About a month ago, I bought myself a little Asus netbook. It’s wee, and blue, and I love it. I will love it more when I have to lug it around an auto show for two days and it doesn’t tear my shoulder apart like my five-and-a-half-pound laptop did, no matter what bag I used.
But if I’m not traveling, what use can I put this little guy to? As a freelance writer and editor working from home, getting out of the house is always nice. So I’ve instituted a new ritual: the Monday morning battle plan. It gets me out of the house and makes the rest of my week far more productive.
Here’s how it works:
- Throw tiny computer, Moleskine planner, pen, lip balm, and obnoxiously sparkly change purse into my backpack
- Head to a coffee shop, usually one within walking distance
- Order a cup of coffee (preferably one with at least one refill) or a pot of tea and find a table
- Check email — all four accounts — and my About.com Exotic Cars page
- Figure out what must be done that week and what I would like to get done that week, and write it in the planner, along with any firm deadlines, meetings, appointments, etc.
Ta da! This takes about an hour, maybe a little more. Without the distractions of home (the dog, laundry, podcasts on my office computer), I can see what I need to do, and give myself five days to do it. And if I plan it all out on Monday morning, I find that don’t usually add much to the list as the week progresses. It’s more about crossing things off than adding new items.
This week’s to-do list is short, which means more time to pitch new markets (Oprah, I’ve got my sights on your magazine) and add lots of new content to my About site. And, of course, more time to play fetch in the backyard.