I’m awake and terrified. OK, not terrified as in senseless shaking. No rather I take a look at my various todo lists, and my non-empty inbox, and that brings terror in the form of urgency. I guess I should be used to that already. In the past I just ignored tasks, like one ignores imperfections. But once you get them written down and place said list beside you… then they just sit there, glaring at you all gnarly and troll-like. And the question that comes down to which do I deal with first? GTD methodology says prioritize, assign to projects, delegate and so on. Easy to say, but tasks all look alike at times. And since I decided I wouldn’t sweep things under the rug, I wring my hands trying to deal with the underlying issue.
It was a busy weekend. Plants got planted. Allergic reactions came and went. Some attempts at cleaning house occurred. Some attempts proved more successful than others. I hope no one felt ignored. I rushed around but all my own work rested on the side. And as I look at the upcoming days, and the decisions, and the work… I feel exasperated. And I’m going to be a bit older, very, very soon also adds a bit more motivation to my work.
Fortunately, I feel upbeat and positive today. I realized yesterday that one of my anxieties proved unfound, and unlikely to occur. Dealing with this anxiety should bring much serenity, peace and calm into my life. This in turn will give me more energy and help me iron those last few wrinkles in my character. Sigh… Anyways I turn to watch the sun shimmer in the steel, grey sky and I know today will be a good day.
The fifth day into the year, and I can already foresee a number of huge changes in my life. As I mentioned before the transition from thinking like a university student to a fully self-sufficient adult is a pretty huge one. One of the things that I foresee is a glorious lack of time. Essentially, I took upon a large number of personal projects and I might take on a few more this coming year. And every task and every idea needs time to realize and complete. So I decided upon a few New Years resolutions:
- Keep my tasks and projects organized. I’ve worked out that I will keep to the core concept of the GTD methodology. All that I need is some central, efficient manner to organize my evergrowing TODO lists. At the moment I am experimenting with a number of different applications, to avoid the dreaded list on a piece of tattered paper syndrome.
- Handle communications efficiently. I am already using the Inbox Zero method. And for the most part I can keep track of everything and handle e-mails quickly. My personal e-mail inbox is usually has zero messages. My work inbox is a bit more chaotic, but I’ve gotten it down to zero in the past. Nowadays no more than 30 e-mails stay in my inbox.
- Avoid wallowing and putting things off. OK, this is a weak spot in my case. There are days that I don’t feel like doing anything. Unfortunately, while there are times my life feels like on hold, the world doesn’t stop. So in essence I put off all kinds of work and only more piles on. And it gets to the point that I get depressed just by looking at all the things I have to do. Instead this year, if I feel like I am in rutt, I will take some menial tasks. That way I keep my mind off whatever I am thinking about and still get stuff done.
- Do it now, not later. One of the worst things to litter my tasks are the little day-to-day incidents. The little errands, the little messes of life so to say can generate a disproportionate amount of work. And it adds up. Quickly. So I have to stop procrastinating on these little tasks. I think it is more effective to take all these little nuisance tasks, aggregate them together and do them all at once. That way I can avoid task switching-even thought my task log method helps with that a bit-and clear these trivial things before they get out of hand.
- Keep taking bits off the big projects. I have a number of large projects. Some involving writing, some involving coding, etc. Now I know that I can’t just sit down and finish a large part of a project. My schedule and life in general won’t allow for that. So instead I plan on taking bits and pieces off each my big projects each day. And I’ll incorporated those bits into my daily tasks. That way my projects will go forward a bit every day.
Now I should be able to accomplish all these resolutions without too much trouble. My biggest concern is to make sure my tendency of inactivity doesn’t get in the way this year. These resolutions should not only reduce the size of my TODO list. But they should also remove a great deal of stress. And the sense of accomplishment will definitely shine through on days where all I want to do is sing the blues. So wish my luck and may you too have productive and joyful year ahead.
P.S.: I hope that by writing these blogs on time management will help someone. Or at least inspire someone to achieve more in their life. If they help you, please give me a shout on the comments section. I love to hear from you and read your comments.