Cafe Witness

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

NOT Getting Things Done

This week, I've had a mountain of to-dos to do. I'm co-organizing PodCamp Pittsburgh. I'm planning for Season Five of Something to Be Desired. I'm juggling a handful of freelance projects. (And don't get me started on the general disarray my apartment is in.)

So why have I gotten almost NOTHING done this week?

Problem Number One: Badly Scheduled Appointments

On Monday, I had to drive out to my old office -- a good 30 minute drive across town, each way -- to record some audio for one of their projects. I asked if they'd have anything else for me this week, so I could make sure to get everything done in one trip. They asked around the office and, no, there was just one script.

So I came out on Monday morning to record it.

Then they called on Tuesday to say, whoops, there IS another script.

So I drove out on Wednesday to record it.

Then they emailed Wednesday afternoon to say, whoops, there's another script...

Keep in mind, it's actually in my own better financial interest to drive there five days a week, since I charge by the hour -- but, all things being equal, I'd rather lose out on a few bucks and save myself the multiple hourlong round trips -- not to mention actual recording time...

Problem Number Two: One Car, Two People

Life is tricky because Ann and I share one car. As a result, whenever either of us needs to be somewhere, we have to arrange our schedules to be compatible.

On Monday, she had an appointment in the South Side -- so I drove her to work, drove to record the audio, drove back from audio to pick Ann up, drove to the South Side, worked while she had her appointment (yay), drove her BACK to work, drove myself to a cafe (and worked for an hour), and then drove to pick her up at 5.

On Wednesday, Ann won a "free" lunch from a local financial planning office -- sit, listen to a pitch, then eat for free -- so I did pretty much the same thing. Combined work time on Monday and Wednesday? About 4 hours.

On Thursday, Ann has another appointment on the South Side -- at noon -- which means...

Also, keep in mind that Pittsburgh is very much a "driving" town, so neither of us are "bus people." Plus, there's no easy route from where Ann works to where most of her appointments are made.

Normally, all this driving would at least allow me to make phone calls... but a Verizon salesman informed me that there's a new "all cell phones must be used hands-free while driving" law that I was unaware of, which nixes that opportunity...

Problem Number Three: The Heat

It's been about 90 degrees every day this week here in Pittsburgh, and we don't have air conditioning in our apartment. This makes it tough to try and catch up on lost work time at the end of the day because sitting here is so uncomfortable. I'm sweating as I type this -- at 1 AM -- and all I can think of is getting some sleep to escape the heat.

The Solution?

I'm still working that part out. Short of breaking my to-do list down into hundreds of mini-tasks, each completable in under 2 minutes -- and buying a headset for my phone -- I'm coming up short.

Any ideas?

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  • I feel your pain.

    I've started using Remember the Milk just to keep things from falling through the cracks, and to keep myself from letting "important but not urgent" tasks and project from remaining forever incomplete. Too early to say whether it's the solution, but so far it looks promising if I can keep it up. (Except for missing scheduled conference calls ....)

    But I'm not keeping up with my to-do list -- just keeping track of all the places I'm falling behind.

    Thanks for mentioning the "hands-free only while driving" thing -- I do have a headset but I rarely remember to use it. Will need to make an effort now.

    By Anonymous Cynthia Closkey, at 12:35 AM  

  • I use a "Not Done" list instead of a "To Do" list - there's a TON less pressure on me now.

    The list is the same, and I feel better after marking items off the list, because hey, they weren't done and I just finished

    By Anonymous Michael Bailey, at 6:18 AM  

  • You want some AC? Try this...

    By Anonymous spoon, at 8:38 AM  

  • The "Not Done" list is a cool idea. Things definitely weigh on you less if you phrase them differently.

    By Anonymous Steve M, at 10:10 PM  

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