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Productivity

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I’m in Santa Fe for a few days. Mary Anne is here for a Wild Cards authors gathering, and I’m tagging along as her +1.

Ended up having a reasonably productive day yesterday. Some productive things I did, in no particular order:

  • Wrote and sent three or four emails I’d been meaning to write and send for weeks or months.
  • Made significant progress on planning Mary Anne’s and my forthcoming Hawai`i trip.
  • Sent a story to an editor.
  • Did some fiction work. Well, mostly researched Bengali names, and took notes. No wordcount per se. But useful, and helped clarify some things.
  • Completed a volunteer proofreading project that I probably never should have embarked on, and that’s been lingering half-done for months.
  • Did a little cleanup of various task lists.
  • Did a couple of small time-sensitive day-job tasks.
  • Outlined my travel plans for 2018, and cleaned up my 2017 list.
  • Bought a membership in next year’s Worldcon (in San José!).
  • Started working on creating a random-economic-system-picker tool (for aid in creating alien societies and such), then did a web search and found a bunch of interesting random-generator tools.

(...But I failed to do one important thing: respond to email about my forthcoming website redesign. That’s on my list for today.)

(I also did fun and/or interesting stuff that wasn’t Productive, of course. Spent time with Mary Anne, wandered through shops and the Basilica and the Indigenous Peoples Day celebration in/near the Plaza, had dinner at Jambo (African/Caribbean fusion; thanks to Jhayne for recommendation!), listened to sf writers talk about the old days and about various big-name writers they’d known. But this entry is specifically about Getting Stuff Done.)

I also came up with a new potentially useful productivity tool for myself: When I’m about to start doing something, ask myself “In an hour, will I feel like this was a good use of my time?” I’m not sure whether this will really help me or not, but I think it might reduce the incidence of activities like emailing journalists to tell them about typos in their articles.

It’s sort of like asking myself “Will I regret this?”, but I feel like the emphasis is subtly different, in a potentially useful-to-me way.

(My previous thought along those lines was to ask myself “Does this further any of my goals?” Which seemed like a good idea, but I think my goals tend to be nebulous enough that it wasn’t always easy to answer the question.)

One other thought that goes under the general heading of productivity: I’ve recently largely stopped playing computer games.

That wasn’t really an intentional change. For months, I had been playing more such games than usual, and had reverted to an intermittent habit of playing games whenever I found myself casting about for something to do, or whenever I was feeling antsy and having a hard time focusing.

(A while back, I made myself a list of things to work on when I was looking for something to do, about 20 ongoing projects and such; I figured if I couldn’t decide on one, I could use a random number generator or roll a d20. The list does help, but when I’m in the mood to play a video game, I tend to avoid looking at the list.)

But two or three weeks ago, I just stopped having the strong urge to play computer games. Every few days, I think “Oh, I could play Dicewar,” and then I remind myself that it’s a time sink and that I would be just as happy to do something else, and I do something else.

I’m still occasionally playing Zerline Solitaire as basically a fidget toy, something to do that doesn’t take a whole lot of attention and that I can win every time in about ten minutes but still provides a slight challenge; and I’m still sometimes playing a particular level of Osmos as a sleep aid (it’s soothing, and slow-moving, and helps me relax); and I’m still trying out new additions to some games when they’re updated in the iOS app store. But that all adds up to an average of maybe ten minutes a day or less, rather than the couple of hours a day I was engaging in for a while.

For me, this stuff comes and goes. I imagine that in a few months, I’ll be playing a lot of games again, and I won’t get too stressed about it because I’ll know that that’ll ebb again after a while. But for now, it’s kinda nice to be focused on other stuff.

Now if only I could reach the same suddenly-feels-okay-to-not-do-it feeling about Facebook.

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