A cryptic title, which may lead you to think this blog post is about new beginnings for 2015. I first thought about doing a piece on that topic, and then decided against it. The truth is, I have been struggling with writer’s block since November, and wanted to share my story of finally overcoming it.
I’m not truly sure what happened, but after 6 years of writing freely and easily, it all just went away. I sat down to write an article and I couldn’t muster a word. I stared at the blank page on my laptop for over an hour. Then two hours. I could feel a sense of panic wash over me.
I left it for a few days and then tried again. Nothing. I couldn’t figure it out – I love writing, and it has always been my release. A month went by, still nothing. I decided to jump in with both feet and force myself out of this rut as best I could. I blogged #MyDowntownWishList for 24 days and wrote an article for G! Magazine over the Christmas holidays but it just didn’t quite feel the same – it took effort.
Recently, I was having tea with a good friend and I mentioned to her my loss of focus. She asked me what had changed in my life since this had happened. Well for one, I have been juggling four roles at work since October. I have always been proactive in my approach to things and very organized but with the size of my current workload I have become reactive in order to meet all my deadlines. Thriving on adrenaline the past few months, my mind never felt at rest.
She shared with me her success with a tool called Trello. She was able to keep track of absolutely everything she had on her plate and she no longer had to manage separate to-do-lists for different areas of her life. She said that she immediately felt more organized and was able to think clearly again. Once she got in the habit of using Trello effectively, she stopped worrying whether or not there was something she was forgetting to do. Everything was accounted for in one place.
After she left, I did some research on Trello and stumbled across this Forbes article “7 Steps To Creating The Best Personal Task Management System With Trello” by Tim Maurer. Maurer incorporated principles he learned from Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits and David Allen’s Getting Things Done to create “the only task management system that’s ever really worked for him”. His article has great tips and I spent a whole evening inputting all of my action items from my email accounts, calendars, and task lists. I started using Trello in combination with other productivity principles that have worked for me in the past. I finally feel like I have full control of my day again and have my clarity and focus back. The best part is that blank page is gone, I couldn’t be happier.
Do you have productivity tips or time management tools that you can’t live without? I’d love to hear from you!
Jodi LeBlanc is a Values and Ethics Advisor with Veterans Affairs Canada in Prince Edward Island. She is a collaborator/innovator for numerous public service initiatives and national networks and is a member of CGE’s editorial advisory board. You can connect with her via @jodilynne3 or http://ca.linkedin.com/in/jodileblanc