too much to do

A while back, I commissioned a comic on oDesk called too much to do. Here it is:

The last frame of the comic isn't drawn because the artist got too mired in todo items, and wasn't able to draw it. This was conceived during grad school, when I felt like I was getting mired in too many todo items.

I created my own todo list to tackle the problem. I called it PIMA (personal information management assistant). It has gone through many iterations, starting as a Java Swing application, and currently takes the form of a webpage running on a local python server.

The main idea of PIMA is to allow me to manage a giant todo list, by making it easy to push items back, e.g., procrastinate them. It is like the Boomerang tool for gmail, that lets me effectively send an e-mail into the future, to a time when I hopefully have more time to deal with it.

I manage my whole life in PIMA. When I have an idea, I put it in PIMA. I have a tool to import my e-mail. I keep track of projects, personal goals, and all my accounts. It is an extension of my working and long-term memory.

I still use PIMA, but I'm encountering a failure mode that I have encountered in the past. The failure is that the sheer number of items in my list is so long that even the process of pushing them back takes too much time.

There are 220 items for today. There aren't 220 every day, but there are a lot — so many that I am motivated to procrastinate the process of procrastinating stuff, and stuff piles up very quickly.

The last time I fixed this by telling everyone, "hey, I'm deleting everything in my todo list and starting over, so if you were expecting me to do something, let me know again!"

That doesn't seem like a sustainable model. What to do...

No comments:

Post a Comment