A Tale of Two Techniques

Like most people, I have many projects on the go. Even the projects subdivide into many sub-projects which can be done simultaneously.

Many of the projects can wait. For the last few months I’ve tried pecking away at the top ten or twenty. The plan was, once my urgent and pro-active tasks are done each day, pick one or two bigger projects. Cycle through them, so I make progress on each one.

It didn’t work. Most days, no project jumped as high as my knitting.

Last week I chose a project: Kids’ schoolwork. Three years’ worth is sitting in boxes in the dining room. Soon to be four years’ worth. It won’t make as big a difference to my daily life as the years’ worth of folders labeled “has been sitting on desk for over a month”. Those folders have users manuals and insurance papers. I used to be able to put my hand on any piece of paper within two minutes. Now I panic every time husband asks for the manual for a new gadget. I won’t mention the budget. I’m going on faith that our spending hasn’t changed.

The schoolwork has the benefit of being fast and visible. Fifteen minutes can clear several inches. By the end of the month I’ll have three boxes out of the dining room and be confident that this spring’s addition will be easy to deal with. I’ll be able to file next fall’s contributions as they arrive — when they’re already sorted by kid — rather than watching them get mixed and know they’ll need resorting.

Because I work on the project most days, I leave all the tools (stapler, envelopes) on the table, and can leave piles there mid-sort. I don’t forget where I was between sessions. Going there after my routine tasks is now a habit. Much easier than staring at a long list of projects hoping one will jump at me.

Go me!

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