The To-Do Glitch

As my recent post on housework demonstrates, I have been neglecting many areas in my life lately in favor of blogging.

If you’re into blogging, you’ll know that blogging can become a proper little rabbit hole. You go down and you rarely come out again. You enter a feverish flux of post-comment-moderate-post-read-comment-moderate-reply-read-post with no end in sight. Meanwhile all the things you haven’t done eat at your concentration until the only thing left at the keyboard is a twittering, caffeine-swilling word-press wreck with a gaping hole where post ideas should be.

Due to my blogging obsession, there have been things that I have left hanging. Little things, on the edge of my consciousness, continuously nudging at me. “Here, Laura! Look at me! I need doing!” Their voices are tinny and annoying. I do my best not to listen to them. I tell them that I am terribly busy. I am busy tapping the keyboard, drinking wine and eating chocolate chips cookies. Just leave me alone!

A while back I read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. She had this rule of doing anything immediately that takes less than a minute to do. I did that briefly, but now I’m back to just looking at things that need doing and saying “Oh dear” with all the energy of an unambitious slug. The house is definitely not on fire and no one is lying on the floor convulsing, but I don’t pick up the socks. I don’t call to make an appointment. I act like the proverbial husband and listen to the nagging until it morphs into mere background noise.

Yesterday, I’d had enough. I decided that I needed to unload all the excess stress that these undone things were creating in my blog-addled mind.

So, within a very short time, I did ridiculously many things I’ve been meaning to do for ages. I took the carpet to the dry cleaners. I booked an appointment for an eye examination. I booked an appointment with the hairdresser. I did some necessary shopping for the boys. I marked their clothes for daycare. I vacuumed. I arranged the books back in the bookcase. Etc.

The whole thing took me a few hours, but the amount of brain clarity gained was enormous. I managed to post, too, so the mundane things didn’t get the upper hand. The creation was not exactly Pulitzer material, but the trade-off was good.

Wiping my to-do list clean(ish) taught me a lot.

One: it only takes roughly two seconds to lift a pair of dirty socks to the laundry basket. That means you could theoretically do 30 pairs in a minute, or 1800 in an hour. Within the great scheme of things, the amount of energy expended for lifting one pair is negligible. There is no reason to complain about lifting one pair.

Two: If you don’t do something immediately, you’re going to have to do it later anyway. Waiting too long might lead to developing your own personal mold culture laboratory. Not that I have experience with this. That would be sad.

swiss-cheese-575544_1280

Three: Blueness is not sufficient basis for calling a cheese blue cheese  

I feel better now that I’m done. But. There is a problem. Is it really over? Are we safely on board a rescue craft, ready to exhale a great big sigh of relief and post the picture of the iceberg Thingsleftundone on the Internet? I don’t think so.

More will come. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon. These things will start pulling at my sleeve, going “Laura, do this! Do this now!” Their tinny voices will build up and fade into an unpleasant background noise.

Let’s face it. I haven’t learned anything.

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14 thoughts on “The To-Do Glitch

  1. This is so relatable! I have been spending too much of my time blogging these two weeks, and as a result i am neglecting my studies. The fact that i have chosen advanced subjects meant for fourth year in my second year doesn’t help either. And i really like point:1. I keep doing that to myself too! Somehow, we all forget the fact that we are humans when we set up schedules or tasks. Technically, these tasks can be done in so-and-so amount of time, but i just don’t want to do anything!! Lovely post, Laura!

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    1. Thanks! I can’t understand people who manage both blogging 101 and writing 101 at the same time. They must be either superhuman or walking nervous breakdowns. 🙂

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  2. This is a very good spot, and hits the nail on the head – it’s very easy to get lost in the blogsphere. Since this course started I’ve been spending more and more time in it and I need to get some control back!
    Years ago I was on a course for work and learned a very good lesson which I think is sort of related. We were told to go back to our desks when the course was finished, and take any paperwork over a month old from our in-trays and put it in the bin. The reasoning being that if it was important we’d be contacted again about it. In this day and age, I think you can change the one month to a week – that’s how I manage my inbox anyway!

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  3. I could get sucked into my blogging very easily. I have to schedule my entire day from the time I get up until my eyes close so I know which window of time I have to blog. If I don’t my exercise, children, house, and fitness groups that I head would all suffer….. I do find though that I am running out of hours in a day now that I am blogging. Especially trying to read as many blogs as I can…. 🙂 Great read and well written! 🙂

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  4. Been there. Am there! If I can’t do it the “right way,” I don’t want to do it at all. Making peace with “good enough,” helps. Fly Lady has some great tips. Giving yourself permission to not be perfect, to make mistakes, to fall on your face, is good. (Perfectionism is my downfall.) I tend to hide in blogging, books, Netflix…when I’m avoiding my life. It’s not the problem, it’s a symptom. I’m a big fan of Julia Cameron’s books. She’s helped me journal my way through the whys of my actions. Getting out of the house at LEAST once a week for the purpose of doing something creative and fun has helped out more than I ever thought. (Julia Cameron calls these “artist dates.”) When I started figuring out WHY I was avoiding housework, etc, I started taking care of my home as a natural byproduct. My home isn’t perfect, but I’m doing MUCH better than I ever did in the past. Scheduling more intensely might work for other people, but that just made me feel bad about myself because it didn’t last. I was already burned out, hence the reason for hiding behind media. Take Care! 🙂

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    1. Interesting perspective and you might have a point. I definitely have a history of hiding in books so maybe blogging is part of that continuum. Julia Cameron’s great, I read her when I was younger. I’ve gotten out of the habit of regular artist dates, though. Maybe I should take them up again. Thanks for the suggestion 🙂

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  5. Mhmmm… very familiar, all this. My favorite sentence? ” I act like the proverbial husband and listen to the nagging until it morphs into mere background noise.” I laughed out loud, literally. I do believe the course is ending *sad face quickly followed by relieved expression*. Guess it means we will have fewer people to push us to write. *sigh* Wait… there’s a new blog post in that…
    I am a big fan, Laura. Look forward to more, so if need be, do leave a few socks on the floor.

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  6. I’ll add my voice to the chorus and agree that yes, Blogging 101 has basically taken over my life! Well, not only the course, but also because I am involved in all these blogging writing challenges — so just when I feel I can finally go back and tackle my “real world” to-do list, another challenge pops up and GEE that looks like a good one… I am hoping that some time this weekend I will be able to force myself into a surge of real-world work like you describe because boy, I need it!

    Your writing style is very breezy and personable and approachable, I felt drawn in right away. Good luck with your blogging, and with getting everything done that is non-blog-related!

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