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What Are the Best Apps For Artists and Writers Desperate To Get Work Done?

Organizing Your Creative Life in 13 Weeks, Week 2.

Sarah Hoyt


July 13, 2013 - 9:30 am
There must be a better way to get all these to do task breakdowns out of my head!

There must be a better way to get all these to do task breakdowns out of my head!

You see, as my work has multiplied – here at PJM, and also at Baen, and also my indie efforts – it has become very easy to “misplace” or misapprehend a date, particularly when it’s for something minor, like a short story instead of a novel. In my case, because I’m special, I’m more likely to think the deadline is earlier than later and increase my stress level by driving myself insane with “I must finish ten short stories this afternoon.” (Not really, but sometimes close enough.)

You’re probably thinking “And you never thought of putting things on the calendar before?” Well, not really.

First, because when I started out this was a hobby. As such, it didn’t merit a place in the calendar. I was intending to make it pay off, but it didn’t, and therefore cleaning the house or making dinner was way more important.

Second, because when I did try organizers, they didn’t separate the “drop dead deadlines” from the other stuff that must/could/should be done that day. And since I eventually got tired of carrying forth must-could-should, I stopped putting in deadlines too.

Just knowing when I get a deadline that it goes on the calendar seems to reduce my stress. I can look up and go, “ooh, no deadlines today” and that makes life easier.

The bad side of why I felt less stressed about my to do list is that I felt more stressed about other things, including a very weird “social” insanity on the fandom side, which cannot and should not be discussed here but which has upset me very much.

And unfortunately the bad side of this upsetting me very much is that it brought back asthma that had been dormant since my pre-teens. Combine that with a lovely case of bronchitis and I feel like I’m sucking air in through a straw.

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As a musician still getting this organizing thing sorted out, I can definitely relate.

One thing I've found that helps is the reminders app on my iPhone, which allows for multiple lists, and each can have days and times to alert you. You can also set up repeating to-do items.

So far I've found a couple downsides, though: it's easy to end up with way too many lists (and then I just ignore them), and it doesn't differentiate between categories. Some sort of color coding might be a nice added feature there.

Unfortunately I'm not familiar with the Kindles, but I guess if any of their apps was just like that you'd already know (and it might still not fit your needs).
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Sarah, in case you missed this comment on an earlier post:

The computer program that implements the Getting Things Done system is called Thinking Rock ( It is designed to capture thoughts on the fly, so you don't have to remember everything yourself, and then organize them into actions and projects. Give it a look, it might work for your needs.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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