Geoffrey Long
Tip of the Quill: Archives
What a long, strange day it's been.

Today was a very long, very odd, very wet type of day. I woke up this morning raring to go and Get Things Done, an ambition which got dampened (quite literally) by the onslaught of yet another rainstorm dumping down on Boston at around 9:30 AM. I grumbled for a bit and went back to checking my email, confident that it would abate by the time I'd have to leave to make it to the bank by noon. Hah. Around 11:15 I was shrugging on a fleece and grabbing my umbrella, because it was still amazingly cold and amazingly wet for a summer day. Seriously, people – what the heck. Any Bostonians out there want to let me in on the joke? Is summer in Massachusetts always this... Damp?

After that, though, I spent a couple really, really good hours in Starbucks. My housemates had already laid claim to the laundry machines, so I pocketed the quarters I'd fetched from the bank and settled down with some chai and my laptop to try and plot out a course for the summer. I'd actually spent most of Thursday and Friday feeling increasingly stressed out about the stuff I need to do this summer, which was a marked downturn from my high spirits from only a few days before. This shift in mood was directly attributable to my trying to knock a couple of things off the to-do list while seriously underestimating the amount of time and effort each of those things would require. In the past, this sort of thing has led to a deeper and deeper downward spiral, but this time I elected to do something more pragmatic about it.

I use a Mac checklist app called Process to keep track of my ridiculous to-do list. The program comes with built-in fields for priority and due date, and I'd already customized it with another field for "cost/value", but today I added a new field called "estimated time". Wow. By forcing myself to break down each to-do item into actionable sub-items, and then assigning each one of those a halfway realistic time estimate, it rapidly became apparent that some things are likely to take five times as long as I'd originally guessed. This is the best kind of knowledge – the kind with which you can actually do something. I wound up having to leave off the project late in the afternoon due to a previous engagement (haircut) but my goal for tomorrow is to finish fleshing out the list and assign costs and estimated times to everything on it. I have a sneaking suspicion that a lot of stuff will get shunted onto secondary lists, because how can you assgn an estimated time to something like "Read the Modern Library 100 Best Novels" or "Watch the AFI Top 100 Films"? (Well, okay – the answer to the latter is '200 hours', smart guy. Yeesh.)

So, yes. Much progress, and getting this kind of a handle on things makes me feel much better about matters. Hopefully after tomorrow I'll have a good battle plan all sketched out for the summer.

Oh, and anyone in the Boston area who needs a good haircut – Elizabeth at Pyara in Harvard Square definitely knows her way around a pair of clippers.

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