How Bad Is It..

that the book Getting Things Done has been on my To Be Read list for years and I haven’t finished reading it? That a co-worker lent me a copy over a year ago and I still haven’t finished it? I did start it, that is at least something (the very least).  I want to get things done. Getting things down somewhere and out of my head resonates with me. Prioritizing items, giving them due dates if they are important to be done, check and check.

I now have a productivity app. Something that tracks my to do list, organizes it by priority, project. I can tag and label tasks to the point where I start to believe I have OCD. But that doesn’t mean I’m getting these things done. I’m getting organizing things in the app done. I love organizing things in the app! It makes me feel in control. So far I have a list of many, many things that I need to do and want to do someday. I attempt to schedule them out, give myself due dates and accountability. This works to a certain extent. The things that have to get done are getting done, but they were always getting done, as the things that must be done tend to do. Where I struggle is the things I want to do, but don’t have to do. Putting due dates on them has helped only mildly. I must decide to focus on them and not other distractions (Twitter, television, other nonsense). Getting Things Done and my productivity app are just systems to help; they can’t make me focus on the right things (damn it!). I need to change, that is the problem. So why don’t I?



But I need to focus on getting the important things in the app done. Why is that so hard?

Worrying ’bout this wasted time…

The #24in48 has me revisiting my ongoing thoughts and challenges of productivity and time management. See for one weekend, I wanted to prioritize reading, but I didn’t manage to do it. Reading shared the spotlight with all the other mundane things that needed to be done. Sure they need to be done, but do they need to be done right now? I woke up thinking about how people one can’t do everything at the same time so choices must be made, priorities must be set.  I then found that just this morning Seth Godin had described this better than I would: Opportunity Costs Just Went Up, which, of course, I found while checking Twitter rather than getting up and writing this, which is what I claim to want to do. So in this case, kismet, but not most of the time. Why do I make the choices I do when I know they mean I’m not doing other things I want to be doing? Why am I on Twitter or any other app or website rather than doing any of the million other things that I want to be doing, including reading? Every time I read or listen an interview with a person who is considered prolific in their field, they say they don’t spend time on social media. I used to not spend time on social media. Until I was thirty years old, I barely watched tv. Coincidentally, this was the golden age of my reading life. Somehow social media and tv have become and addiction and I need to just stop. As Seth says: I could spend that time learning a new skill, or I could work on a creative project, I could go to the gym. It’s my choice and I need to own that choice.

What about you? Anyone kicked a bad habit and want to give advice on how?

As I often find, The Eagles have some wisdom to impart:

So you live day to day
And you dream about tomorrow, oh
And the hours go by like minutes
And the shadows come to stay
So you take a little something
To make them go away
I could have done so many things, baby
If I could only stop my mind
From wonderin’ what I left behind
And from worrying ’bout this wasted time

#24in48 Wrapup

Here is my final total… plus the 10 hours and 10 min I had when the time reset. Stupid timer


So 13 hours 33min. This is 1 hour 33 minutes linger than my goal.. yipee!

I did finish Travels With Charley. Lordy couls that man write and his powers of observation and description. Perfection. Plus a poodle!

I went off stack when I decided to listen to audio book, When Paris Went Dark, about the German occupation of Paris in World War II, something I’ve wanted to learn more about since reading All the Light We Can Not See and The Nightengale. I did, indeed, start The Stranger Beside Me because I want to watch the new documentary on Netflix. I had read this book as a teenager. This edition I’m reading now is updated and I’m a little nerve wracked to say I notice where some of the updates are and that Ssome of the pictures are new. This may be more burned into my psyche  than I like. As a suburban teen I couldn’t believe anyone could do the things he did.

Somehow even though I exceed my goal, I am disappointed. I had envisualized curling up and reading for large chunks of the weekend, coffee, tea or wine by my side depending on time of day. Instead more than half of the time was spent listening to the audio book while I ran errands, cooked, cleaned and did laundry. I know audio books are reading, but I also know I don’t absorb as much, especially when I’m multi-tasking. I missed probably an entire minute while trying to decide between regular or low sodium soy sauce as the grocery store. I also spent the 30 minutes before writi g this o  Twitter and Instagram. Apparently I am the only person not watching Rent live with someone who broke their foot. I was reading, so I’ve got that.  My goal was to put this time aside for me, but I let other things come first, though having clean clothes will be a plus this week. I want to chose reading more often than I do now. So that is my new goal: more reading, less tv, twitter and instagram (I deleted my Facebook account already and you should, too. They are giving out your information like halloween candy, except they make money doing it. But that is a rant for another day).

So Many Ideas, So Little Time

Last night I watched Jane Austen Book Club, the movie. “Jane Austen is the perfect anecdote… to life!”, Bernadette declares in the films in which six people take on reading each of Austen’s six novels, one for each person. I love this premise so much and immediately want to take on the same project, re-reading all of Austen (though in truth, I’m not sure I’ve read Northanger Abby. I think I just think I have, I must have at some point, right? But I thought the same thing about Middlemarch a few years ago, and discovered that no.. I was sadly wrong. So perhaps I have a treat left out there for me). I own all the books, some I own multiple copies of, beautiful editions that make me smile at my bookshelves. Why not? Sadly, I also wanted to take on this project when I first saw the movie about ten years (ten!) ago, and it’s yet to happen.  Desire to do is not the same thing as doing. What a sad, sad statement. Will I actually do it? Who knows. I’ve got 250 pages left of my current book club book, then the book my friend lent me, unprovoked, and now there is pressure for me to read it, the audio book I’m in the middle of, the library book I put aside when I decided to listen to the audio book on whim because an author I loved raved about it, and then my whole other TBR, an unspeakable number long to which I just added the Ursula LeGuin novel recommended in the Jane Austen Book Club, which compete with making six Jane Austen novels my next thing.

