Five hundred small necessary tasks


In the process of completing my master’s degree, I have gradually acquired a pile of boring tasks to do, which I haven’t done because there hasn’t really been time.

Also because they’re boring. But mostly because there isn’t time.

Well, that’s not entirely true. There have been chunks of time where I could knock off one or two of these things, but never the whole mess of them, which is how I would prefer to do it. I like to try to arrange everything boring that I have to do so that I can get through everything in one go and be left with a clean slate. Rip up the to-do list and dance in the confetti.

Which I haven’t actually done, but as someone who doesn’t feel great personal satisfaction from checking things off a list, I think maybe if I did dance in the confetti of my to-do lists, I’d be more inclined to complete everything on them.

Though then I’d have to sweep up the confetti.

Or I could just add it to a new list of small necessary tasks to complete.

I’ve read a lot about productivity. As veteran of the Great War of Procrastinators Sitting on the Couch and Thinking about Maybe Sometime Doing Something, I enjoy reading about efficient people. I like to think that I could be one of them someday. I read this article from 99U the other day, and it’s given me some hope, in part because what it suggests involved self-deception, something which I, like all of us veterans of the GWPSCTMSDS, am very good at. In case you didn’t want to click the link because I’m a stranger on the internet, the article talks about structured procrastination, which is sort of like steering into the skid. You go with your desire to procrastinate, but trick yourself into distracting yourself with something other than Tumblr or checking your email. Instead, you detour onto something else from your to-do list, just something somewhat less urgent. When you do eventually have to get to that really urgent thing, you just trick yourself into thinking that there is a more important thing, and that the original really urgent thing is procrastination.

I’m going to try to apply it to my five hundred small necessary tasks, see what happens.




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