A little bit about the way I work and priorities.

I need a freaking intern.

Every time that things seem to calm down, a new wave of things washes up and pulls me back down. Or I’m so overwhelmed by the things I’ve got going on that I end up escaping for hours into low-rez computer worlds.

I probably like it that way, and can’t admit that to myself.

That aside, stuff happens. And I get behind. Especially in e-mail (167 unread, another 100 or so read but in the "do something with" pile).  And sometimes folks get really confused or upset about when it looks like I’m ignoring them and don’t value them. And that last part in particular isn’t true. And I presume that other busy people have similar situations.

So I thought I’d share my (rough, subject to change) priority list for when I’m behind.  This pertains to both real life and online activities.

  1. Things that have a hard deadline (e.g. a story deadline, promoting a book tied to a specific event, etc)
  2. Family and friends
  3. Breather room (often video games or sleep)
  4. Outward-facing things (such as this blog, customer service with Alliteration Ink)
  5. Things that have a “soft” deadline (e.g. “I should probably get to this…”)
  6. Things that don’t have a deadline that I’m interested in doing.
  7. Things that don’t have a deadline that I have to do (e.g. putting away clothes)

Most of the consternation happens with people who are somewhere in categories five and six, or with people who don’t realize that many of the things I do (again, this blog is a great example) are completely time-shifted.  I’ll write 4-5 posts in a burst of productivity, then not write a blog post for a week because I’m head-down in another project, but folks think I’ve got time then because, well, there’s a new blog post, right?

Um, no.  Sorry.

As an additional tip, the guidelines in The Elegant Email and  "How being unreachable makes me more productive" probably apply.  Especially the bits about "one request or question per e-mail".

So, the tl;dr:  If you haven’t gotten a response, I’m not intentionally ignoring you.  If it’s getting close to a point where a deadline for a decision is needed or a month (yes, a month) has passed, ping me again.