I am the sort of person who comes up with these great projects, gets excited about them, but then they languish. I just over the weekend completed a project I started over a year ago to frame and hang up some photography to jazz up a bare wall. Why can’t I just decide on a project, do it, and move on to the next rather than attempting five projects at once and making little progress on each, until some just whither away? I know that focus on something is how to will something into life. I just can’t stand to let some ideas die away, or have to be put on the back burner, but in doing so, most of them end up on the warmer burner where they slowly burn and have to be thrown away (ugh, that was horrible, sorry). Yet, the thrill of completing things and the process of doing so (for you journey is the destination folks) is so lovely. I need to commit to projects and see them through. I don’t know if it will be re-reading Jane Austen because I want to prioritize first.

How do you decide how to spend your free time? What tools, if any, do you use to keep track of all your ideas?

Up with the sun, Gone with the wind

I have always had trouble getting up in the morning. Left to my own devices, I would stay up late and get up late, but that isn’t the way our society or my life works. So the battle to be awake is fought each morning. Recently, I discovered a new kind of alarm clock (well, it may not be new, but it’s new to me). Rather than a screeching, jarring, hateful sound jerking you awake at a prescribed time, and taking years off your life, uses light, dim at first, but getting increasingly bright until the time of your alarm. It eases you into your day, like the sun does.

The experience is so lovely. Slowly waking rather than terrified out of slumber. Genius, right? Yes, and also something that occurred for millions of years before electricity and an entire sector of society whose job it is to create and develop products which we may or may not need. How innovative, working with your bodies natural response to stimuli. It seemed so obvious, I began to wonder why we been waking up any other way all this time. Why are we fighting nature when whatever you believe, that it’s a perfect design or has evolved to this place, nature works. Literally for all of time, nature has worked. Why do we make things harder than they have to be?  How can we start making things work for us rather than against us?

Fold This!

Last night I folded shirts, Marie Kondo style, while simultaneously watching Hoarders. Both had the desired effect of making me feel better about myself. So much better! I’m organized! I can see all the shirts in the drawer! Also, I don’t have black mold, nor have ever approached the level of mess and unsanitary destruction in a hoarders home (sometimes they find dead animals among all the stuff). Folding shirts this way was strangely soothing. Though it took longer, it made me feel like I was really caring for the shirts. It also made painfully clear which of the shirts did not deserve this treatment and could possibly be donated. Sure, in Marie’s process you should have discovered that the shirt doesn’t spark joy before you started folding, and she also says to go through the process big bang style, not one drawer at a time, but I do what I want and what I have time for. Small things can improve your day.

Later I’ll tackle the table which seems to have become storage for junk mail and other things that have no home. Everything needs a home, Marie Kondo would tell you. So it shall be.


Priorities/Tick Tock

Spend any amount of time trying to figure out how to find the time, how to make the time, bend time to your will, how to get what you want to get done in the time you have. Time, time, time, time, time… tick tock, tick tock (for those who remember when all clocks were not digital).  Read all the books and gurus on how to find the time, they will pretty much all the say the same thing:  you do have the time, it’s a matter of focus and prioritization.

You chose to watch tv, cook time intensive meals, spend time on social media or {insert however you’re spending your time here}. Do you really want to spend time in this cesspool? Facebook is giving your data away in outrageous ways. Someday there will be a breach and those New Year’s Eve pictures will be available for everyone to see, or worse used against you in some way. And do you really think retweeting articles or witty statements is going to change what is going on in the world? It’s not. If you care so passionately about a particular issue, get out there and organize, volunteer, find a job with an organization that will help make change and if that organization doesn’t exist, create one. If you don’t feel passionately about what you’re tweeting about, just stop and spend that time working on whatever it is that gives you a spark.

You chose to spend your time doing the things you say aren’t important over the things you think are important. You chose. You make the decision on how to spend your time, so pay attention to how you do. Write it down for a while and notice your patterns. Some things you will surely say you “must” do. Sure. I must go to work today. But in the long run, it’s my choice to stay at that job rather than figure out the work I really want to be doing and moving toward it. That seems daunting, so I’m starting by just committing to writing every day. Ok, I already wrote every day, but just bunk that no one sees, so I’m going to write every day and put it out there.

Oh, it won’t be easy.  Habits we want to change don’t go easily. They wrestle with our good intentions and sometimes they win. I just opened a site with an article about most searched for shows on Netflix by state. I must know!  Answer for my state is some show I’ve never heard of and whose title doesn’t inspire interest. But there is another show called The End of the F***ing World that intrigues several states. What is that about? I must find out, then add it to my list, then spend the rest of the week binging it!  Actually no I don’t. I chose not to do that. I chose to focus on what I’ve decided is important. You may make a different choice. If so I hope you enjoy The End of the F***ing World. But chose well, because we only have so much time. What do you want your life to be?