Getting Daily Business Out of the Way [en]

[fr] Je ressens généralement le besoin d'être à jour avec les "affaires courantes" avant d'attaquer le travail "proprement dit", comme lorsque j'avais besoin de ranger ma chambre ou mon appart avant de commencer à étudier pour mes examens, lorsque j'étais étudiante. Je ne suis pas sûre si c'est une bonne ou une mauvaise chose.

Over the last months, I’ve noticed how important it is for me to keep more or less up-to-date with daily business before dealing with “proper work”. Like when I was a student, and I needed to clean the flat before getting to work on my exams.

Non-done daily business floats about in your brain and distracts you. It’s the stuff you might forget to add to your next action lists because you do them pretty regularly all the time, like checking e-mail, responding to the easy ones, writing down expenses, keeping your desk clean, getting back to people who leave voicemail, writing a blog post.

This is the stuff that I’ve got in the habit of dealing with pretty much as soon as it comes in.

Maybe it should go on my lists too (in pure GTD terms, it should probably).

I’m not sure if this is a good or a bad thing.

It is linked, in a way I don’t quite grasp yet, to what I’m going to talk about in the next post of my procrastination series: getting into the habit of doing certain things immediately.

3 thoughts on “Getting Daily Business Out of the Way [en]

  1. Dealing with daily business puts me into immediate conflict though. On the one hand, yes, getting that stuff out the way does clear my head and allow me to concentrate more effectively. On the other hand, it often grows as you do it and can take up entire days that should have been dedicated to doing something else.

    This ever-expanding administrivia To Do list has been a problem for me since getting back from my Christmas holidays, actually. I have had so many little tasks, many of them time-sensitive, to do that they have frequently taken over my day, leaving the big, important and slightly-scary tasks to lurk behind the sofa, growling at me.

    It’s all in the balance. Which is easier said than done.

  2. I think there is also an element of what we’d call “hygiène” in French: the need to do things regularly for the system to work. For example, cleaning my flat in about an hour per week works because I do it every week. Doing the dishes immediately works because the sink was empty to start with, and I can’t have dirtied so many dishes in the last 30 minutes that I can’t just deal with them now, quickly, before doing something else.

    I think it’s the same with daily business. If you have a pile of daily business because you have been neglecting it for two weeks, then it grows and indeed (like it happened to me after the winter break) you can spend days working on it before it’s back to normal. But if you do indeed deal with daily business more or less daily, then surely there can’t be that much to deal with at any given time. Maybe the key is in understanding how much of a backlog of daily business we are dealing with.

    You’re right to say that it’s in the balance. I wonder about that a lot when I look at how I deal with e-mail. I deal with most of my e-mail as soon as it comes in. Read, archive. Read, quick reply, archive. Sometimes it sits in my inbox a few hours (or days) because it needs a bit more brain power to be dealt with. The pile in the inbox slowly grows, though, until I have to actively take time to “deal with e-mail”, or export some of the mails that are threatening to die at the bottom of my inbox into my “proper” task list in Evernote. And there is a question of balance here, between checking my mail often and dealing with it right away (a bad strategy as most people will tell you) and delaying responses (for some mails) to when I have time to do it.

    I think I need to think (!) and write more about how I deal with my e-mails — because it’s been working really well for me for quite some time now, and I suspect there’s a key there that I can use for other things.

  3. I have a morning routine that, if disturbed, makes me unorganized and inefficient for the rest of the day. I need to check my e-mails, check stats, read comments on my websites, and other unimportant stuff, and then I’m on board to work.

    Then, I deal with little things as they arrive (label them “do” in gmail, or archive if unimportant), and I think it helps me alleviate the complexity of some work I do (for example, it helps to take a little break from reading scientific articles about autism, so that my brain feels more relaxed and more available when I return to learn).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *