Thursday, January 03, 2013

The First Step

And so begins my third attempt at getting this blog under way. I've got a better feeling for it this time, not just because of its charmed number, but because of the example of my wife over the last six months or so. Even with all the craziness in our lives (two babies, house hunting, major storms of domestic and foreign nomenclature) she's managed to sit down at a computer (often not her own) and post something every day*.

Over this time, I've often marveled at the efficacy of the routine that she established. I'm a big fan of Lifehacker and other sites to help improve productivity and efficiency, but have had a tough time implementing many of them in my own life (again: the aforementioned babies, house hunting and inclement weather). However, one line (from a weight-loss article in Forbes, of all places) has really stuck with me: "Routine is stronger than willpower."

Of course, the whole reason we need people telling us about the utility of routines is that life is generally designed to fight hard against their creation. To the degree that we have been able to fashion some solid daily routines, we've had some luck in slowly regaining our sanity. Unfortunately, since the routines are mostly drawn from the kids' sleeping and eating schedules, it leaves pretty small gaps of time in-between for us to tend to other things, and rarely any larger projects.

In my mind, the answer is to create a routine on a larger scale, and try to absorb as much of the "free" time we have with the larger tasks. All of which came to a head when I read this post a few days ago:

My 52-week New Year's Resolution

Which I've decided to steal**.

However, I think we need to make a few changes to the rules:

First, we'll be drawing our card Friday morning, with a start/end time of midnight. I can't speak for Alex Sheen, but I know that if I start a task on a Sunday (early or late doesn't matter), I'm going to be thinking about that big block of supposedly free time at the end of the week I'll have to cram everything in (if I didn't, we wouldn't need this exercise in productivity, now would we?). Beyond going against the spirit of the thing, there's a very good reason not to rely on that big weekend block of time: it might not be enough. I'd rather find that out on Day 1 and know that I'm going to need more time during the week. Plus, picking a card at the start of the day will give me a little lead time in case there's anything I need to do requiring preparation.

Second, we're going to divide the cards up a little. There are some items I need to be focusing on in the near future anyway, and I thought it would be a good way to ease into the swing of things. I'll be posting this list tomorrow, along with the first card.

Third, I'm going to cluster some cards together. There are some related tasks that I think should be done in a group (and in order), and I'd like to be able to line them up together.

Fourth, I'm going to have my own list of tasks. I like a lot of what Alex has on his list (and will steal a number of them**), but he and I are obviously different people with different goals. I don't have an entire list made just yet, which I'm going to spin as a positive: if anyone has any ideas of their own, shoot me an e-mail or comment here on the blog.

Lastly, I maintain the right to adjust these rules at any time, but only in a more-productive direction (barring Events, dear boy).

I plan to post at least once a day on my progress, at least as an incentive to get something done. I'll also be posting on some other topics of interest, but focusing on the task list.

Oh, and yes--I'm aware that I'm posting a New Year's Resolution-based project on the third of January. Let's just agree to call it poetic justice.

*Yes, yes, she needed a guest blogger once or twice to keep up her streak. She's not a machine, fer cryin' out loud.

**Not actual theft.

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