So obviously, it takes a few weeks for me to learn a lesson, but then again, this is the important kind of lesson. So at least I got the memo this time.
So Tuesday I finally sat down and did a mind dump from start to finish including putting things in the “I don’t give a damn right now” category and the ‘it’s not important right now’ and let me tell you, my mind was a lot easier to deal with over the last week because it wasn’t running in ’40 directions because I hadn’t physically removed things from my to-do list that weren’t complete’.
I wrote more words on a short story in a day than I have since college.
I got stupid little craft/fix projects done yesterday that some of them have been sitting in the project box for six months. These were the thirty minutes or less projects mind you.
I did add something on Saturday that was to make finding my category cards a little easier but it may or may not help everyone. We’ll start with the fact that I was going to do sticky notes in different colors to separate the projects and then break down the things but that didn’t happen.
I used index cards as a category like Fluffy Blogging, Books to Review, General Writing, Small Projects, Couch Project (trust me it gets its own card), and so on. I have four colors to pick from for stickers en masse so the index cards were divided into four large categories — writing, dreams, projects, projects on hold– so that I could visually see what I was looking for. Now, I just pick a card and then pick a thing on it depending on what my priority is right then. So while I’m in my internship, my internship card is there and I just go down the list of things that I can do until I run out or my advisor needs something else done.
I am her minion after all.
Then when I’m looking at other things later when I go home, or out and about during the day, I have a different card there depending on what I want to get done. So Saturday I had the Lefty Website card rolling around because I really needed to make business cards. I don’t need a lot but I needed something that at least looked professional to hand to someone who asked. And that got done–four months after the fact.
Hell, there were a lot of things on that list that should have been off the list if I’d been able to focus the hour of my time it took to actually get it done.
It was also great to just have these things out of my head. I only have so much RAM in my head to sort things and this exercise felt a lot like I was finally shoving things into the long term memory instead of taking up space in an area that was overcrowded enough already.
I also finally got my computer diagnosed even though it’s been giving me angry noises every time I used it. And yes, it was the RAM if you were going to ask. And you want to know how happy my computer is?
Deliriously happy enough to let me use it for about 12 hours on Tuesday and let me work without freezing up at all. It got a little hot about the same time I should have taken a lunch break but I didn’t so I’ll take that as my fault.
It still wasn’t as hot as it usually got before it froze though.
So the point is, sometimes you have to clean up the clutter in your mind and other times you need to upgrade what’s going on in the space.
If you’re feeling stuck, make sure there isn’t a ton of extra floating around taking up space that really doesn’t need to be there. That’s your first step, you can’t fix anything if you’re not really clear on what the exact problem is. I didn’t just look at my computer and upgrade the RAM. I tried to close programs and see if that helped. Then I looked at the activity monitor and realized that it was using 3.5 of 4 GB of room at all times and there was usage in the compressed memory– the stuff that was sitting in the waiting room for use but not allowed in the back yet.
Yeah, that wasn’t going to work. So I started looking up what it would cost to fix it. I’m decently tech-savvy, but I have no fun tools to do the job and I didn’t want to learn. I have better things to do with my time. Especially when we got the new RAM in, it took my tech about ten minutes to send me out the door with my happy laptop.
It would have taken me two hours to fumble around and do it, and I wouldn’t have been sure I’d done it right. I probably also would have forgotten to reset the computer to look for what was in the RAM slots now vs. before. So yeah, that was a 45$ well spent.
The same goes for you in your mind. Take a look at everything you have to do. Determine what has a deadline. Then figure out what you specifically have to do. Then anything else goes into the ‘do not care right now’ box. If it actually is important but you do not have to do it– DELEGATE.
I’m an intern right now, I am the being my advisor delegates to. She has bigger fish to fry and so I get the little fish and I’m frying them on up.
The little things on your list still need to get done. But they can wait.
Get your priority done and the rest will fall in line.