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Good Intentions: the follow-up

Here's the promised "Film at 11" on my newest plan for trying to deal more productively with a few Good Intentions that I really would prefer lived in the Accomplishments column of my daily life.

It's all too easy to come downstairs, make my fast'n'usual breakfast, eat it in front of the computer, and pretty much spend my entire day at the keyboard, looking at the monitor. I take at least some short breaks, though I read with interest kateyule's post mentioning Time Out, (also apparently available for the PC). I'm seriously not ready to have my computer lock me out so I'll take a break, but I spend enough time sitting at my desk that it's hard to get around to other things that need and want doing here at Toad Woods.

This is especially true when work projects are stacked high, as they have been of late and will be for another couple of weeks. Take work plus reading email, blogs, and websites, then add in other forms of goofing off.... Hours quickly turn into days...and weeks...and months. Before you know it, 4 years go by and the stairway and upstairs hall still need to be painted. It's not that I don't get anything done, but I certainly don't get enough done.

So, here's my plan, such as it is. I want to develop a daily habit of working on at least one "something that needs doing" task or project around the house before I sit down at the computer. Preferably larger tasks than changing the sheets or unpacking travel bags, but, hey, on all too many days even small tasks like those remain undone.

Woven into this goal, or perhaps in addition to it, I want to get much better at writing thank you notes. The hand-written kind that you send in snail mail, preferably.

My self-defined value of "daily" is "at least 5 days out of 7 for days I am home." And if I simply have to check email first thing, then I want to spend at least an hour away from the computer later in the day. All in one lump, not 12 different 5-minute breaks to get and sort the mail, change a load of laundry, make dinner, and so on.

I used to at least watch TV and knit, or watch TV and exercise, only then I dropped the cable TV service. Now, if I want to watch TV, I do so on the computer. And I haven't taken up knitting at my desk, which means I'm not getting much knitting done, either.

Several times in the last couple of weeks, I've taken proofreading out on the deck and worked at the table there. I took the computer outside on four of those days. That helped me enjoy a bit more of the day, but it was still time spent using the computer rather than doing other things.

I have Good Intentions to spend more of my time at home doing Other Things. Observant readers will note that I've started by spending time at my computer to track and talk about my progress.

Hmmm.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
minnehaha
Sep. 9th, 2008 08:19 am (UTC)
Good luck. This is hard to do.

The meta-problem is that the computer is the default. It's where we go when we don't know where to go. Forcing something else for an hour is a good start, but the real trick is changing the default.

Yeah, I know. Probably not possible. I wish I was one of those people who could answer his e-mail once per day.

B
elaine_brennan
Sep. 9th, 2008 04:53 pm (UTC)
Any time you want to schedule the patching and painting party, you know where to find me!

Some of the going-through-the-stuff-from-the-basement activities have been good ways for me to do things that are not sitting-at-the-computer. Some of them, of course, have led to more time at the computer as I try to figure out the genealogy!

But yeah -- how else do we know what we've been doing or what we want to do if we don't document it?
mjlayman
Sep. 10th, 2008 01:27 am (UTC)
I try to give myself break points -- when I get to this point in LJ, I'll get up and do that -- and then I'll find myself far beyond that point because I got caught up in what I was reading.
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