Lists are for kids

It’s 1140 p.m. and I’m slouched at my desk, feeling as foggy as a morning on the lake and wondering where the evening went. I’ve just finished plowing through the unremarkable chores that I set aside for this week: watch videos on creativity, sort out the mess in my digital notebook, read my saved bookmarks at a home/design site (always looking for new ways to spruce things up, every season), and check the hundred or so flagged emails and schedule or answer those that I can. And it all cost me only four hours.
That I sometimes allow the buildup to get a wee bit out of control is evident.
This catch-and-pile-and-release serves as a crutch for the times when I have little brain power left. With my hectic family life (which I sometimes write about), circumstances are often less than favorable for concentration. So, I’ll spend mental reserves to shrink the pile. It’s not the best way to manage productive time. I’d rather spend it writing and working on essential projects–and not being annoyed about not writing and working on essential projects.
(As an aside, I find this avoidance to be crucial. I have boiled over on occasion. During a very recent incident, I loudly gave the whole creative thing up then dramatically bagged my writing and essay books for donation. My wife looked at me as if I had just insisted that the moon is, in fact, made of cheese. Temper, temper.)
I have practiced some great methods to handle this instability. Advice and ideas abound. At my day job, I work as an information developer for a software company, so keeping everything straight among multiple release projects is critical. I diligently plan, write, and note using concepts from The Accidental Creative, Peter Bregman’s 18 Minutes, and Bullet Journaling, along with other tools. My productivity mashup works fine during the work day.schedule
However, I can sometimes flounder when it comes to my personal creative stuff. I lay out everything similarly as for work, but managing it among family issues feels like plugging leaks in a dike without enough fingers; normalizing pressure in one place (the important thing I’m working on right now) increases it everywhere else (the other important things I want to work on right now, not even considering homework, lawn care, and meal preparation).
No wonder people are less stressed at work than at home.
In the end, it’s going to be about what I consider important, then paring down and deciding what can wait or move off the list. To something like this. I just have to make the time. And not boil over if I don’t.

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