Here's where I am:
- Teaching 7 classes, one of which is being redesigned. This only equates to 10 hours of classroom time, which sure doesn't sound like much. The rest is online.
- Trying to keep my grading backlog to about a week. I'm currently at about 1.5 weeks but catching up.
- Getting through various health and home issues, including my ongoing retina problems which can make reading and computer use difficult. (Oddly, driving is unaffected, but faces can be hard to recognize at its worst.)
- Trying to concentrate on my dissertation, which is getting increasingly difficult due to some home/health issues.
Now that I'm healed from minor surgery on my back, various cuts from attempts to repair various home appliances and a near-electrocution, it's time to get serious. And when thinking about it, I'm both amazed and disgusted at the ability of the volumes of aggravations, hassles, and tedious tasks that enter our everyday lives to derail our plans and even the goals we build our lives around.
In lecture today while showing the Mother of All Demos for my 8 am class, I think again about tasks, and the fact that most of what we do all day is just make lists, sort them, and try to find ways to group them together to work on them more efficiently. Whether it's at work or at home, it's just like doing laundry: sorting them into piles, and when there's enough to fill a load of laundry, throw them into the washer, then the dryer, then fold, then put away.
Getting out of the deadlock means disentangling these tasks, sorting, sequencing, negotiating, and waiting in turn until it's all resolved. Deadlocks start because there are more inbound tasks than outbound ones. They compete for inadequate resources. They accumulate. And they don't go away quickly without outside coordination.
I think in my task management system, it's not about keeping track of what needs to be done, but also keeping track of what's piling up- trends into the future. That's not the information storage/retrieval model of PIM, that's monitoring and making predictions. Deadlocks are avoided by creating and enforcing rules externally. You separate turning traffic from through traffic. You don't "block the box," and so on.
What are the traffic rules for life?