I briefly consider giving advice on scheduling, then come to my senses and decide against it

The Crazy Testament is a loose collection of notes I keep in a loose collection of note-keeping areas. Herein, I expand on those ideas which probably should have been forgotten.

I wrote down in my phone some ideas for blog posts, recently. By recently I mean a couple weeks ago. Here is one of them.

The Artist’s Guide to Scheduling in a Fractured World

I guess I wrote that down because it seemed like something I would see on the internet. I almost immediately realized two important things:

  1. I don’t like most things I read on the internet
  2. I’m in no way qualified to write whatever that article would be about

But I will talk a little about my failures with regards to scheduling.

I make a monthly list. On that list are the things I want to accomplish. The list is sometimes short, three to five lines. Sometimes it is longer, filled with twenty smaller tasks.

I often put small tasks on the list, so I can feel better about checking off the item. One recent line read: Move Lamp.

That’s all. I just needed to move a lamp. Store it elsewhere in the abode. Not even take it to Goodwill or a dumpster. Just needed to move it. And need is a strong word.

It took me over a month to do this. I actually failed to move the lamp in the month of November. It was early December when I did this, and it took approximately a minute and a half. Draw your own conclusions, and beware as you read on.

My list is almost never completed. I generally do the things on the list I actually want to, and then stand and look at the list, shake my head and go smoke or pace around and ignore the list. I spend a lot of time in my head, just thinking about doing things. Sometimes that’s productive, when I’m specifically concerned about the details of a story or painting.

Anyhoo, the list does mock me and that’s why it’s important. It’s a paper warning (yes, I use paper for the list, so that I can derive satisfaction in crossing the items off with an ink pen) a portent of potential doom, for I know if I can’t manage to do the items on that list, it becomes harder to pretend there isn’t something wrong with my mind.

I will give some advice on making lists to help you schedule your task now.

  1. The first thing on your list should be something motivational. Since I began making lists in my twenties, I usually use, “Crush my enemies.” As I’ve grown older and less fond of the ways of Conan, now I sometimes just start with a normal item. But not always.
  2. The second item and the remainders should be distinct tasks that have an endpoint. “Exercise” isn’t a good thing to put on you list. “Go to gym every Monday, Wednesday and Friday” is better. “Go to gym 15 times this month” is even better because you can mark little check marks next to it every time you go.
  3. Give yourself some easy tasks. That way you get to mark them complete. It makes it feel like you are doing something and that might boost you towards actually doing something more important. Example: Move Lamp. Warning: this doesn’t always work.
  4. Your list can grow. If I’m having a problem doing anything (frequently), sometimes I take a smaller task and just jot it down at the bottom of the list. That will be the thing I do upon waking the next day.
  5. You can look back at your lists at the end of the year and get an idea of what you were trying to accomplish, a kind of broad look at your own struggles. Then you may laugh or cry or both.

Anyway, all that advice is mainly bullshit because I’m terribly ineffective for vast swaths of time. Really what happens is I do little for a long time, and then I will suddenly, manically accomplish a lot in a wave of brutal guilt and fear. But that’s not really good advice to give.

Good luck!