For the past week, I’ve been experimenting with an app called “My Tasks” in an effort to increase my productivity. I’m working across three major projects and trying to establish a few new habits (regular exercise and meditation) so some assistance seemed to be in order.
This simple app allows you to enter a task and assign any time per day to it. You click on the task and the timer starts. You click again, the timer stops. If you get your time in, a small dot goes “green’ if you don’t get your time in that day, that same tattle-taling dot turns red. In deference to the weekend, you can indeed disable Saturday and Sunday so respite is around the corner.
I was doing pretty well with a ton of green dots across the board, racking up those kindergarden stars like an obsessed fool. But then I hit one night where I just didn’t feel like accomplishing the green-dot task preferring instead to veg out with a good book. Or a bad book or a bad tv show – absolutely anything other than head off to yet more of that basement renovation task. I wanted a night off and it came down to a showdown between the self-imposed guilt of a red dot or the self-seeking, pleasure of a serious vegetative state for an evening/ Let’s hear it for vegetative states!
And then, having taken advantage of my sloth, I jotted down some notes about the compulsion of “having” to do something and using electronics to force myself to buckle down to “work”.
As an aside, I’ve long been pretty well focussed, able to sort out my tasks and accomplish far more than your average writer. Having taken and taught time-managment as well as Management by Objectives lo these many years ago in a different lifestyle far, far away in another galaxy, I’ve maintained that focus as a writer.
What the app was doing was adding an extra layer of self-imposed compulsion. And after a week of this, I confess I’ve had enough.
Where I think something like this would be useful is in my original purpose, establishing a new routine, rather than in organizing one’s work life. I’ve dialed back the app, deleted the projects but have retained the new behaviours I want to encourage. So I’m checking myself for a daily meditation and exercise routine but none of my work projects survived.
I think I discovered my personal point where creativity can be encouraged but not bottled and controlled.
And that alone was worth a full week of green dots.