Tuesday, May 3, 2022

The never ending To Do list

I’m a bit of a procrastinator, especially when it comes to writing.  Like, I’ve been thinking about writing this blog for a couple weeks, at least.  It’s gotten kind of bad over the last few years, so I’ve been trying to get around it.  One thing I’ve tried is a To Do list, which has and hasn’t worked.

The Version I To Do list is something I’ve done for years, which is where I basically make a list of all the things I need to do, usually broken up between writing stuff and everything else.  The problem with this is that you end up with a sheet with like fifty items on it which becomes extremely disheartening because you feel like you have to do it all by tomorrow.  And when I don’t get it all done, it feels like it’s just hanging there above my desk mocking me.

For the Version II list, I tried to solve the problem of too much stuff by scheduling only a few things each day.  I have a part time job where I, usually, only work Saturdays and Sundays.  So I started making a list of things to do on each of my five days off.  Mondays I’m a little tired from work, so I usually only had simple things like water the houseplants, make sure all my bills are paid, stuff like that.  And then for Tuesday I’d schedule myself to finish some blogs and work on a story, and so on.  But what seemed to happen a lot is that I’d spend Mondays doing the simple stuff and then relaxing by binge watching some show on Netflix.  I’d go to bed planning to spend all of Tuesday writing, only to wake up with a toothache which made me not feel like doing anything but binge watching Netflix.  And then I’d spend Wednesday trying to catch up only to throw off the whole thing and wonder why even bother.

In theory, Version III of my To Do list fixes the problems of the earlier versions.  I basically now have three lists: long term, shorter term, and this week.  Long term is for projects I really should do, but there isn’t much pressure to do them soon.  This ranges from novels I want to write to garden plans I thought of in the middle of winter.  Shorter term is for things that have more of a deadline, like blog posts or getting my taxes done.  These are usually written on little legal pads, while the “this week” list is on scrap paper.  It’s for the simple tasks like watering the houseplants, as well as the shorter term items I want to get done.  I still have fifty some items on my To Do list, but I only really see the ten or so items I can, or need, to get done this week. 

It is not a perfect system, but it does feel like I’m slowly getting more stuff done.  Most weeks.  There are times where I’ll put “The Week Of X” at the top of the list, but by the end of the week I’ve only crossed a few things off, so I’ll just change the date instead of rewriting the same list. 

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