I decided sometime early this week that it was time to get my to-do list under control. I checked off something like twenty items on Sunday, iIrc, and then about one item on Monday. And it occurred to me that my habit of having sixty or seventy items in the Today list at any given time was silly, given that the most I've ever checked off in one day was something like thirty, and it's usually more like five.
(I use the Mac application Things, which, although far from perfect, seems to fit my head pretty well; I've been using it for a year and a half now, when I haven't stuck with any previous to-do-list app for more than about six weeks.)
So I'm trying an experiment: on any given day, I can have no more than thirty items “due” that day, with the understanding that I won't get to them all and will have to move some to the next day. Or the next week; part of trying to be more realistic about how much there is on the list involves rescheduling non-urgent stuff for a week or two later instead of a day or two.
So far, the experiment is going pretty well. I'm getting a lot done, feeling more productive, not being faced by an overwhelming list every day.
On the other hand, the main reason I've been productive this week is that every night I've decided against doing fun stuff in favor of being productive.
There are at least three movies I want to see currently in theatres. (Captain America, Harry Potter, Friends with Benefits. Maybe also Planet of the Apes, not sure.) (I forget whether I said: saw Cowboys and Aliens last week, with Kam, and enjoyed it quite a bit; fun fluff.) There are four Netflix movies sitting on my shelf waiting to be watched. There are video games waiting to be played. I've done very little socializing this week. I've been more or less keeping up with social networks (Facebook, Twitter, G+) and news and webcomics, and I did watch the latest episode of Leverage, and I've been reading occasional small bits of Pale Fire and Song for Arbonne and Grand Sophy and God's War in spare moments, so it hasn't been all work and no play; still, I've been more focused on productivity and less on fun than usual, for about a week now. Also, haven't been sleeping well.
But I've gotten a bunch done. Mostly magazine stuff. Some stuff around the house. Ordered a pair of ottomans to match my couches. Got my Hugo votes in. Got plane tickets and a hotel room for WorldCon (coming up in two weeks). Contacted Year's Best editors. Paid a long-overdue invoice. Added stuff to the SH Awards page. Went to the doctor to investigate the mysterious tiny patch of skin on my arm that's been invisibly hurting on and off for a month. Nearly caught up on overdue magazine reading. And so on.
(It's also been a fairly productive-but-busy week at work. Did a bunch of long-delayed stuff. And sometimes, as happened tonight, one of the most productive parts of my work week ends up being after 7 p.m. on Friday.)
(Also, I biked to and from work four days this week, the most I've managed in a long time, possibly years.)
And now I am tired. Am hoping to manage some downtime this weekend. Perhaps I should put that on my list.
(Actually, going sailing already is on my list, but it's been so long since the lessons I took last year that I'm not sure I remember enough to do it, so I may postpone.)
(...I feel weird not mentioning that the week also included a friend receiving particularly bad news. I've left it out of the above because it's not my story to tell, but I want to acknowledge it, so I'll just note it here.)