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What Did You Do Today?

October 31, 2009

Are you a list maker? Hands raised high, everybody!

I kind of am and I’m kind of not.  When I’m feeling particularly overwhelmed or particularly lazy, I’ll make myself a big master list of things that need to be done and extra little things that will serve to rev my creativity up a bit, and then I’ll create a few smaller lists from that master list for the next few days.  The problem is, even in those cases, I’m no good at sticking to the lists.  I need a certain amount of structure in my life, but I absolutely cannot stick to strict schedules or deal with the idea that I HAVE to do something.  It’s not because I’m lazy (well, not usually), it’s because it’s usually when I find myself in the middle of something I “have” to do that a huge idea just HITS me– and then I either have to feel guilty for blowing off something I SHOULD be doing to tend to my creative side, or I have to let some really wonderful ideas die slow and painful deaths.

Generally, then, lists just make me crabby.

But lately, I have been making lists and they haven’t made me want to pull my hair out.  Why?

Because I’m making lists of things I’ve already done.

Even when I’ve got a list and I’m crossing things off, I find myself feeling as if I’ve not accomplished much for the day.  Why?  Because I’m really easy to distract and I end up doing other little things in between the other tasks I should be doing and I only end up crossing off a line or two.  I end the day feeling as though I really haven’t done anything, I start getting angry at myself, and the situation turns into days or even weeks of really not doing anything because my mood is prohibiting me from anything positive.

That’s right.  Because lists make me crabby.

So instead, I’ve taken to making lists at night of all the things I accomplished that day.  Yesterday’s list included working, interviewing for a promotion, rehearsing for studio time, recording a song for a documentary project I’m working on with Matt, throwing together a last minute Halloween costume for work, and blogging.

Today’s list already includes working through 40+ new profiles on 20SB.

It’s preferable, at least for me, because it really gives me a good look at all of the things I’m accomplishing in the middle of twittering and stalking old classmates on facebook and watching reruns of Mary Tyler Moore on Hulu.  My head is often scattered, I don’t work on anything for more than an hour at a time if I don’t have to, so I do start to feel like I waste a lot of time.  But I make these lists and night and realize, yes, I am moving forward.

I’ve still got a sort of “master list.”  All of the projects I’m currently working on are written on my dry erase board– but just the projects.  None of the tasks associated with them ever get written down.  For some people, this would mean forgetting tons of stuff, but all I really need is a place to look when I’m at a loss for something to do.  One of those projects will always have SOMETHING, and chances are, if I’m not thinking about particular tasks, as this point they’re probably not that important.

As I wrote this post, it occurred to me that rather than making my lists on a dry erase board so that I have to erase them a few days later, I should start a blog to keep them– that way, when I’m feeling as if I’ve gone nowhere with the big goals in my life, I can look back and see where I used to be.  Blogging in general has been great for me in that way, but having a very specific place to look will be nice.  Plus, it’ll keep me dedicated to making the lists and making sure I do something with my time every day.

So.  Wow.  New project.  Just what I needed.

What did you do today?


2 Comments leave one →
  1. verybadcat permalink
    November 2, 2009 11:17 am

    On Saturday, my morning was deliciously unpublishable.

    Saturday afternoon I went to the grocery store.

    But on Sunday? On Sunday, I researched, wrote and edited a four page term paper comparing and contrasting the markets and marketing strategies of Twitter and Facebook.

    Today? Working on the closing from my neighborhood bookstore/coffeeshop/wifi spot before jury duty this afternoon.



  1. What Did You Do Today? « Nightly Lists

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