My to-do list makes me cringe. It seems like checking one thing off creates two more; perhaps I should file a bug report with Wunderlist. As much as I'd love to blame it on buggy software, that's simply not true. Fact is, I keep myself busy. Perhaps too busy. I can't always get to the things I'd like to do because of all the things I have to do. Beanstalk is a perfect example of such things.
I didn't get to work on it this week. At all. Not even a little bit. Topping off my week of four classes, three jobs, a club meeting and homework was the career fair. RIT's massive gathering of hundreds companies piling into the Gordon Field House for what ultimately becomes a free for all of job hunting. After waiting no less than 30 minutes in line (and I was there early - I was one of the lucky ones), I spent an hour walking around to talk to only 4 companies. Then I had to leave for class.
The career fair was only a 2 hour addition to my week, but it threw me off my game a little. It was the small wrench in my full schedule that led to a less than perfectly productive week. And though this left me with no progress on Beanstalk, I think that's perfectly okay.
Side projects are important to me. You know, having them. But making fast progress on them isn't always so important to me. At the end of the day, some things take precedence. Given that neither of my major side projects - Beanstalk or Shitty iPhone Apps - are the next Facebook, plenty of other things are more important. No matter how much I'd like to work on them both, there's simply not enough time in a week. Despite fully recognizing this, it's difficult to not feel guilty about not making progress. It's hard to not view them as an obligation. I started them because I wanted to, after all.
For years now I've been caught between two philosophies when it comes to getting work done: managing time (building routines and schedules) and managing energy (getting things done when I feel like it). In general I've stuck to the latter. I get things done when I feel like it, and lounge around when I don't. Deadlines push me to get things done when I don't feel like it, of course, but if I don't feel like getting work done, I don't try too hard. And I firmly believe the refusal to take this approach is why many college students burn out. Indeed, disengaging can make you more productive. And this has worked well for me, clearly. I couldn't be a good student working three jobs founding a club if it didn't.
I've never wanted to be one of those people who has to schedule literally everything through college. You know those people. The ones who can't get lunch with you at noon because 11:06-12:44 is homework time, but they can see you from 3:39-4:17 on Friday because that's socializing time... Such rigidity in a schedule has always seemed too scripted to me. But whenever I fail to meet a goal I set on a side project, I end up rethinking my philosophy on the matter. Would it really be so bad to block out an hour or two at set times to work on side projects and stick to it? I still don't have an appropriate answer.