Get shit done

Get shit done

Two of the questions I get the most are “how do you find time to do everything you do?” and “but why can’t I have this by Friday?” (sometimes these questions are from the same person, often in the same conversation, which slays me).

So let’s talk about how I get shit done!

Last year I had a started with a two-prong approach and brought in a third in the Fall; this year sees the addition of a fourth thing. For two years or three years now, I’ve been using Toodledo. For a little over a year I’ve also added a spiral notebook to that (paper AND computer, best of both worlds!). Late last year I added the long-awaited Unfuck Your Habitat Android app. And this year I’m also adding an old-fashioned monthly calender (it’s not like I haven’t used calenders before, on my wall, I am human after all! But this year I’m adding a desk calender).

Toodledo is an online task/to-do list. I opt for the paid version (about $15/year, IIRC) which allows for subtasks, which was a must for me when looking for an online list. I primarily use this for things like custom orders; things in my work life that have an overall arc with a final due-date, but also have a lot of little things that have to be done to get to that point… like ceramic custom orders. I need to have it slipcast by a certain date, cleaned, bisque fired, painted/glazed, glaze fired, photographed, listed, and shipped. What works for me is to have something like “Fred’s Custom Order” with a due date of 12 weeks from now, and then each of the steps is a subtask with a different due date. This might not work for everyone but it really, really works for me… oddly in a way that paper wasn’t working for me. I like to see all the sub-tasks listed out, instead of having to flip back and forth in a paper calender. For one job, having everything I need to do for that one job listed out… that seems to work the best. I drop less balls that way. I also use it for repeating tasks having to do with work, such as newsletters to be mailed out. I can tag things by “soap” or “yarn” and sort them that way, or into folders such as “Wholesale orders” or “shop upkeep”, or sort by due date… it’s very customizable, is what I’m saying.

As a compliment to that, I use a spiral notebook. With the notebook open, on the left-hand side I have the days of the week, and on the right-hand side I have the topic of that week (yarn, or soap, or ceramics). On the right-hand side I have the list of things that need to be done during that week, overall (such as the list of yarns that need to be dyed, as shown in the photo) and on the left-hand side I divide it as best I can out by weekday, and/or add other things that need to be done during the week but don’t necessarily need to be put into Toodledo (which I reserve mostly for custom work and things that are generally repeatable). I try hard to only use three pen colors — blue, for what needs to be done; red, for crossing out things that have been done; purple, for weird shit that comes up during the week to which I need to devote extra time/energy/brain power.

Unfuck Your Habitat is a blog I’ve been following for a while. Y’all know my fascination with hoarding, and how I feel I’m one box of magazines from being on Hoarders (or one raccoon away from being on Gray Gardens), and I just love, love, love this site. For one, it’s full of photos of people’s mess and inspiring after photos, people who sound just like me and have cats and knitting and science fiction books everywhere, and the person who runs it is a fantastic mix of both snarky f-bombs and true caring about the human condition. So of course when the Android app came out, I bought it…. and it’s fabulous. You can set up your own cleaning routine, you can have a random challenge, you can see what they recommend doing on a room by room basis, and it comes with a 20/10 timer which is one of the ways she suggests cleaning — work for twenty minutes, take ten minutes off. That way you don’t set out to fail, with a “Imma clean this shit till it’s DONE” and then three hours later you’re under your desk, rocking back and forth, chewing on your hair. While I will probably never post to UFYH (I don’t have a tumblr account and really don’t need One More Password to Forget) I do find the site inspiring and helpful.

Lastly, new this year is an old-fashioned desk calender. Yes, I do use my Google Cal for things (especially making appointments while I’m out and about, or things that come up via email), but sometimes I want a good old-fashioned paper thing I can make notes on, and glance at without having to switch back and forth from tab to tab on my computer. I’ve marked out on it the theme for the week (soap, slipcast ceramics, etc) and in red put some things that are noteworthy (mailing out yarn club, taking care of quarterly sales tax). We’ll see how that goes.

So. That’s how *I* get shit done. What about you? How do you keep track of the minutia? (Unless you’re my mom and enjoying retirement and no schedules or calenders! 😉 )

4 Comments

  1. Alice Haldeman

    Actually, I do keep a paper old fashioned calendar for appointments and board meetings. I gave up doing mediations as people bringing small claims suits were just too annoying, so I don’t have to schedule that any more. I do add things to the ipod calendar and the google one also but they aren’t always as reliable as paper. I’ve had too many times when the electronics fail. That is, once is once too many. Also, the ipod and google versions are annoying. My city code board meets the second Thursday each month, but you can’t make ipod understand anything but the date, so it repeats on days like Sunday. Same with the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory committee. Same day each month but electronic calendars only understand the number. Paper works best. The only other thing I really need to be sure I do is write the occasional thank you note which is best to do immediately upon receipt of the gift, even if I do it by email.

  2. Marie Stanley

    Watch an episode of Supernatural while knitting, get up and clean a bit; repeat. Add some eating in there some where and that has been my week off ” work”. The two weeks before that I was so sick with the damn flu ; I have no idea what I did except cough.

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