November 18th, 2019 – 418

I love Mondays. I know that life changes, and that jobs change and even roles within them are always in flux. But I love arriving at my desk on a Monday and getting into my job. I don’t know if that’s a square or sad thing to say, but meh, when my workflow is under control, my job is fantastic. Difficult yes, but there’s a great deal of satisfaction that comes from feeling in control of work.

I realise now I was wrong in the past I thought I was burning out from “not enough creativity left after work”. I was using up my creativity trying to find order. Now I have a bulletproof system, even the tough tasks are fun. Anyway enough gushing over work, I do too much of that on the whole. I wanted to say that though as with the intensity of the start of term, I tend to lose sight of how good I have it at the moment. Its important to recognise the positives around you, and to be thankful for them.

So on writing: I hit 30,000 words of TSS yesterday. That’s a pretty great milestone on its own, but what’s neat is I haven’t yet hit a wall. I am sure by 40K I will do, but in the past, the first and last 30K have shown themselves the hardest. As I prefer 80K stories, that doesn’t give me a great deal of breezy writing. It’s nice to see that I was looking for patterns where none existed, another way that I can say I am in control. And yes as I said yesterday, even this rewrite is awful, but it’s better than version 1.0 written in 2014 was.

I’ve rearranged my priorities list again on Trello. I realise this is an aspect of my productivity I have not discussed much. One day I’ll write a book on 1K that covers all these little tricks I’ve used and refers to where they came from in detail. For now, I thought it would be cool to talk about this part of my organisational system in a bit of detail.

So on Trello – list-making tool that’s based on the Kanban method – my first list is “Projects”. For me, a project is a heading that encompasses a broader goal that I’ve set for myself. I use the GTD/general good practice mindset of having “as many of these as I need, and as few as I can get by with”. That’s paraphrasing Getting Things Done by David Allen, a book I recommend to anyone. My list looks like the one below:

Projects example

You’ll note I have nine projects, and they’re listed in priority order. Of note, you may spot my placement of CPD at work at the bottom. You got me, this is why I made a point in paragraph one and two of this entry saying work is important to me. That’s not only because I encourage people at work to read these entries if they like my work, but because, well, it is. Placement does not denote I do/don’t care. If I care, it’s on here. I care a lot about staying in shape, I just don’t need to do much on that right now. And as I said, I’m on top of work.

1K is always at the top by contrast, because I build my whole mindset around my writing. I’ve never moved it from my top spot because 1K is my whole life. It’s why I get up in the morning, why I do what I do, including this blog. So second, you’ll see my main not-writing priority is sorting my flat. The flat has become a metaphor for my general health at the moment, and it’s almost there. I want to nail keeping it tidy though, so I need to keep working on this point. As a result, it tops the list, beating out even “Survive the GE”. You’ll note the grim colour choice for GEs, I reserve that for elections.

So what I do, is at least once a week, I look at this list, and ask myself a few choice questions:

– Do I still need each of these projects?

– Putting each against the card above and below it, are they in the correct priority order?

– What can/should I be doing as the next step towards this?

– Have I given the card the correct name?

That last one is important, as you’ll note, excluding 1K, each one is an action. 1K’s action is the entire mantra poem I wrote for the lifestyle. By reordering these, I can say to myself things like the below:

“Yes, I do want a gym membership, but my budget is more important, and I still need to work on maintaining the flat. This interferes with both, so this is not a priority.”

“I need to go out canvassing and delivering. This is more important than working more leisure into my life right now. I can let my personal organisation and routines slip for this because it matters a lot. The flat, by contrast, is more important to me right now. So, I need to prioritise tidying the flat over electioneering.”

You get the idea. It lets me comb what I should be doing at any given time, and makes a lot of the decisions for me, which avoids me burning out. And, it also makes it so no matter what, my writing comes first, which is a critical symbolic gesture.

Anyway, I hope that was interesting. I’m debating spinning off a series of articles on these kinds of topics. That’s with an eye toward consolidating them and my journal entries into a book on 1K one day. But for now it’s time to get back to work,  I have a busy day ahead.

Oh, and on reviewing this in WordPress as I added the image, I have a slight grievance with HemingwayApp. I didn’t realise how much the spellchecker misses, which is annoying as it means I must have several work entries riddled with errors. Darn, maybe worth a clean-up one day…