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Monday Series: A Story About Patterns


Alright.

So this pattern we thought we identified last week; turns out it's 100% accurate. It goes like this:

Monday - LET'S DO THIS. Make thousands of lists. Aggressively finish things. Work late into the evening fueled by inspiration and momentum.

Tuesday - Definitely more tired. Monday's storm of productivity has ebbed. I feel less productive but in reality this is probably more normal than what happens on Mondays.

Wednesday - Wildcard, depending on how Tuesday goes. If I generate some good momentum on Tuesday, then it might carry through. Other times, I start getting tired and a little burnt out.

Thursday - Total garbage fire. Usually exhausted. I almost always have a thousand work meetings on this day. By the time the evening rolls around, I am not interested in doing annnyyything and I generally feel guilty about it.

Friday - Depending on how hot Thursday's trash fire burned, Friday is either a stress hangover or a slight recovery. I look back at my aggressive lists from Monday and feel like an idiot for not finishing them.

Well now we know, I guess.

An Experiment

Last week, for reasons unrelated to the pattern above, I only made one list—for everything. Usually this is a repetitive daily activity; but since "Monday's" list was so aggressive, I figured I'd just keep adding things I wanted to accomplish throughout the week. I kept crossing things off from there as the days went on.

PROS: 

  • I set clear boundaries for myself. Sure, things were added to it as the week went by but it was pretty much confined to one page. So the result, I believe, is that I finally committed to fewer things.
  • I crossed things off in different colored pens for different days so I was able to compare my productivity from day to day; which forced me to realize that the late-in-the-week productivity lags aren't actually as laggy as I thought. I generally get just as much done, I'm just more of a grump about it and things tend to get done in categories. For instance, by the time Thursday or Friday rolls around, I'm generally making lots of progress against 1 or 2 projects instead of medium progress against the whole breadth of in-flight stuff. This makes me feel unproductive because it means that on those days I don't touch other things. But the net result is equal productivity with more of a singular focus. Interesting.
  • It's probably easier to see which things I'm avoiding on a week-by-week basis instead of a day-by-day basis. Those avoidance tasks kind of sneak up on you when you're adding them every day. When you look at it and go, "yeah, I didn't touch that thing at ALL last week," it's a different story.
  • Less time spent writing lists and more time spent doing shit.
CONS
  • I really like making lists. I am stealing this joy from myself, haha. I still couple the weekly list with my productivity journaling practice (which I can get into in a later post) but I kind of miss the ritual of organizing and listing out my tasks each day.
  • Because I do so much aforementioned journaling throughout the week, the weekly to do list gets buried, so I need to get a bookmark or sticky note in there for easy access... it's not a huge deal, but the mental interruption that resulted from having to rifle back through the pages to find it was noticeable.

TL;DR - the pros list outweighs the cons list. So we'll keep moving with this.

In some ways, I think the reduction of items resulting from that new method actually helped me power through the late-week meltdown. The trajectory of the week was a lot clearer to me from the start so I already kind of knew what to expect when Thursday rolled around. I certainly still felt the pattern play out but the negative impact of the Thursday Scaries was reduced, for what it's worth. After this post, I'm going to be writing this week's list. I'd like to try to plan the week with this pattern in mind and see what comes out of it.

A Quick Status Update

1. Crooked and Beautiful website and ecosystem - Alllllmost done. In fact, it might even be "done for now." I'll check in on a few last items and make that call for real. I have several things I'd like to do to improve upon but those might be able to wait.

2. Monique Cucchi website - on deck. If I determine that the above is "good for now," then I'll move on to this. There is a lot of weird overlap between the two sites that I'd like to clean up.

3. Art Practice - This one has dropped off. I set it down to focus on #1 for a bit but I think it might be time to pick it back up again and attempt to find some flow here. Hopefully I have something to report on this front next week.


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