I’m trying something new this week. I keep reading different articles on time management – different ways of looking at the time we have, how we chop it up and how we stuff it with tasks, how we choose our priorities. I ran across an article a while back that suggested using
“themes” instead of deadlines. I tried it in Jan-March at a monthly level and it worked out pretty well. The idea is that having a “to do” list creates a certain type of pressure that isn’t helpful. We measure ourselves all day/week against that list.
The writer’s suggestion was to leave it a little open, a little vague. “This week is about getting a few things done around the house” rather than “Monday I will paint the basement, Tuesday, I will rake the yard” etc. His idea is that this puts us in a state of mind in which we know what we want to do, we know that we want to do it (otherwise it wouldn’t be on the list) and then we find ourselves gravitating toward doing it rather than forcing ourselves just so we can cross it off the list.
I had mixed results in Jan and Feb. In Jan, I found that it worked as planned – the theme was “get the structures organized so I can leave my job” and I did that. One day, it was “get the paperwork together on all our different accounts”, one week it was “go through last year’s data to get good budget projections”, one week it was “find some good software to balance the checkbook since Windows 8 won’t run my version of Quicken”. They all got done and I didn’t feel any pressure.
February was different. The theme was “get acquainted with the different theatre classes, groups, and events in town” and it didn’t happen. To be fair, it was my last month at work and I spent a lot of time trying to close out projects and do knowledge transfer. So, I’m not calling it a fail.
Anyway, back to the point (see how ADD works?) – I am applying that idea to “days of the week” now. But I’m slicing life in a different direction: Past, Present, and Future.
Past days are days I go through boxes in the basement, rip old VHS to digital, sell/donate/throw out old books and records, and generally work through the list of things I “wanted to get to” but never did.
Present days are days I work on whatever is active right now: bills, appointments, home repair, the garden, guitar practice, writing, creative projects I’m working on.
Future days I try to do what I am really bad at – making long range plans. I am still learning that one must schedule events several months in advance in order to make them happen. I don’t work that way but the world does. In the simplest sense, it’s because I can’t keep doing things like handing the band new charts the day of a gig, or pulling together a performance one week before I want to do it. In a bigger sense, it’s because of bigger things like advertising deadlines and needing to coordinate peoples’ schedules.
So, today is Tuesday, future planning day. And it’s 5:30 in the afternoon and I have still not started on my list. But, I have supreme confidence I will finish the list before I have to leave for Adrian at 7.
Let’s see how it goes.