Author Topic: Work-sprint for dreaded tasks and to-do list wrangling thread  (Read 2906 times)

bioteacher

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Tuxedo Cat started this on the old forums with the following:

Quote
"Here's the basic purpose of this thread:  we all have Dreaded Tasks that we assiduously avoid or that drag out for hours and hours when we finally get to them.  My primary Dreaded Task at every waking moment of my life is grading papers.  Yours may be finishing comments on a dissertation chapter, editing a ms, returning to that dusty draft to revise for publication.  Abstractly we all know that common antidotes to procrastination are accountability and structure.  So that's what we're trying out here with this "work-sprint" thread.

If you want to participate, simply sign on to the thread by identifying

(a) your Dreaded Task work goals for the session and
(b) your chosen time frame(s) for completing tasks

Then you sign back in at the end of each "sprint" of work you complete"

It morphed over time into including a posting of scary lists that had to be triaged and checked off. That thread worked miracles for me many times. I really need that discipline now for my job hunt. I hate job hunting and everything related to it. The I get home from current brain-numbing job that makes time crawl, I want to goof off. That is not an option.

In-person accountability groups don't work for me. I want to chat and hang with friends, and while that is great, I need to actually get moving on this. I need some discipline and am hoping that there are one or two others around who could use the peer pressure, too.

Tomorrow:
  • Triage the paper mountain (I confess it is a laundry basket full of all sorts of stuff, not just paper, just 95% paper) and develop a plan for it. Ignoring it is not an option.
  • Grocery shopping
  • Develop a specific plan for job search tasks this week. What will I make myself do each day?
  • Write R&A for 30 minutes.
  • Walk 1 mile at Planet Fitness
  • Update YNAB

I already want to cut the list in half. <sob>

polly_mer

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Re: Work-sprint for dreaded tasks and to-do list wrangling thread
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2019, 05:43:16 PM »
I'm in.  I can't face listing everything, but I can do one at a time.

(a) Dreaded Task Goal: Get the new simulations running.
(b) Time Frame: No one will bother me at the office tomorrow so I have to go in and have something in the queue by noon.
Do whatever you want--I'm just the background dancer in your show!

bioteacher

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Re: Work-sprint for dreaded tasks and to-do list wrangling thread
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2019, 06:31:43 PM »
Tomorrow:
Triage the paper mountain (I confess it is a laundry basket full of all sorts of stuff, not just paper, just 95% paper) and develop a plan for it. Ignoring it is not an option.
Grocery shopping
Develop a specific plan for job search tasks this week. What will I make myself do each day?
Write R&A for 30 minutes.
Walk 1 mile at Planet Fitness
Update YNAB

Dyed Bioette's hair
Cleaned out fridge
Laundry
Worked 90 minutes on resume, which is necessary but not what I planned.


Overall, I call this a win. How did you do, Polly?

Parasaurolophus

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Re: Work-sprint for dreaded tasks and to-do list wrangling thread
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2019, 07:04:29 PM »
This evening:

Grade another 10 papers. (I did 16)
Grade 10 tests.
Design an alternative test for those who were absent.


Tomorrow:

Finish grading all papers.
Finish grading all tests.
Generate lecture slides.


EDIT: Whelp. Tomorrow's work-sprint list is looking a lot bigger now. Still, it's more important to get those essays done, and they're a giant pain.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2019, 10:44:00 PM by Parasaurolophus »
I know it's a genus.

bioteacher

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Re: Work-sprint for dreaded tasks and to-do list wrangling thread
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2019, 07:49:33 PM »
Welcome do productive hell, Parasaurolophus. May your stay be less miserable due to good company and crossed off items on your to-do list. :-)

ergative

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Re: Work-sprint for dreaded tasks and to-do list wrangling thread
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2019, 02:08:31 AM »
Oh, these are crazy-motivating. It's a bit of an art-form to craft a list that has enough doable stuff that I can cross some things off by the end of the day, and yet still be meaningful enough to push me to get non-busy-trivial stuff done.

Let's start small here. Accomplishing everything would be a ton, but in the realm of possibility. Accomplishing half is a reasonable expectation for today.

Admin
-Fill in people on what they missed at the important once-a-year meeting that I attended on their behalf
-Update the Level 1 handbook and draft cat-herding email for Level 1 faculty

Research
-Read that article
-Get the (re)analysis of Experiment 2 in order
-Finish discussion of Experiment 1

OneMoreYear

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Re: Work-sprint for dreaded tasks and to-do list wrangling thread
« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2019, 05:18:31 AM »
My list that must be completed by 9am tomorrow (hopefully it's in the spirit of this threat; I do feel like I'm in a sprint):
1. teach today's class (3 hours)
2. finish creating tomorrow's test
3. Upload test to PITA CMS
4. create lecture/in-class activity for tomorrow's class
5. create paper rubric
6. grade 20 papers
7. Do 1 quick admin thingy
8. Ignore all other student emergencies / admin thingies until 1-7 are done.

