Paralysis planned away

Over the past week or more I’ve been experiencing an accumulation of guilt/negativity/self dislike. This accumulation peaked last night and this morning when it all spilled out in a conversation with Howard. The central theme of my rant was that I’m a bad person because I have this whole list of important things which simply aren’t getting done. Howard, wise man that he is, listened and hugged and nodded. Then when I’d wound down a little he asked: “So is this list written down?”

No. It isn’t. Bits of it are written in random places, but mostly I’ve been trying to task manage in my head. On a great day I can keep track of 10 or 20 objectives for the day in my head. But most days are just ordinary. On ordinary days I can keep track of 4-6 objectives, on bad days I can only track 1or 2 things. Everything below those top objectives completely falls out of my head until I have an external reminder. This means that important tasks get forgotten until they are critical or overdue. The key here is the external reminder. I need to write this stuff down so that I can check the list. In past times I have used a planner for this. Last year when money was so tight I decided not to buy more pages for it. It wasn’t a problem last year because the pace of life around here was much slower. I didn’t have as many variables to keep track of. That is not the case this Fall, and I have been slowly going crazy trying to keep all this stuff in my head.

Today Howard went and bought me pages for my old planner. I sat down and started all the repetitive writing necessary to set up a paper planner. I don’t like having to write “laundry” on every Tuesday and Friday page, but having the word there is an important trigger to make sure that it gets done. As I wrote I kept remembering small tasks that I want to have done. I wrote them all in a list. As the list got longer I felt calmer and calmer inside my head. All those tasks have been floating in the back of my brain yammering at me to do them. I couldn’t let them go or they would never get done. But once I write them, I can really let them go because I can always check the list to find out what they are.

Having a planner will not solve my problems. But it does let me sort them logically. For the first time in days, my head feels clear and I don’t feel paralyzed by the sheer weight of how many things need done.