Staying on top of of it all

I ran into a campus friend in the cafe while I was picking up lunch, and we commiserated about the state of our workloads at this point in the year. I said, “I spent my morning dealing with the minutia of running two libraries and having 20 staff who need things, and I have this sense that there are about 15 relatively easy emails I need to send, and all I need is 90 minutes to do that in. But after lunch I have two student appointments, and then I have to go get Gwyneth from daycare because her father has a doctor’s appointment, then when he comes home I’m back to campus for the Presidential Scholar’s dinner… so maybe I’ll have 90 minutes tomorrow?” She understood. We all understand. Yesterday’s to-do list becomes tomorrow’s, and tomorrow’s becomes next week’s, and then suddenly it’s January.

But I’m not giving up. I’m teetering on top of a pile of disorganized to-do items — 32 emails in my inbox that require action (I am staying on top of those, if nothing else), six discrete piles on my desk, a construction project ongoing, two big “don’t screw this up, okay?” campus projects that I’m contributing to and/or leading, and the endless minutia of running two libraries and having 20 staff who, quite reasonably, need things. I’m tired of teetering. I’m tired of thinking I’m probably forgetting something. I’m tired of knowing I’m forgetting something.

So yesterday, on a whim because a friend was offering out codes for free upgrades, I started using Trello. This isn’t the first time I’ve thought that some piece of software was going to solve all my problems… and it probably won’t be the last. But for right now? I’m in love. I’m actually choosing to take the time — time I pretty much don’t have — to set this thing up well, because I think it might really be that useful for me. I have Boards for all my major responsibilities. I have Lists in each Board that represent the major areas of work for each responsibility. I have cards in each list that represent discrete projects or work. And I have checklists on cards so that I can plan, do, and record each step of each task. And I can set due dates. And all of it is accessible as a subscribed calendar, and via an app on my phone, so the tasks get ported in every day to the place I’m most likely to see them and add them.

I think in hierarchies. I think in groupings. I think in categories. I think on the fly, all over the place. And Trello lets me organize my work that way.

And just maybe I’ll feel a little more stable as I perch on top of it all.


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