My kids tease me for using GPS on drives I know inside and out, like from my mom’s house back to home. Why, they ask. You already know how to get home, they say. It’s true, but we live in Southern California where traffic is unpredictable, and having Siri on CarPlay lets me know what’s ahead and gives me a Plan B, or C, as the case may be. I also love knowing the ETA, especially if traffic is heavy.

As far as my workday goes, I work from home and don’t need to drive anywhere, so there’s no need for GPS. However, I use GPS concepts as I navigate my workload. Why? I already know what needs to be done and how to do it. That’s true, but as a freelance writer, it’s not unusual to get an urgent request that sidetracks my plans. Having a Plan B or C keeps me on track and helps ensure I meet my deadlines, even if obstacles get in the way.

Here’s how my GPS for writing system works:

  1. I start with my basic roadmap for the day. Where am I starting? Where do I want to be at the end of the day? What are the obstacles I might encounter? How can I navigate them?
    For example, my basic plan for today is to work on article revisions and write a blog post for one of my clients. That’s my destination. To get there, I have to read what I wrote yesterday, revise as needed, research my new topic, and write the blog post. My ETA is 3 hours to completion, and I’ll plan on taking a 20-minute break about halfway through. I usually work at least 5 hours per day, so that leaves plenty of time for a few side trips should they happen.
  2. As I work, I keep my eyes on the road — no email or texting allowed except at prescribed times. If something comes up that needs my immediate attention, I look at the map and figure out how to redirect. Can I fit this in during one of my scheduled breaks or is it an obstacle that requires a Plan B? Is it truly time sensitive or can it wait and become part of tomorrow’s journey?
  3. I have alternate routes in mind should I need them. If I find myself temporarily stuck, for example, if I’m waiting for feedback on something, I can take a detour and work on one of my other top priorities for the week.

Whatever happens, my internal GPS keeps me on track and ultimately gets me to my destination, albeit sometimes in a roundabout way.

How do you stay on task with all the demands on your time? What is your basic time management plan for staying productive? How do you navigate obstacles that get in the way of completing your goals and hitting deadlines? Let me know in the comments below.

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