It seems that weekly updates on this blog were a little unrealistic without the framework of the 23 things tasks. On top of managing teaching and getting back to my Ph.D., oh and life, I haven’t had a lot of room to breathe. I was made to confront my habit of scheduling my days through endless to do lists that I never had any chance of completing before the sun set. With the best of intentions and fuelled by my obsession with stationery, I have spent the past few weeks planning ahead, colour coding and generally just find another way of organising without real purpose – pretty but not functional.
Keeping up with the daily schedules I set for myself was just another way in which I was setting myself up for “failure.” But, after a discussion with my brother I have found an app which I find really useful: trello. It’s a pretty standard task management app with the capability for collaborative project management that can be accessed by anyone you share your “board” with. I have to say I haven’t used this feature yet, but organising my own priorities using a colour coded system with different columns for progression has made a huge difference to my days. The most useful part of this is that it allowed me to monitor tasks that I was progressing with but hadn’t finished. Previously I could not move on to another task until the one I was working on was complete; as they say “tidy house, tidy mind”, but my mind is only tidy when my to do list is complete aka: never. Here is a snapshot of the board I have at the moment with the various stages of tasks that might take an hour, a week, or another year (my thesis!).
Another pro this app seems to offer is that it doesn’t give me too many obvious distracting elements to procrastinate with, although you can certainly find some cool customisation features if you care to look a little closer. So, I would recommend this for anyone that struggles with making never ending lists without seeing any progress. Or for those of you that just need to get organised!
On another note, I return to my Ph.D. on Monday and finally have a clear perspective on what my thesis is becoming. Despite being 2 years in, it is only in the last few months that I have gained clarity by allowing myself space to think – a very underrated and usually unachievable prospect in light of the three year time window of the Ph.D. process. A couple of the books I am focusing on at the moment (Danielewski’s House of Leaves (2000) and Doug Dorst & JJ Abrams S (2013) have whole online communities dedicated to solving all of the mysteries these texts offer. Some of which I hope to discuss on this page, perhaps as a way of introducing this niche kind of fiction to those that haven’t crossed its path before.
And…I know, I know. I promised a blog on Arrival (2016) and I never delivered. It was a great film, full of the potential for deconstructive analysis of the meanings of language etc., but I found myself slipping away from the type of discussion I want to continue on this blog and into academic criticism territory. I’ll save you the slog of reading through that blog post and just go ahead and recommend you watch it.