Monthly Archives: October 2016

Lessons from an Impossibly Busy Month

There’s a reason I haven’t posted in over a month.  September was a hellishly busy.  I got to do some great things, spent time with great people, and work on some very cool projects, but  still.  I was the busiest I’ve been since I was working on getting tenure.  I was in transit or out of town for half of the month and felt perpetually frazzled and behind.  But ever one to try to learn from my mistakes, I offer here some lessons from that impossibly busy month.

  • I need a better system of task and deadline management.  It’s not that I don’t have a to-do list, it’s that I have too many to-do lists, scribbled on multiple scraps of paper and scattered across multiple locations.  And then there are the calendars.  Like the lists, I have too many of them.  I am seriously thinking about merging my calendar and to-do lists into a paper system and am very intrigued by the idea of an Everything Notebook.  My old systems of organization have been outstripped by a more complex schedule and life.  Time to create some new systems for workflow–I’ve got some ideas and will write on this in a future post.  And, please, if you have ideas or strategies, please share them in the comments section below.


  • The timer is my friend.  I’ve written before about jump starting a hard task or shaking off procrastination by setting a timer for 15-20 minutes to force yourself to do something.  In a busy month, setting a timer allowed me to chip away at tasks that otherwise would have seemed insurmountably overwhelming in the fog of my general busy-ness.
  • Even when ridiculously busy, it is possible to keep some larger goals on track.  I almost abandoned the prospect of running my first half-marathon because I thought I was too busy to keep training amidst the busy travel schedule.  But I stuck it out.  And guess what?  Last Sunday I finished my first half-marathon (I’ll resist the temptation to show you a picture of my finisher’s medal).  So don’t give up on goals or projects or tasks that are important to you even when a crazy schedule might tempt you into doing so.