll strike a balance. Eventually. LOL

    Like

  20. Jenny, you’ve accomplished so much this week! I know you know you shouldn’t, but don’t beat yourself up. 90% is FANTASTIC. If your goals were smaller, maybe you’d be hitting 100% but you’d be missing out on all the learning and you’d have nothing to improve on😀 Good luck with all that’s left to accomplish this week, and have a good one!

    Like

  21. kimpdx says:

    Hmm…prioritizing keeps coming up for me today. I think the someone is trying to tell me something.🙂

    From over here it looks like you got a lot of good input on how you’re prioritizing and how your goals are playing out. Your list of what you learned is great. And really, you got a good chunk of stuff done, too. I think having the books out on the counter (and buying them in the first place) counts as a step toward reading them, so that goes in the “stuff that got done” column. Hang in there!

    Like

  22. Try not to beat yourself up, Jenny. You’re kicking the crazy cowbell out of your goals in many ways. I hear you on the gluten-free diet. I lost 14 pounds in eight weeks going gluten and dairy free. I was starving at first (and SUPER cranky) but I know I’m healthier now for it. Hang in there!

    As for my goals. I’m focusing on following my fave blogs and checking out one or two new ones per week and writing six days a week (as much as I can). Some days I get in 2-4 hours, others only an hour. But I’m juggling three wips and final edits on the first novel. It was a decent week, especially considering all the “fleas of life.”

    Like

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