Cheerful

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Re: Work-sprint for dreaded tasks and to-do list wrangling thread
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2019, 05:37:56 AM »
...It's a bit of an art-form to craft a list that has enough doable stuff that I can cross some things off by the end of the day, and yet still be meaningful enough to push me to get non-busy-trivial stuff done.

So true.  Getting the quality and quantity of list items just right is key.  Long lists can be self-defeating.  I do best with shorter lists.  Can always add an item later -- and cross it off as complete.

ciao_yall

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Re: Work-sprint for dreaded tasks and to-do list wrangling thread
« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2019, 06:20:25 AM »
My latest trick is this:

  • Make a long list of all the things I have to do, broken into reasonable chunks.
  • Number them.
  • Take a break.
  • Look at the clock. Whatever the last numeral is on the clock corresponds to the item I have to do. If it's 12:56 I do item # 6. If I am looping through and have already done # 6 I go to # 16 on the list.
  • After, decide to take a break or check the clock again and pick another item.

Strangely, it works. I don't have the option of talking myself out of something, and I don't get overwhelmed with what is more/less important, pressing, etc. Stuff just gets done.

ergative

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Re: Work-sprint for dreaded tasks and to-do list wrangling thread
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2019, 08:26:05 AM »
Admin
Fill in people on what they missed at the important once-a-year meeting that I attended on their behalf
Update the Level 1 handbook and draft cat-herding email for Level 1 faculty
Last-minute meeting and proposal about converting exam scores to letter grades <- that was sprung on me and ate up an unexpected chunk of today

Research
-Read that article
-Get the (re)analysis of Experiment 2 in order
-Finish discussion of Experiment 1

bioteacher

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Re: Work-sprint for dreaded tasks and to-do list wrangling thread
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2019, 05:32:53 PM »
Welcome, fellow sprinters!

I love the idea of using the clock on a numbered list, Ciao_yall. Long lists, short lists, lists of just one item... it doesn't matter. This is an equal opportunity for suffering thread. We're miserable, but getting shit done, which makes us less miserable.

Tonight:
20 minutes on YNAB
30 minutes on resume.

If I get both done, I will be satisfied.

Resume work, here I come.

polly_mer

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Re: Work-sprint for dreaded tasks and to-do list wrangling thread
« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2019, 05:44:42 PM »
I'm in.  I can't face listing everything, but I can do one at a time.

(a) Dreaded Task Goal: Get the new simulations running.
(b) Time Frame: No one will bother me at the office tomorrow so I have to go in and have something in the queue by noon.

I didn't make noon, but those new simulations are in the queue.

Next task: Review that paper by 10 AM tomorrow.
Do whatever you want--I'm just the background dancer in your show!

bioteacher

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Re: Work-sprint for dreaded tasks and to-do list wrangling thread
« Reply #12 on: June 17, 2019, 07:10:53 PM »
Hour of resume work. None on YNAB. I call it a win.
Good job, Polly!

OneMoreYear

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Re: Work-sprint for dreaded tasks and to-do list wrangling thread
« Reply #13 on: June 17, 2019, 08:33:50 PM »
My list that must be completed by 9am tomorrow (hopefully it's in the spirit of this threat; I do feel like I'm in a sprint):
1. teach today's class (3 hours)
2. finish creating tomorrow's test
3. Upload test to PITA CMS
4. create lecture/in-class activity for tomorrow's class
5. create paper rubric
6. grade 20 papers
7. Do 1 quick admin thingy
8. Ignore all other student emergencies / admin thingies until 1-7 are done. [Nope, caught in a meeting + 3 new admin thingy's for tomorrow]

Hmm, well the grading's not going to happen, but since my evaluations were already going to be horrible in this class, I suppose I'm giving up and going to bed.  Must reconceptualize grading timelines next I teach this in accelerated format.

By Wednesday
1. teach class
2. create paper rubric
3. grade 20 papers
4. lecture on that topic
5. 3 admin thingies
6. run those analyses
7. revise that journal submission
8. update CV to begin job search (I'm with you bioteacher, job searching = hate)

I like the clock trick. Going to give that a go tomorrow.

Parasaurolophus

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Re: Work-sprint for dreaded tasks and to-do list wrangling thread
« Reply #14 on: June 17, 2019, 11:32:43 PM »

Finish grading all papers.
Finish grading all tests.
Generate lecture slides.

Design an alternative test for those who were absent.


Oof. This has been an awful day. Tomorrow morning, I make the slides pretty and write up two new tests.
I know it's a genus.