Deciding What to Do


There is one thing that is worse than having nothing to do: having a ton you can do but then deluding yourself into doing none of it by telling yourself that you’re bored. I find myself in that rut on the weekends, and even more so now that it’s the summer, even with my 9 to 5. Here are some of the ways I try to keep myself together.

Figuring Out What I Must Do

There are a few things I usually need to do in a day no question: * self-care like showering, brushing my teeth, and eating * attending scheduled events such as school, work, and meetings * stuff with a due date of today or tomorrow

Ideally, I want to do all of these tasks or else I’ll fall apart along with the good will I’ve built up in my social circles.

On Due Dates

Due dates exist in a quantum superposition of rocking and sucking. When they work, they are a powerful guiding force for getting stuff done. When they don’t work, they just create stress and late-night cram sessions. I usually try to get far in front of deadlines for stuff like homework so I can just not think about it anymore, but that doesn’t work too well for things with due dates that need to be worked on regularly.

I recently watched a productivity video which brings up the philosophy of eating the frog: do the thing which feels unpleasant or hard first, ideally as early as possible or else it will turn into a roadblock for your other responsibilites. It’s a philosophy which sounds like it would work well for writing in June, but would be challenging to implement since I don’t have full control over my schedule due to work. I’ll keep it in my head.

Tracking TODOs

There’s two ways of keeping track of things one needs to do: writing it down or remembering it. I suck at the latter, so I do the former a ton.

School and Kanban

For school, I’ve used a planner for quite a while. It was a physical notebook for years, but I’ve now migrated to Trello after trying to make Google Keep work for a while and it just not working. I’m pretty sure I’m not making full use of the power of a Kanban board, but Trello locks a bunch of neat features like assigning due dates to checklist items behind paywalls, so I just make it work. Luckily, they do let you sync due Perhaps what I needdates with Google Calendar, which rocks.

For the inclined, my categories look like this: * Homeworks: and other short-term items * Projects * Events: long-term items that don’t fit into the project box like tests and trips * Tasks: small items like sending an email and future ambitions like reading an article * Doing: marks in-progress items, usually from Homework and Tasks * Done: items in this category are automatically archived and set to "Completeted" * Resources: documents like "pre-exam coping strategies" and "list of college application portals" go here

Promising Projects and Google Keep

I use Google Keep to store theory crafting for promising projects and occasionally short-term items. I do wish that Google Keep supported hierarhical tagging, but oh, well. I plan to move to Org Mode one day so that I can have more control over my notes.

Emailing Oneself

I use Gmail’s star feature to keep track of things I want to do in my inbox. This is especially useful if I find something interesting on a secondary computer like my school laptop; I’ll transmit the knowledge to myself with an email. Stuff shouldn’t stay in here forever though, else it gets very messy.


Google Calendar helps me keep track of meetings and stuff I should be expecting like college results or a debit card being mailed to me. I also have autogenerated calendars for staying on top of stuff like free games or anime coming out.

Wow, This Needs a Part 2

Each of these headings in a sense need their own article, and there’s a bunch of stuff which I haven’t gotten to discuss, like balancing entertainment and enrichment, using GitHub issues instead of TODO comments, RSS feeds and newsletters.

I think a deep discussion of how I do work and how I decide what to do is crucial, especially as I transition to a very challenging college. One thing that is clear to me is that there isn’t one place for me to decide what to do with my time; that likely feeds into my indecision and forgetfulness. The world everyday yells at me to finally learn Emacs and Org, and one day I will have to listen. :/