Today’s MicroTask comes at the end of a lazy morning. After processing several thoughts related to procrastination, I finally picked something: schedule an eye exam. I have been putting this off for…sheesh, three years?!? Has it been that long? Do I hate using the phone that much? This fits with the pursue greater health and strength goal for the year. Heck, tomorrow I might even go to the gym!
Ha ha ha! But seriously, maybe I will. Micro tasks are about making SMALL bits of progress, incomplete and seemingly insignificant in themselves, but building toward a payoff in the annoyingly-distant future. It feels like having a single ant for breakfast, if I were an aardvark.
More thoughts about how I’ve been feeling about goals, particularly being trapped by them, are after the jump.
I woke up very late, not wanting to do anything, though I had some interesting thoughts in the shower:
- I’ve been feeling trapped by my own goals for quite a while. They’re worthwhile goals, I think, but for some reason I feel that I’m being held prisoner by them.
- There are aspects to my personality that I keep fighting. Maybe I should just work with them, even though it might appear to outsiders that I’m not a “productively fit” individual, which might lead to being shunned in certain circles.
One of the lessons I’ve been slowly learning, even now at the ripe old age of 47, is that living to other people’s expectations full time is a terrible way to live one’s life. Sure, there are responsibilities and commitments we make to our family and peers that demand a measure of selflessness, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m saying that there has to be some measure of mindful decisions that I make that are based around myself as the metric, now that I know myself better than I did in my 20s and 30s. Those aspects of my personality that I am trying to build—being predictably productive, always ready, able to deploy all my strengths on a moment’s notice, cheerily putting in work without complaint or discontent—really are difficult for me. I often think that I’m like the grasshopper in that fable, more content to play in the summer than put in the hard work to survive the winter. I think about this fable a lot.
Yesterday, I made a section in my Micro Task sheet for saving the distracting ideas that popped into my head. I didn’t feel I could work on any of them because of the “long term goals” and “responsible chorekeeping” that I have on my list of “life enhancing tasks”:
- Look at color laser printers, because it would be neat to prototype ideas (like the micro task sheet) in color without wasting ink as one would with a seldomly-used ink jet printer.
- Make a software version of the micro task sheet, perhaps in HTML/CSS/JS using the React framework, to see what it might look like.
- Design a “squirrel planner”, based on the micro task sheet and other tools I’ve designed, organized around the concepts of storing acorns (like this list)
- Make a “domestic task sheet”, with a chore-oriented list of tasks instead of the goals like I have for the micro task sheet. There could be a sheet for chores, resolutions, learning things…when they were all collected, you would end up with a scrap book of achievements.
- Review davidseah.com contents on the outline level to create a book outline.
- Learn how to make a Lua add-on for WildStar
By writing these down, I hoped to pickle them so they were out of my head. It helps. But at the same time I’m feeling like I am squashing myself because I also want to complete the big tasks.
So that’s the essential conflict: give in to whimsical impulses to research and create, or hunker down and walk the difficult and uncertain path that will yield greater payoffs in the long run. Perhaps I have to alternate between these modes for my own sense of balance, spending two weeks in heavy project focus mode, then two weeks in whimsy exploration mode.
UPDATE: Here’s the sheet at the end of the day.
About this Article Series
This is part of a month-long challenge to see if I can make something small every day to learn patience. The April 2015 Challenge Page lists everything in one place...check it out!