Desk as Metaphor for State-of-Mind

Whoa: it’s going to be one of those days. I know, I know – the TO DO list is dead (see past postings), but today is one of those days where I can’t get around it. Even though we were gifted with ‘Family Day’ yesterday, and I haven’t got any classes for the rest of the week, the chances of my lazing around this week are slim. I’ve got WAY too much to do.

So I’ve got a big, fat TO DO list on the go today. It’s got course related stuff on it (start research for methodologies paper! Do readings for methodologies presentation!), life admin stuff (laundry! deposit that cheque!), and other odds and end (a chiropractor appointment, a possible trip to the gym, etc).

But it’s easy to see how getting it all done can sometimes feel impossible.

I often use the top of my desk as an indicator of how things are going lately. Here, for example, is how things are going this morning:

Frazzled much, Meredith?

The fact that there are FIVE different cups and glasses waiting to go down to the kitchen reveals a lot, eh? Bits of paper everywhere? yeah- welcome to the state of my mind.

When things start feeling like they are getting to be too much, I do find scheduling my day really helpful. Ever heard the old adage that work expands to fill the time you’ve got? Well, limiting your time is surely the way to make sure you use it most effectively. This blog entry, for example, could probably take me all day if I let it. Instead, I am determined to have it done by 10:30am. See? Limits.

The laundry? Well, that’s gotta be done by noon. And while I’m doing laundry, I’ll read – so that’s two birds with one stone.

I’ll have some time to kill between my chiropractor appointment and the SGPS candidates debate at the Grad Club (that’s at 5:30pm), so I’ll use my time to pick up some things at the drug store and the health food store, deposit the cheque, etc. Squeezing stuff into the spare moments seems to be the only way to get it all done — otherwise each of these silly  otherwise brief activities really could expand into taking hours…

In other words, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by it all, you’re not alone.  As far as I’m concerned, writing it all down in a master list is still the best way to tackle it.  That’s because as soon as I get it out on a list, it can stop bouncing around in my head.

The problem, of course, is when you let that little sneaky list start making you feel bad by making it impossibly long or too vague.

Keep your list do-able — and at the end of the day, don’t forget to write out a second list of all the things you managed to get done. Trust me, you’ll go to bed feeling good about yourself.

And hey- maybe one of these days I’ll even add ‘clean desk’ to my list? Not today, though…

Posted in SGS Blog 2010-2011, Student Perspective, Uncategorized

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