Happy vacation to me -- sorta. I am a little too aware of what is going on at work, and i feel a little guilty leaving folks to have to cope.
(Christine is now unpacking the grammar of "sorta.")
We are not going kayaking: Christine has a client deliverable to wrap up, and i have a lengthy to-do list. If it dries a little, i may tidy the deck.
Yesterday, i turned to the power of "Dungeons and Desktops," listing several classes of "to do" on my whiteboard, and assigning numbers to each task (the more needed tasks received more numbers). Then i set up a timer -- the iOS 30/30 timer -- and began virtually rolling my dice. I had a lovely productive midday, hitting some housework, some desk organization, and my top tasks. I think i found a good rhythm, too, recognizing the transitions i need and types of task types. The last time i was really trying this, i felt rushed and a little stressed.
Details of this round of Dungeons and Desktops
The biggest value of Dungeons and Desktops is that instead of trying to figure out priorities, one just lists outstanding tasks and lets the dice choose what to do. For a while i used gaming dice, but these days i use the unix command line
jot 1 1 N, where N is the last number of the list. Your random number generator just needs to have at least as many numbers as you have tasks. If you have "extra" numbers, you can use them to "weight" the likelihood of getting to the task.
Here is an example list.
1, 2, 3, 4 Annoying task
6, 7 Kitchen
8 Dining room
The "annoying task" is likely to have time spent on it, since it has a 50% chance of being selected. This could indicate a priority ("I'm sick of walking around that elephant, and it needs to be removed") or that it won't be complete in one round.
If i rolled an 8 for the first round, the dining room de-clutter could be completed in the round. I can then assign the number 8 to another task. Sometimes i don't reassign the number and leave the slot as a chance to "play" if i happen to roll that number again.
Note that if you are using two six sided die, the likelihood of rolling a particular number is NOT evenly distributed: http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/math/dice.html .
Timer set for the following cycle:
* 20 min house tasks away from the desk
* 5 min break
* 10 min desk/paperwork tasks
* 5 min break
* 30 min "primary" tasks
* 5 min break
The five minute "breaks" that were more used for finishing up than clearing my mind and resting, but having the transition buffer helped me not feel rushed. I am beginning to ponder leaving meetings five minutes early.
The hour and fifteen minute cycle worked fine, but it might be easier to think about if it were a 90 minute cycle. I could certainly stand to add the 15 minutes to the paperwork right now (as i am behind) or to the "primary" tasks (a list of must dos) if i was caught up.
This past week has had evening social interactions, far above and beyond my usual evening patterns. Wednesday night was a visit with mopalia; Thursday a visit by a friend from Meeting who is planning an unconference on work and turning to me for accompaniment; and last night was a Meeting event during which i hung out with two kids.
It's meant that the mornings have had more time spent on reading than journaling. (Having a couple drinks Friday night and a glass of wine late last night has also affected my rise time in the morning.)
I suspect most of today will follow the same D&D practices of yesterday. It was good to make progress across a broad swathe of stuff, and perhaps with a little momentum, i will be able to do this D&D thing in the evenings next week. Last semester, Christine's classes lead to my evenings spent devouring TV series. I know part of that was depression, but part of that surely pushed the spiral of depression down.
This semester i hope to move up a spiral of engagement. My forty-fifth year begins in March. It is not *quite* what i expect to be the middle of my life, as plenty of genetic evidence points to living to 95, but this work with the career counsellor will hopefully help me decide what i want to be when i grow up. With that direction, perhaps watching three episodes of a TV series might be less attractive than moving in a particular direction.