There are things that I should do in the medium term, but when they happen in particular isn’t important.

There are things that I would like to accomplish in the medium term, that are too large to take on in one uninterrupted chunk of time.

There are things that I would like to make regular habits of.

There are also things that I enjoy doing, when there’s time.

These things all compete for finite hours in the day. Even more finite, when you discount work, meals, and other things that are not subject to procrastination.

This is a challenge to figure out. Particularly because there are multiple areas where I want to continue progressing towards larger goals, without setting an area or goal aside entirely.

A novel where I just completed a draft (yay!), but there are revisions to make, before I figure out who should see it next (boo!). Plus a backlog of short stories to revise as well.

Lots of societal problems, and often multiple approaches to taking action on them. For instance, climate change needs to be addressed systemically, where effecting change through government is a long, uncertain process. There are also things I could do individually–donating to or volunteering with tree-planting initiatives. Helping with land-banking programs, or even buying and managing a piece of conservation land myself.

Songs to practice for playing with the band, and a solo album that I’ve started.

Things to try out in technology–new languages, new frameworks, ideas for apps to mock up. Sometimes these intersect with other priorities.

Plenty to do around the house: getting a solar assessment, an energy efficiency assessment, getting attic insulation, getting insulated windows installed–these count as “social good” goals to some extent as well.

Lately I’ve been in a job search cycle, which has largely preempted my usual careful balance of priorities. Now I’m trying to get back into some sort of rhythm.

A Solution?

I put up a physical whiteboard. Sure you can write to-do lists digitally, and to-do list apps. I sometimes do, as a way to at least get them out of my head, where they make a distracting rattling noise. But if you want a to-do list that’s going to stick around, and not get lost or ignored when Netflix or Overwatch are right there, I think something physical helps.

Most of my tasks to be done can or must be done from home, and while COVID has limited how much time I spend out anywhere, the limitation of location hasn’t been a problem. I can always take a picture of it before I go out.

I have the whiteboard divided up into sections, with my next to-do’s for each area. Things like “exercise” and “reading” are on there, just to remind me to do them periodically, and to give myself permission to. It’s not like having a strict manager looking over my shoulder and telling me what to spend every hour on. It’s more of a menu to pick from.

It might be too soon to tell, whether this will be a good system for me. I suspect that achieving balance might involve tracking some metadata of which section I’m pulling from more often.