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what a to-do

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what a to-do

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I'm tired, but I'm wide awake.

Maybe it's the cold; well, no, it's not, though it is a factor.

I feel a strangeness inside my head. I know just what is causing it, too.

My to do list runneth over. There are so many things of varying importance and difficulty that need doing that nothing but a monumental effort makes a noticeable dent. I've reached that level for a few moments at a time in the last few months, but for the most part I'm only removing things from the list at about the same rate as I'm adding them - I'm treading water, which feels effortless in the short term but can't be sustained forever.

It's not a bad feeling; in fact, in a way it feels really good. I have a lot going on and have a basic sense of what needs to be done and when and how - that's a lot better than drifting aimlessly (I should know, I've done that at times). There are still more things that are only on my mental list, but the more of them that get written down the less soupy things feel.

The real problem with treading water is that it takes so many resources:

  • It eats my attention - it's a lot harder to focus on things that are outside the path. It doesn't help that for most of my life I've seldom had a jammed planner for longer than a day or so; I'm not practiced at managing it for weeks at a time.

  • It saps my stability - it's easy to keep things level when you're on the path of least resistance; once you start making plans and following through with them, each one of them requires oversight and guidance, and eventually your pool of calm has trickled into enough creeks that there's not enough water in the pond to put out any fiery meteors that might strike. Once a certain amount of momentum has built up, it takes very little going wrong to screw up my rhythm. Emotional monkeywrenches are the most efficient at fouling those gears.

  • It takes my time - even with multitasking, there's only so much time. With my attention already divided, the free time I do have flows away far too easily. My time frittering is far below peak efficiency.

  • It fills my head - I do a lot of my thinking in the spaces between other things. When the tasks start coming heavy and hard enough, that interstitial time gets squeezed into almost nothing. A lot of the precious minutes I do have to spend freely go to thinking about the things I'd be doing if I was working on my task list. I still get some "pure" (read "sound and fury, signifying nothing" or better yet, "not about errands or chores") thought in, but it's not nearly as much.

    I haven't been able to think the way I usually do; as OFTEN as I usually do. My mind is covered in mundanity. I want to clear it off but I can't quite do it, so it's not really much use to me. I can feel the difference like it's physical and hell, maybe it is.

    I feel some relief now just from writing about all of it; missing writing in LJ has been part of the strangeness.

    This weekend I will try to accomplish what I set out to do, and also bum around efficiently, briskly and with great vigor. Wish me luck!

    At least now I'm sleepy, to the point where some of the words I've written tonight don't even make sense anymore as I reread. So, back to bed to try to sleep again - after I warm up, of course.
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