Avoiding Caffeinated Squirrel Syndrome

Sometimes I wish that once I got an idea, I wouldn’t get another one until I’d dealt with or otherwise finished with the first.

I keep getting project ideas and they all seem worthy of pursuit (but, of course, only when I’m at home and in a time and place to Do Something with them).  And so I have a heap of projects that I count and recount but don’t work with, like a miser and his gold.

In preparation for Book Group Thing tonight (“Rangers, Wizards, Hobbits, and Lions: Finding Christ, Finding Ourselves”), I was pondering different ways of regarding Christ.  The translation of Dream of the Rood which I did for my Anglo-Saxon class – and which I pull out every Lent, to reflect on Christ as our conquering hero, saving us from sin – came to mind.  It occurred to me that I might work on some kind of text-driven artwork, some silhouette of Golgotha with Anglo-Saxon text twined around it:
Syllic wæs se sigebeam,   ond ic synnum fah,  forwunded mid wommum …
Gestah he on gealgan heanne, modig on manigra gesyhðe,   þa he wolde mancyn lysan…
Weop eal gesceaft,   cwiðdon cyninges fyll; Crist wæs on rode. 

And then I thought “It could be my banner picture for Lent.  And I could make another for Easter that says Christos Surrexit! or something.  That would be cool!  It’d really go with the plans I had with Michelle to create some Vasty Tomes of Excellence.”

Which would be lovely if I weren’t already trying to figure out how to fit in the crafting of said Vasty Tomes, choir practice, reading, writing, reading about writing and writing about reading, tax filing, car buying, trip taking, house cleaning, food cooking, and other gerunds.

I suppose learning to say no to myself just as I’d decline invitations to overmany social events is the thing to do.  How do you approach this?  How do you keep yourself from running after every potential project that comes into your head?

The lovely Em has already suggested the following approaches to Getting Stuff Done:
– Order them according to urgency and ease of completion; similar to the Focus Snowball of Resolutions Past;
– Hang them on a mirror/dashboard/other visible place
– Make a list of Necessary Life Tasks and another list of Fun Idea/Tasks; accomplish a thing from the first list before working on its respective liberal labour.  Alternating should make the tasks feel less servile in nature, but also prevent the lists from burgeoning into an Overwhelming Weight.

Have you a particular approach to pursuing or completing your aims?

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5 thoughts on “Avoiding Caffeinated Squirrel Syndrome

  1. Sadly no. I haven’t found a way to win this battle for myself. I tried list-making, but ended up spending more time trying to figure out how to organize the lists than actually doing anything on them. Sometimes I point back to my middle-school self and say “Hey, that kid had a work ethic! Where’d it go?”

    • YES. Even my high-school self was better at Taking Care Of Business. Vexing in the extreme…what’s worst is when the lists just swell the pile of Papers Which Must Needs Be Sorted…

  2. First of all, I love the title! Second, unlike David, lists seem to work well for me. I have ongoing lists that are never really finished (because I end up listing more than I can do in one day and keep adding to the list) but they help me remember the things that I want to or need to tackle. For a day to day basis, I choose 3-5 tasks to complete and attempt to complete those instead of feeling overwhelmed by the list. I read that you shouldn’t try to create a to-do list any larger than what can fit on a sticky note, and that method works pretty well for me. Good luck!

    • Hahaha, I’m glad! Seems like a problem you’d have witnessed at some point (if not in yourself, then in Nick/Sandra/Bryant/et al).

      I think I might need to distinguish 3 lists: the everyday tasks (cooking, laundry, whatever), the fun tasks (reading, writing, painting), and the tasks to accomplish a greater, longer project (working on my resume, looking at car options, working out).

      Sorry to be pedantic, but I can’t resist: I have a (3×3) sticky note next to me with 110 words on it in 15 lines. I’ll have to use an extra-small sticky note for my to-do lists!

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