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Deadlines, To-do Lists and Other Motivators
Wednesday, May 19, 2021 by Susan Lyttek

I typed the title for this at 8:30 this morning. It is now after 6. Dinner is almost ready, so my bet is it will be about 9 when I finally post this. Let it be said, let it be known that I need deadlines, to-do lists and any other motivators I come across. I need them, because on my own I tend to procrastinate. On my own, I tend towards laziness. On my own, I will do only the easy and necessary things and leave all the worthwhile undone.

Thus, I love deadlines.

I have found externally imposed deadlines work best on me. Some personal deadlines, like this blog post for instance, have gotten easier to obey over time, but I still thumb my nose at it sometimes. After all, it doesn’t “matter”. But an external deadline, even one given for all instead of for me personally, is likely to get me writing. The external deadlines work for other things, too. Knowing the OCC shoeboxes only accept donations until a certain date will get me shopping and assembling. Knowing that if I don’t send my Christmas presents by a certain time that they won’t reach their destination until after Christmas will encourage me to get to the post office—even if I have to wait in a long line.

To-do lists help me on two levels.

The first type of to-do list I compile daily. This is what must get accomplished today and when. This is especially helpful when tutoring because my hours, depending on the day, can be anything as early as 9 AM and as late as 8 PM. I also try to include any daily tasks that need doing: laundry, shopping, dishes, etc. They are horrid and deserve the personal recognition of the check mark that says: finished! Lastly, I put in small, bite sized pieces from my other to-do list.

That other to-do list is about major projects. Here I have books in progress, ideas I want to flesh out, occasionally crafts (like the cross stitch I just bought) or anything that takes a long time. Long time here can be relative. Sometimes, I will sign up for a course that takes a month. Or it can be adding a bit to a book that I’ve been working on for years. Part of this major list is any book that has at least ten pages written and/or research and/or character sketches. If it has enough time invested, it makes this list.

For many, money is a motivator. It isn’t for me, much to the chagrin of my dear hubby who says I undervalue myself. Do I like to get paid for my work? Sure. Do I like to get paid appropriately for my work? Sure. But I write what I want to read. I would write it even (shh, don’t tell anyone) I was paid absolutely nothing. That the stories are shared and the tales are told urges me to finish more than the possibility of a royalty check. It might explain some of why I know all the principles of marketing and technically how to do it, but I’m horrid at it. I don’t love the result enough.

Praise, though, does motivate me. One comment from someone who likes a story or a poem or whatever will keep me writing for days. Unfortunately, the converse is true. One insult or harsh criticism will shut me down for as long or longer. One well-meaning famous author once imparted wisdom that shut my books down for years. I invest way too much of my value as a writer in the opinion of others.

I am working on that with God’s help. I keep reminding myself, that he is, in truth, my employer and the only critic of lasting impact.

All I achieve of worth in this world is thanks to Him, after all. And that should be my true motivator!

(Oh… Look at that. It’s 7:38 PM. With His help, the words just flowed.)

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To Blog or Not to Blog
Susan Lyttek
5/2/2015

