“Do One Times Six,” & Getting Stuff Done

This is probably a record for “longest hiatus” on any of the blogs that I’ve managed, and I’m afraid that I don’t have a tremendous amount of stuff to show for it. Rather than bother with a “Many, many months in review” section where I discuss in detail where I’ve fallen short, let’s get going with something that might be halfway useful for someone. 

Back in January, I recognized that a problem with working on various tasks on a consistent basis. Instead, I was more likely to work on one thing, realize that something else was falling behind and throw all my energies behind that, then move to a third thing and concentrate entirely on it again.

My solution was a system that I called Do One Times Six, where I sorted my various tasks and projects into six basic categories and, each day, figured out something that I could do in each of those categories. Results were mixed, to say the least, but it was reasonably successful and I think it’s fair to say that much of the failures that I encountered were less the fault of the system than of the fact that I was, ah, homeless.

If this sounds like your cup of tea then you’ll want to come up with your own categories (which may even total more or less than six), but in my case they were:

  1. Miscellaneous maintenance: The little things like “answering emails” or “cleaning out folders on my computer” which don’t fit anywhere else but help to grease the wheels.
  2. Reading: Nonfiction, usually books or scholarly articles.
  3. Work – Money: Tasks, like studying Ruby or applying for jobs on Upwork, which might make money for me, now or in the future.
  4. Work – School: Tasks related to eventually, at some point, maybe, hopefully, graduating.
  5. Writing – Prep: I want to write on a consistent basis, but I would frequently finish a story and then find that I didn’t have any other stories ready to be written, putting a stop to my writing for a few days or a couple of weeks until I got something prepared. Doing a little bit each day on preparation was intended to alleviate this.
  6. Writing – Words: I need to write. This is where I’d decide what to write.

I’ve had a few difficulties with this while trying to get back on the horse, but I’m going to stick with it for at least September and October, with the difference that I’ll be planning things out a week in advance rather than from day to day.

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