(last edited on February 15, 2023 at 12:27 pm)
Today’s MicroTask seems so tiny that I’m almost embarrassed by it. It’s just adding some content to Project 1404, my music composition 10-year goal. I’d been thinking about how to start it, first buying a book. I realized recently that the monthly piano karaoke I’ve been doing probably counts as well, as I’m being exposed to a lot of music that I otherwise would not be aware of.
So that took about five minutes to do. I actually feel good at having made some progress, but before that I felt that this micro task was SO SMALL I should feel embarrassed about it. Why do I have this attitude? Interested readers can delve into my thoughts on this after the jump.
Thoughts on Micro Tasks So Far
The reason for doing a month of “micro tasks”—that is, tasks that are small and incomplete—was because I thought I might learn something about my attitude toward making incremental progress. Apparently, my suspicion was well-founded: I find small steps confounding and even a little bit hateful. When I think about GETTING THINGS DONE, I’m imagining epic accomplishments brought to fruition through dramatic action. I am seeing myself working to my full potential, sweat dripping cinematically from my brow as I toil against a backdrop of oil rigs at sunset as I load my pickup truck with raw ore of possibility, to be alloyed with Grit and smelted through the Fire of American Ingenuity into neat rows of good jobs that pay a living wage. The naked truth is far less compelling. Here I am, sitting on my butt in front of a fancy laptop sipping my Oprah Chai Tea, pecking words into a blog with my fancy bluetooth keyboard, because I’m SO LAZY I don’t even want to use a keyboard that needs to be plugged-into a USB port.
I’m embarrassed by this, but on further reflection I’m not sure why. I guess I feel like I should be MORE. And at the same time, I feel very lucky and privileged to sit here at all when so many don’t have that opportunity. At the same time, I feel I need to be doing all I can all the time, because that’s what success is supposed to be made of. The truth is that I would actually rather get as much as possible by doing the minimum. However, I believe that getting the best of the best requires money, dedication, and hard work.
I don’t think this conflict is unique to me, so that is not what I feel bad about. I feel bad that maybe I can get away, somehow, by doing the minimum. And at the same time, I also feel that by doing the minimum, I am not going to live up to my potential or accomplish the great things that I want to accomplish.
I am also feeling I am WHINING a lot, which doesn’t go with my self-image. I feel that I am acting like a privileged, whiny, lazy, self-entitled doofus who has a blog, indulging in my neurotic behavior patterns in a manner that adds nothing constructive. Having said that, I don’t believe that writing this out is without value, as it is a true description of what is going through my head at this very moment. And I also believe that by calling out these thoughts, I am now in a better position to overcome them, which is of value to others who might be reading along that are facing the same doubts.
But I digress. Rather than dwell on this more, I’ll just make a note of the feelings and move on. One thought that pops into my head, though, is that maybe I should try embracing laziness and see how unproductive that ends up being. Is there a floor on this? How low does low go? It might not be what I suspect.
Yesterday’s Pickled Tasks
I wrote a few ideas to pickle (i.e. let lie dormant) that I thought would be good to do, but didn’t want to because of other priorities:
- Super Mega Scrapbook Planner
- ETP Translation Process (I actually did spruce up the page a bit)
- A range of ETP Products
- Draft of a new “story post”, working in stages rather than forcing myself to finish and publish.
- Making a motion-graphic commercial, 15-45 seconds, for the ETP
I also had the thought this morning that perhaps there are two experiments I need to re-introduce to my routine:
- Happy Bubble Time – unfettered exploration
- Theme Weeks – choosing a main focus project for a week, rather than try to do all the projects at the same time. I liked theme weeks when I last tried them.
For my next bit of focus, I’m going to take a stab at starting the AI programming again. I feel like I’ve had enough of a break from it, now that I’ve got my new website pretty well tweaked and tuned.
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!
“I guess I feel like I should be MORE.”
I used to feel this way when I was driving in my 2006 Scion xB with only 3 hub caps. Then I remembered that it’s paid off and I’m saving a butt-ton otherwise. It’s all about perspective!
David Allen’s Next Actions are all micro-tasks. (If a line doesn’t have a Next Action, the NA is to determine the NA, also a microtask.)
I have difficulty placing priority on micro-tasks, even if they’re part of a high-priority project. I love the feeling at the end of a long and productive work session, but most weeks those are rare, either due to schedule or energy or lack of focus.