What My Version of “Busy” Looks Like

One of my kids whacks me on the head with something or I hear the two of them yelling at each other. Wife rolls over and asks me to make some coffee. I’m awake.

Grab iPhone on the way to the kitchen, gently pat warring children on their respective heads as I lumber oafishly toward the kitchen. Put kettle on and read through email. Delete notifications of whatever sales happened while I was asleep and skim the rest of the email, deleting as many as I can. Water boils and coffee is made.

Quick breakfast with the family (or at my desk, depending on just how crazy shit is on that particular day), then off to my desk. Read work-related email, adding tasks to OmniFocus as necessary. Finish processing personal email but leave a couple of vague messages in the inbox because I’m an incredibly masochistic person.

Open main OmniFocus window. Realize that I haven’t done any meaningful review of this crap in at least three weeks. Vow to do (or, at least, start) meaningful review during lunch time that day. Pick out 3-5 non-stale tasks and flag them in OmniFocus (indicating that they are today’s designated work in addition to anything else that crops up throughout the day).

Click over to Vim and spend a few minutes figuring out what type of expensive narcotic I was partaking in when I wrote the crap on my screen. Delete several sentences and start rewriting. Get annoyed with how bad I am at writing and go make myself a cup of coffee.

Return from getting coffee. Decide to shelve the awful article I was working on in favor of my flagged list. Knock out two items in short order, feel slightly victorious. Arrive at poorly-defined third task and begin wondering how long it will be before my employer discovers that I’m an imbecile. Skip to fourth task.

Complete fourth task right before lunch. Ask wife what’s for lunch, eat what she brings me while attempting to inject a little sanity into OmniFocus. Get frustrated and swear that I’ll attack this like a frickin’ mama bear after the kids are asleep that night. Read Twitter for 48 minutes.

Spend the rest of the afternoon banging my head against one of the following:

  • The poorly or entirely undocumented API that I’m trying feebly to program against.
  • The totally straightforward concept that I’m trying to describe but cannot because, it seems, I’ve forgotten English.

Knock off work for the day having made some progress, but less than I would have liked. Walk out into kitchen and get a brief rundown of the day’s family happenings from my long-suffering bride. Read and play with my kids for a little while until dinner time.

We all finish dinner, kids get cleaned up and ready for bed. We say our prayers, wife reads them bedtime stories and I head back to the office.

Switch to my personal computer, open OmniFocus. Choke back tears of frustration and pour two fingers of bourbon. Spend the next 45 minutes rearranging tasks that are 3 months old that I no longer want or need to do. Scan a basketful of papers into Evernote, adding more tasks to OmniFocus in the process.

Consider writing a blog post. Write three paragraphs that would make a kindergarten teacher cringe. Delete it. Read Twitter some more.

Remember that I’ve got a new version of an ebook to finish for which many, many people have been patiently. Decide that the next night would be all about cranking through the ebook update. Dink around in OmniFocus some more, pretending that I’m doing anything productive.

Knock out a small number of minuscule personal tasks. Find a small amount of solace that, no matter what, I got that DVD ripped as planned. Take my iPad to the couch and watch an episode of The Sopranos, read a couple of articles in Instapaper then go to bed.


Forgive me this post - I know it sounds like I’m throwing a gigantic pity party and inviting all of you, but a good number of my days feel exactly like this. I’m trying to figure out what it’s going to take to find some relief here, but it’s difficult. I have no misconceptions about who’s at fault here - either I took on more responsibility than I could handle or I’m not making the best use of my time. Point is, it’s my deal and I need to sort it out.

Thanks for indulging me. Truth be told, venting like this every so often really helps.

Homework: If you’re feeling overwhelmed, busy or stressed, I invite you to describe it for me and post a link here. I hope it helps you.

Photo by camknows


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