Yesterday: Four appointments, visiting three businesses, taking a bunch of taxis around the city, a bunch of deliverables needing to be done.
Today: No appointments, all deliverables are in, not particularly busy, nothing crazy happening or necessary.
Yet, yesterday I got a hell of a lot more done - not just all the piles of stuff that needed to be done, but there were spillover effects as I did a bunch of other stuff. Today, it's 2PM and I'm wondering where the morning and early afternoon went. I haven't even been running yet.
What a strange thing. I ought to fill my schedule up more. It's the constraints that drive us forwards.
Personally I can't keep going with full schedules that long. I really need to get some time off/easier days every now and then to reset my brain.
I think doing nothing boosts creativity and productivity. There have been numerous times that I've procrastinated on something for weeks and after relaxing weekend I've crushed that task in minutes.
I did a post about this a while ago: http://anttiakonniemi.com/2010/09/08/let-your-mind-rest/
I had a similar day today to yours yesterday. I did still manage to get a few extraneous things done. But, as a distraction came up, I asked it are you more urgent than the other tasks on my list. Mostly, the answer was no. But a few times, the answer was yes.
Now, sometimes a short, unimportant task can be more urgent than a long, important task, because clearing yourself of it unburdens you, so is sometimes good to do immediately. But you will balance all of these things against the urgency of your top priority task.
This means, on a busy day, aka a day with many urgent important tasks, your "filler," do it right now tasks have to be equally urgent and important. On a less busy day, not only are your main tasks less important, but the filter for which "filler" tasks you let in lowers as well.
Is this unavoidable? I think yes and no. Obviously, if there is something you are repeatedly doing that are a waste of your time, you should stop. But other tasks, with a generally very low urgency, tend to build up over busy stretches. This is why I have a sink full of dishes at the moment: for better or worse, I consider this a low urgency task. (It's for the worse.)
But I need to clean my dishes eventually. If you have a slow day, and all you get done is laundry, dishes, exercise, answering emails, resting, drinking tea and reading the news, well, just look at it as clearing your stack for your next busy day.
That said, if you find yourself slipping into bad habits, yes, it might be time to find some high urgency tasks to kick your butt back into gear.
fyi - thank you for your posts on time tracking. I am greatly benefitting from them. There is definitely room for an app/webbased/offline component here. It's gotta flexible, customizable....simple for those just starting out and not needing intimidation but can also get complicated.... I'm currently working with excel to get some graphing and tracking going there. I also use ever note for more text based items. ie. that's where I keep goals and resolutions. So when I get to the part of my routine that I need to review those, that's where I go.
I've greatly benefitted from your blog and am glad a friend of mine passed it along to me. Keep up the good work.
Here's an idea for a post (if you haven't done it already): How I decide what to write a blog post on next...or how I decide what to do next (sounds like you're juggling tons of projects.)
I mentioned in yesterday's post that I've been on my own since I was 16, without saying very much about the circumstances. I don't plan to discuss much about the circumstances here, or possibly at all, other than to say that part of those circumstances not only caused my untimely emancipation but also a not so healthy case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
For the first few years after my escape, PTSD manifested itself primarily through avoidance, though possibly also through disruptive, destructive behavior, though I can't be sure that wasn't just part of my personality. But then, who really knows what was a natural part of my persona and what was PTSD or if they can even be separated. Maybe there's no manifestation of PTSD, but simply the way I've processed a rather horrific period of my life which happened to take place during the prime developmental time of adolescence, a way of being wired to survive that now needs to short circuit.
I said it originally manifested through avoidance , which basically meant I avoided everything that could have reminded me of my life before say, the age of 16. I stayed away from friends and family, I drank to excess every chance I got, and at first, dabbled in quite a few drugs, though I did pick and choose in that area and wouldn't allow myself to get into the really creepy ones...except LSD. I kind of liked that a lot. Not for the hallucinations but for the wildness and hilarity that usually ensued. I usually laughed a lot and I really needed laughter. I really needed anything that could help me forget what had happened and what was happening as I struggled to survive without support...except for from friends. I was fortunate to have supportive friends that tried their best to help me in whatever way they could, but hey, they were kids, too. None of us knew what was going on or what to do about it. My friends tried to help me keep a roof over my head I couch surfed from house to house for years, rarely staying anywhere for long and often never knowing where i'd sleep the next week. My friends gave me rides to whereever I needed to go, sometimes just handing me the keys to their cars. It was thanks to them that I made it through High School at all. Whoa. I didn't mean to go into all that, it's just hard to figure out, well, like painting a picture, it's hard to figure out how much paint different parts of the picture actually need. How much background info does this entry need to convey the place? I think that probably gives the lay person enough to get the idea.
Sounds like scary times, huh? You'd think so, and I admit that there were a few times that I was nearly paralyzed with fear, but for the most part? Well, I kind of remember having a whole lot of fun in all honesty. Thanks to other mental defense mechanisms like denial and disassociation, it was pretty easy to immerse myself in the present and my present seemed to be surrounded by fun, interesting people for the most part and like a leaf in a stream I went with the flow and either was extremely lucky or extremely well-looked after by God. I managed to survive that period without taking anything too far...just barely. Many girls in a similar situation think they have just one option, one tool: use their bodies to survive. I didn't have to do that. It was actually very important to me that I didn't.
Again, I digress, but that's what you get with stream of consciousness writing. I was actually planning to talk about some new developments with the PTSD. So I never really did get that taken care of. I went to therapy a few times, knowing that I must have this ticking time bomb of neuroses just waiting to drive me crazy, but for the most part, I was able to pull off a pretty spectacular life, eventually putting myself through college, finding a job that I loved, then a man that I truly loved and now I'm all snug and secure in my sweet little life where I get to still be who I am and still loved. Cue PTSD. We recently moved from a little mountain hamlet where I'd been blessed to have my car break down at the tail end of adolescence, and where I was able to lick my wounds, heal and do all of the cool stuff I just mentioned above. And something happened.