Tasks and tiredness

Tired, today.

As in, ask Kendra if I can have 10 minutes to have a nap at 4:10 pm type of tired. (It’s amazing how refreshing/inspiring that can be.)

Still, tomorrow at 4:45 am I’ll be up to start a 2-day trip to Vancouver to help facilitate a design sprint. Which means tonight, I don’t have a lot of energy or time for #CreatingDaily. And still, I will.

Here’s what I want to share.

I recently created a system on my wall for sorting through tasks. But it’s not the system I want to tell you about, it’s three shifts in my thinking about tasks.

There’s a category I have called “How long will it take?” I use it to help estimate the time needed for any given job. After the standard intervals (2 mins, 30 mins, 1 hour, 1 hour+)  comes a new post-it, with these options:

  • A day, a week, a month
  • A year
  • Many years
  • A career’s time
  • A lifetime
  • A generation
  • An age

It’s my reminder that some things are worth pursuing even if they can’t fit into a workslot.

Next, there’s an area called “What type of work?,” which is meant to help me figure out the mode or zone of focus I need for the  tasks. After some common ones (like admin, performing/recording, writing, workshopping) there’s a new one: Empowering. It has a sketched icon of me handing a bag of money to a woman.

It’s my reminder that work isn’t always about me personally demonstrating competence in a task, or personally competing for success. It can be about giving away the power and authority and opportunity to other people. A conventional word might be “delegating,” but I chose a word that suggests it’s about granting a chance to someone from whom I might otherwise, obliviously, keep the work from.

Lastly, there’s a section called “When will it happen?” After the typical options like “Today, This Week, Next 4 weeks,” there’s one that says “Don’t.” It’s a reminder that not every task that comes my way is worth doing. Something things just need to be stopped, because they don’t bring value, or align with my vision. It’s a reminder to check the purpose of what I’m up to.

Beside all these notes on the wall, is my own personal vision statement for the year, to help me filter.

I’d share the rest of the system, or how it actually works, if you were interested, but the main things I want to share are:

  • Sometimes a vision takes a long, long time
  • Sometimes doing the work looks like empowering other people
  • Sometimes we need to simply not do a thing, in order to get on with what we’re here to do