Lists of Time Vampires

So, I have a shit-ton of things I need to do.  All the stuff I’ve put off while on the project from hell, plus the every-day b.s. of laundry and housework.  So this week, I get the bright idea to start a to-do list.  That’s supposed to be the key to  GTD (Getting Things Done) right?  Right.

I was going to go with a paper list, because while I detest the idea of having to use paper in my work life, in my personal life, I am all about the dead trees.  BUT, then I thought about how much more helpful it might be if I didn’t have to look to the list for what to do.  How about I use the schnaztasticness of my phone?  Surely there’s a widget of a to-do list that has all manner of annoying alarms to remind me to fold socks and take the box with the nativity scene down to the basement, right?

And that’s when the first time vampire was spawned.  There are several different options available for my phone in the line of to-do lists with alarms.  And I didn’t want to choose one that wasn’t spot-on-awesome, right?  So I had to do my research.  Look up ratings.  Download and testdrive.

You’re seeing the minutes ticking away, right?

Finally, I have the ideal candidate.  I feel semi-confident after 2 hours of playing with other options that this is the list-maker for moi.  Perfect.  Now all I had to do was start listing tasks and setting priorities and deadlines.

And that’s when the time vampire had a whole list of babies.

Just figuring out what I had to get done was a lengthy exercise itself.  Then I realized that some of what I listed really had sub-steps involved, and shouldn’t I list each sub-step toward completion?  Of course I should.  Delete the first one and break it down to all 11 steps.  Ah, better!  Now about those priorities.  Clearly folding socks is more important than moving around chairs in the living room.  But where do I put dusting the bookshelf in the living room?  More or less important?  And the deadlines.  Hmmm, do I really think I can get all the laundry done by Tuesday?  Should I set a weekly alarm for that?

5 hours later, I have a very thorough list of things to do.  My phone is happy to display a little icon at me.  Alarm chime merrily from time to time.  I look down at the little screen, frown…..and clear the alarm before going back to the book I was reading.

So much for that plan.

Time Vampire of the Week: Lifehacker

This has to be one of the most insidious time vamps I’ve ever dealt with, which makes me love it all the more.

Lifehacker is the best collection of  tips, tricks and tools to make your digital life smoother, easier and more efficient (and sometimes your meat-space life, too).  It’s the site that turned me on to Getting Things Done, and which has given me countless shortcuts I’ve used both at home and at work.

So how does a site that is basically about time management and  doing things faster and better qualify as a sucker of time?

Oh, just visit the link.  It’s like the Lay’s potato chip of sites: you can’t read just one article.  You keep looking, keep learning and before you know it, the most time-beneficial thing you could have happen is a power failure to disconnect you so that you might actually take the stuff you’ve been reading for the past 4 hours and implement it, rather than reading about that better, faster way to keep your Outlook calendar clear of unwanted meetings.

Lifehacker, I love you, but you’re a little bit evil.