Fuck It, Dude, Let’s Prioritize

let that shit goI am sitting at my desk at work, trying to organize my day. Usually a fan of the good old to-do list, today’s task is not a pleasant one. Things are piling up. I am staring at a stack of papers, watching my emails actively multiply from administration and desperate students. I am feeling stress.

It’s that awful period in between teaching and testing, which means that I am still teaching a few courses while creating tests for other courses. My rhythm and schedule have been thrown off and there’s a whole lot to do.

I make a distressingly large to-do list and while I do this, I mentally kick myself for yesterday.

Yesterday was Sunday (as you probably well know). It was a day that I had free from the minute I awoke to the minute I feel asleep with a Bill Bryson book tented over my face. I didn’t have to meet anyone, nor did I have to teach or leave my house for any reason.

And yet, I had a list of things to do. I had to write my blog for today, plan two lessons for today, grade three tests, create a test, mark two papers, and edit a chapter of a book. This was only on the professional to-do list. My domestic to-do list was to clean my bathrooms and kitchen and do laundry. I had to work out too.

In the end, I chose to plan one lesson, write the blog, do the cleaning, and work out.

And I’m still stressed today.

One reason for that is that I forgot to email myself the blog post, so I have had to start another one from scratch. But despite taking care of some of the things on my to-do list on the free Sunday, I still have a lot to do. And I am kicking myself and, just to add insult to injury, I am kicking myself for kicking myself.

Surely we all deserve a free day. I had to work Saturday, so Sunday was my only free day this week. So why do I feel so guilty about (mostly) enjoying it? More than feeling guilty now, I felt guilty then. Ostensibly relaxing on my couch, I would glare at my watch and sigh deeply. It’s almost 2 p.m., oh how this day is flying by. Subtext: I need to stop enjoying my Sunday and get to work. 

In this aspect I have always envied the Czechs. Many of the Czechs I know enjoy their Sundays to the fullest, sometimes coming home from a trip at midnight. The weekend is not over until the weekend is actually over. It’s a great philosophy that seems to benefit them.

But not me.

And maybe not you.

Maybe a tweak is needed.

Today, as I stress about the various tasks and duties multiplying on my desk and inbox, I say these words:

‘Fuck it.’

OK, even though it would be a great story, I don’t get up, kick my boss in the shins, and leave. I don’t lose my cool and throw my computer against the wall. What I do is remind myself of something that I (and maybe you) often lose sight of: not everything is dire, the world will go on if I don’t finish something immediately, and I can only do so much at one time.

I look back at my to-do list and search for my three MITs (most important tasks). When I have chosen them, I rewrite them on a new paper and get to work focusing on those three tasks. Everything else can wait until tomorrow.

And they can.

  1. #1 by angela galeone on January 13, 2016 - 12:26 am

    Very funny Damien and so true for so many people

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