Driving Lessons
Susan Lyttek
4/25/2015

Gaming Education
Susan Lyttek
4/18/2015

Fast Lessons
Susan Lyttek
4/11/2015

Resurrection Thoughts
Susan Lyttek
4/4/2015

Power of the Coupon
Susan Lyttek
3/28/2015

Spring Planting
Susan Lyttek
3/21/2015

Showing My Age
Susan Lyttek
3/14/2015

Teaching Women
Susan Lyttek
3/7/2015

Beware the Ides of... February
Susan Lyttek
2/28/2015

Honoring a President in Fiction
Susan Lyttek
2/21/2015

Gratitude Lessons
Susan Lyttek
2/14/2015

The Pros and Cons of Research
Susan Lyttek
2/6/2015

Off the Hamster Wheel... Part 3
Susan Lyttek
1/30/2015

Off the Hamster Wheel... Part 2
Susan Lyttek
1/24/2015

The Homeschool Hamster Wheel
Susan Lyttek
1/16/2015

Etiquette Education
Susan Lyttek
1/9/2015

Ready Stance
Susan Lyttek
1/2/2015

Our Christmas Letter
Susan Lyttek
12/26/2014

Sharing Christmas, Part Two
Susan Lyttek
12/19/2014

Sharing Christmas
Susan Lyttek
12/12/2014

Swedish Christmas Education
Susan Lyttek
12/5/2014

The Worry/Grumble Antidote
Susan Lyttek
11/28/2014

Milestone Days
Susan Lyttek
11/21/2014

Volunteer Education--via Operation Christmas Child
Susan Lyttek
11/14/2014

Veteran Education
Susan Lyttek
11/7/2014

Reformation Education
Susan Lyttek
10/31/2014

The Reluctant Vegetarian
Susan Lyttek
10/24/2014

What I Didn't, Couldn't Teach
Susan Lyttek
10/17/2014

Learning to Stand
Susan Lyttek
10/10/2014

Christian Work Ethic
Susan Lyttek
10/3/2014

Animal Education
Susan Lyttek
9/26/2014

Changing the Love of Learning
Susan Lyttek
9/19/2014

Blog Block
Susan Lyttek
9/12/2014

Educating Mom
Susan Lyttek
9/5/2014

The Debate
Susan Lyttek
8/29/2014

Interview with Jane, a non-homeschooling friend
Susan Lyttek
8/22/2014

The Homeschool Rebel
Susan Lyttek
8/15/2014

Other Countries, Other Peoples
Susan Lyttek
8/8/2014

George Washington Lessons
Susan Lyttek
8/1/2014

Interview with Heather Day Gilbert
Susan Lyttek
7/25/2014

A Creation Education
Susan Lyttek
7/18/2014

The Blessing of the Church
Susan Lyttek
7/11/2014

Free to Homeschool
Susan Lyttek
7/4/2014

The Best Thing
Susan Lyttek
6/27/2014

School Lite
Susan Lyttek
6/20/2014

Homeschooling Poetry
Susan Lyttek
6/13/2014

Homeschool Preschool
Susan Lyttek
6/6/2014

AWANAcation (or Awana Education)
Susan Lyttek
5/30/2014

Drowning in the Ideal Schedule
Susan Lyttek
5/23/2014

Penpal Encouragement: An Interview with Sandi
Susan Lyttek
5/16/2014

Unexpected Education
Susan Lyttek
5/9/2014

When Is a Homeschool Mom NOT a Homeschool Mom?
Susan Lyttek
5/2/2014

Relax, It's Just Writing
Susan Lyttek
4/25/2014

Purpose Driven Homeschool
Susan Lyttek
4/18/2014

The Heart of the Music
Susan Lyttek
4/11/2014

Music Lessons
Susan Lyttek
4/4/2014

Teaching My Testimony (Part 2)
Susan Lyttek
3/28/2014

Teaching My Testimony (Part 1)
Susan Lyttek
3/21/2014

Glimmers of Homeschooling
Susan Lyttek
3/14/2014

Failed Days
Susan Lyttek
3/7/2014

Other Side of the Homeschool Table...Leanne Hanson
Susan Lyttek
2/28/2014

Fairy Tale Theology
Susan Lyttek
2/21/2014

Things I Love about Life and Homeschooling
Susan Lyttek
2/14/2014

Limitless Creativity by Bonnie Rose Hudson
Susan Lyttek
2/7/2014

Weaving Christ into Math
Susan Lyttek
1/31/2014

Paula Mowery Interview
Susan Lyttek
1/24/2014

Historic Field Trips
Susan Lyttek
1/17/2014

Snow Days... Homeschool Style
Susan Lyttek
1/10/2014

Homeschooled Mom Resolutions
Susan Lyttek
1/3/2014

Off Schedule
Susan Lyttek
12/27/2013

Teaching Christmas
Susan Lyttek
12/20/2013

The (Writerly) Benefits of Learning Together
Susan Lyttek
12/13/2013

Homeschooling reinforced that I am not perfect
Susan Lyttek
12/6/2013

And they said homeschooling would be easy...
Susan Lyttek
11/29/2013