Feeling comfortable in my internship, and my weekend job, I figured this was a good week to start trying to get my todo list for the summer done. This list includes: making my pfour movies into podcasts, learning Arabic (on my own now since my weekend job conflicts with the amazing free class I found), and working on my Truman application. This week, I tried something Penelope Trunk suggested–every morning I hand-wrote my todo list for the day on a single piece of paper, and kept the pad with that paper around me all day (I also paid careful attention to her list of ways to ruin a list).
I can happily say that on no day did I complete every item on my list. I never did get “5 pages of Arabic” done, and “make 2 podcasts” slowly transformed into “make The Yellow Wall Paper podcast” to “research RSS 2.0 itunes standards” and “finish The Yellow Wall Paper podcast.” I learned a lot from what I failed to do. I discovered how hard it was to make time to study Arabic on my own, but finding places to sing seemed to just happen. It turns out I can get one blog post a day written with some effort, but nothing got me to go back to the American University Gym to exercise. I also found I could substitute some activities for others–I could write short, topical blog posts rather than longer ones, or hike to the Supreme Court from the federal courthouse rather than go to the gym (seeing the Supreme Court building for the first time was nearly a religious experience for this law geek).
But, even if I never finished a day’s tasks, I found the list valuable. I felt in control of my work-load. I got emails out on time, sent in my first draft of my Truman application by the deadline, finished a podcast (my best one yet I think), and, finally, did my dishes. As a writer who spends most of her life in front of a computer, physically writing my todo list was a small pleasure. I will keep trying this todo list thing.
When your sister turns to leave,
only when she’s most in need,
take away the cause of pain
by showing her we’re all the same;
have no envy and no fear.
–Joshua Radin “No Envy No Fear”