In the years since high school and undergrad, I learned a lot about different systems for managing work, but I don’t know how much of that translated into knowing more about managing myself.
Lately I’m craving simple solutions.
We’re in year three of a pandemic. I’ve got two young kids. A heap of responsibilities in different buckets to juggle. I don’t have time to learn calligraphy to make an attractive bullet journal or craft a set of 57 nested tags for a perfect GTD machine.
The other day I tried to remember what my system was to manage my task list when I was in school… and I couldn’t.
Part of that was privilege. With few external pressures or obligations, I kept focused on schoolwork.
There was also the clarity of being a student.
At every level, school had small blocks of work that added up to a coherent whole:
Do these assignments by these deadlines to pass these classes and earn this degree.
Stepping out of that environment left a vacuum.
I wasn’t submitting to someone else’s syllabus. Making your own choices about what to focus on requires a leap of faith.
Maybe the most direct answer, though not the easiest one, is to focus less on organizing to-do lists or articulating methods, and more on developing trust in my ability to set priorities.
What is important? What is important right now?
If I can learn to answer those questions quickly and confidently, shutting out everything else in order to focus might be easier.