It is already past noon as I am sitting here and writing this. I have already ventured out into the first mucky snow of the season, gone to a doctor’s appointment, actually asked all the questions that I had for the doctor, and refilled prescriptions. I have already returned home, researched and planned posts for EdTech Times, and edited articles that are pending. And now I am just munching chips and homemade nacho dip, and considering all my options. This is not as liberating as it sounds.
At some point, I had made the conscious decision to venture into this week with a burgeoning amount of tasks in my mind, and without a to-do list for the very first day.
WHY FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DID I THINK THAT WAS A GOOD IDEA?
I have never really been good at the to-do list. On paper, it always turned into a list of lofty aspirational goals that I had for the day, rather than a reasonable number of actionable items that would set me up for continued productivity. Every day, I would cross out one thing, and add 5 things, none of which were reasonable to complete in a day or two.
These days, I have turned to Asana to organize my life, and while I am *completely evangelical* about the institutional knowledge that it preserves for small organizations with large turnover, it has turned my life into a disjointed mess of lists that occasionally nag at me through reminders or the bright red “90 notifications” that highlights the corner of my Asana app. What does one do with 90 notifications?? I’ll tell you: you skip past the app and tell yourself, “I’ll check it later”.
So these chips are serving as the unhealthy catharsis for the paralyzing decisions I have to make about logistics, tasks, and deadlines for this week, which include such crazy questions as:
- Do I haul bushels of oranges all around town today while I use my car? Will my sewing machine fit in with all those oranges? What if I need more oranges? (Long story about oranges short: I am the preventer of scurvy among all my office workspaces, and at the same time, a supporter of my high school music program. Expect oranges in December, those who work with me.)
- Can I really sew 50 stuffed apples before Thursday? If so, do I bring my sewing to the office, or leave the sewing at home and sew like an elf in my free stolen evening minutes? Does the sewing count as tangible work, and is it career-advancing?
- What DO I know about the Common Core? And can I articulate that by the end of next week in a post that is sure to get good traction and seem insightful and intelligent?
- Do I leave my car at home tomorrow, or do I brave Cambridge parking and also pay another $20 to drive it to work? If I take the car tomorrow, can I bring oranges then?
- Oh hell, it’s almost 2014 and I have invoices to write so that I can get paid. Should I do that here? Should I go to the office?
- Macarons! Don’t forget to bring the macarons! And the banana pudding! Someone should eat that banana pudding. It better not be me.
How does one even put that into a to-do list?? This doesn’t even include the personal tasks like gift shopping and Christmas card writing and those friends who I agreed to get a drink with, but didn’t write it down in a calendar, so now I look like the ass who’s avoiding everyone. Actually, I MAY be avoiding everyone on purpose.
This was a bad way to start a Monday.
What about you? To-do or not to-do?