New Way to View my To-Do List

There's a trojan on your computer

Figured out a new, simple way to organize my to-do list, and I thought I’d share it with you this afternoon. Instead of writing down a bunch of tasks or setting up categories based on area of my life and whatnot, I focus on my motivation for the things I have to do by basing it on what it means to me.

Mind: Work

Skull Emblem The category of the mind is related to The Day JobTM and bills. These are the tasks that I need to do in order to earn a living and maintain my current (and future) lifestyle. It doesn’t matter what the nature of that work is, whether it’s computer-related or not, because here I’m assigning a value to it.

Why didn’t I turn this into a dollar sign? For a few reasons. First, not everything I do for work has a financial value. There are some tasks, like reading or learning a new tool, etc. that help me expand my skillset, but they don’t earn a profit. The second reason why I’m not attaching a dollar sign to these tasks, is because I’m trying to train myself to focus on other forms of value as opposed to relying on dollars and cents. There’s a saying I hear repeated often, and that is: “Americans live to work, and the rest of the world works to live.” I’d much rather integrate what I do into my lifestyle to find the joy in it now, than burn myself out because I’m “supposed to” do the job for a life I may not even want.

Heart: Desire

What’s in my heart? This is where I put all the things I want to do for myself, that aren’t necessarily attached to a financial value. The heart is all about desire. What I want to write, as opposed to what I have to write. What I want to do, even if it’s a small thing, instead of focusing on my obligations.

The reason why the type of tasks (or kind of work) doesn’t matter, is because the things I want to do may overlap with The Day JobTM. For example, I write, revise, and develop books and games for a living, seeing many games and supplements through to publication. This is what I get paid to do. Even though I enjoy my job, writing for myself is sometimes hard to justify because it’s on spec. That means, even if I finish the work and devote that time to it, I don’t see the value because I haven’t trained myself to see it. When I do have time, I may continue poking at a manuscript but, like a lot of writers I know, it becomes a challenge to figure out what to work on next that’ll benefit me the most. By attaching something as simple as a heart to my daily to-do list, I’m telling myself: “No, you really want this. Let’s break this up into smaller goals, so you’re still working towards The End without losing sight of the bigger picture.”

Last but not least…

Body: Health

handprintThis should be a no-brainer, but for someone like me who’s required to use her brain a lot… Well, it’s surprising how easy it is to forget about health-related matters. Like the things I want to do, they have to be done. But, unlike a necklace I design or a song I play, the benefits aren’t always immediate. By putting it on my to-do list, I’m reminding myself to do it today, not tomorrow.

Mind, Heart, Body. Sounds simple enough, right? What I need to do for work (Mind), what I want to do for myself (Heart), and what I have to do to be healthy (Body). Breaking up my task list into these three spheres helps me avoid spending too much time in one category or the other. I’ve found, too, it allows me to simplify what I need to accomplish. Love it or hate it, emotions are part and parcel of being human, and attaching value beyond the almighty dollar, calorie, or word count is my way of being realistic and… Well? More human.

    Mood: Mah brainpan is sizzling!
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: Oh well. That’s a fight I gave up.
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: Wrote a lot, but managed to go for a short walk. Should repeat that today!
    In My Ears: Echoes by Digitalism
    Game Last Played: Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
    Book Last Read: Currently reading Undertow by Elizabeth Bear.
    Movie Last Viewed: The Avengers
    Latest Artistic Project: Beading!
    Latest Fiction/Comic Release: Last Man Zombie Standing.
    Latest Game Release: Things Don’t Go Smooth
    What I’m Working On: Primarily tie-in games work, original comics, and novels.

Reddit AMA Wrap-Up: Firefly, Alternate History, and Process

Wanted to pop in to say, first of all, a HUGE thanks to Steve Drew for reaching out to me. I had a blast answering questions for my Reddit AMA, and got the chance to offer some fun insight about my writing process, the Firefly RPG, and other passions of mine.

You can read the questions and my answers on this link: Happy Monday, Reddit! I’m Firefly RPG developer Monica Valentinelli.

The timing on this couldn’t be better! With GM’s Day starting tomorrow, has a ton of games–including the Firefly RPG at 30 percent off!

Looking for Monica’s books and games that are still in print? Visit Monica Valentinelli on Amazon’s Author Central or a bookstore near you.


Back to Top