Thursday, April 13, 2017

Tackling the To-Do List

I had a thought yesterday while I was making my bed and tidying my bedroom. I found myself noticing little things I needed to do that I never seem to get around to doing, those nagging to-do list items that don’t have a particular deadline and that are just annoying enough to do that I let them carry over for weeks, months, even years in some rare cases. They hang over my head and make even leisure time feel less leisurely because there’s that sense that there’s something else I should be doing. But they don’t get done because I tell myself that I have other priorities. I always have a writing project I need to be working on, and I don’t like spending the emotional energy on other stuff while I’m writing.

So then I got the idea of devoting a week to getting things done — once I have this project and a couple of other things out of the way, take a block of time and devote it to getting all those things done. Then I could take a few days off to recover and enjoy that sense of having nothing I should be doing before diving into the next big writing project. Of course, new to-dos will always arise, but getting the current list done would certainly make the burden less onerous.

So, I made a list of everything I could think of that I need to do that I’ve been putting off, those passing thoughts of “oh, I really should take care of that.” I was surprised to only have about 30 items on the list. A few of them are bigger projects that might require multiple stages, like some of the home repairs I need to do or some of the purging/organizing I need to do, but most were relatively small tasks. I typed up and printed that list, cut the list into individual slips, and created a “job jar.” When I have a spare block of time, I’m going to draw a job and deal with it.

Yesterday’s task was to set up the NoMoRobo service that I can now use with the new phone service I’ve got (yes, I’ve had that since October, but there was a sign-up process, so it didn’t get done). It’s a service that intercepts the known robo caller scammers, so your phone rings once and it shows up on Caller ID, but then stops ringing. The process of signing up was a minor pain that took maybe 20 minutes, most of that having to reload my phone company’s web site a few times, but about an hour later I got one of those calls, and the readout in the Caller ID was one that I’ve had repeatedly. The phone rang once, and that was it, so it worked. This should help my productivity because I can generally ignore the first ring of any call and only break concentration to deal with it if it rings more than once.

I may still try to do the week of getting stuff done, but with any luck, I’ll have knocked out a lot of it ahead of time and will be able to focus on the more serious stuff (which may end up taking more than one week), like doing some of the more major home repairs and cleaning/organizing.

But first, I really need to focus on finishing this book.

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