🌸 Emily’s tasks journal

In the absence of status updates, here’s a C problem instead.

I have tasks that are necessary “for a specific project”. I can write them down and forget about them until I actually feel like doing the project.

I also have tasks that have to be done “today”, like laundry. Sure. They go in the “today” section of a todo app.

But what should I do with tasks like “watch a video that a friend sent me”?


For me, the only way they get their chance is to hold them in a separate list (“soon”, mine is called), and every few days (I do it every Sunday and Wednesday), pick one or two off that list and add them to the day’s to-dos for one of the next 0 to 3 days. It’s a meta-system thing that works for me.


I created a list called “Instead of distractions” in Things, containing things like “watch a video that a friend sent me”, “figure out where to put [something that has been lying around for a long while]”, etc. We’ll see if it works.

Regularly picking tasks from that list should be better, but not yet.


regular reflection on work tasks progress

I have realized that I constantly feel like “I see problems with how I approach work, but I don’t fix them” and then I immediately forget about this.

So, this section will be about

  • fixing

    • the problem

      • of not doing regular reflection on work tasks progress

For example, a step I took today towards fixing the problem of not doing regular reflection on work tasks progress is a) this post and b) I put a pen and a small notebook into my pocket.


doing regular reflection on work tasks

The notebook idea is working really well so far. I don’t even need a reminder to write in the small notebook, I just feel better when writing there so I do it automatically.

Reflection topics can include things like “I see X as a problem” or “I would like to start doing Y perhaps”. Some of the notes I wrote there already led to extra actions, which is neat.


The problem of “I don’t prioritize important things” is still unsolved.

Taking a short vacation helped. I still have 30 vacation days left so I could be doing it more often. Although smth like “three days every month” already exhausts the vacation days ಠ_ಠ

I coworked in a conference room in the office today and it was neat. Better than working in an open space all the time.


doing regular reflection on work tasks

I have to remind myself that this section is about the progress on regular-ing the reflection, not reflection itself.

I am still writing into the tiny “Reflection” notebook at work.

I also created a meeting for myself in the work calendar — I don’t know if it would work though. Maybe it would work on the days I’m the office, but I foresee I would have trouble on the other days.


I’m still sleepy a lot. No motivation on the weekends or when I don’t have people around. I’ll ask about switching from Strattera to Ritalin? Idk.

Blocking distracting apps has helped with sleep a bit, I think. Not so much with doing tasks.

I feel slightly burned out at work still, and booking another day off should help.

I’d also like to have a day when I’m working but not reachable. We don’t have precedent for that, but I think it would be a good idea. Made a Things project for that.

Booked two more coworking days for the next week.

I wonder / suspect whether wanting to sleep, get distracted, spend half an hour in the shower, etc means there’s an underlying issue to address and not simply “I got lazy about forcing myself”. Probably?


doing regular etc

The calendar event partly worked. I mean, it fully worked, but I started at 4:50 instead of 4:45. Anyway. Made a todo to create another event for Wednesday.

I also want to do regular reflection on how documentation is going, but rn I’m tired.


Work is improved by getting up earlier. I think I broke the cycle of [bad sleep] by smoking three cigs two days ago? Like, generally it sometimes happens that I get too much in my head and life seems like a struggle — then I smoke or get drunk — the next day I feel meh physically but I clean my flat, etc, and have better days afterwards.


doing regular etc

Didn’t do any reflection today b/c partly sleep deprived and partly because the day was busy. Didn’t need the reflection notebook to find things to work on, or to get myself to work.

I guess reflection isn’t necessary all the time? Only when things are not going well. Or sometimes just in case things could be going better.


I formulated today that “a senior developer might be doing things this way or that way but they don’t keep doubting themselves / changing direction all the time”. I think when working on some tasks I can’t devise a solution / commit to a solution that would be “good enough”. Remembering that “essentially almost anything is workable” would help.


regular etc

Yesterday I started doing reflection, but it got thwarted by a board games session.

I don’t always write when I recognize an issue (eg. “There is apparently a task that I don’t want to do”). Sometimes I just feel vaguely “eh” and do other stuff instead.


Continuing the previous thought — generally it’s a common occurrence that I feel bad about having tasks that I keep not doing.

Perhaps I should recognize that the existence of these tasks affects me mentally, and this could be in itself motivation to do them.

I remember the advice to schedule time for these icky tasks, but I think I don’t have enough self-control / energy to do them even if I schedule time for them.

Anxiety could be an additional obstacle here.

Or burnout. I have scheduled another vacation day and should schedule at least one or two more, I think.


Hey Emily, here’s something I’ve discovered by accident, which feels like the sweet spot in motivating me. When I think of a task I think it’d be good to do (eg, I’m dusting and I see that the kitchen cabinet doors are grungy) then I add the task to my to-do app – Apple’s Reminders, in my case: eg, “wipe down kitchen cabinet doors”. I give it a date, just so it will show up in my Today view, which I look at every morning before I create my actual task list for the day in my “real” to-do app (Intend). There’s no pressure to do it today; it’s just there in Reminders as a, well, reminder that I thought it would be good to do.

What I find is that the longer a no-pressure thing sits on that list, the more motivated I get to cross it off. It doesn’t feel like pressure, because I didn’t put it there as a have-to-do, just a good-idea-I-had. The feeling is just increasing motivation. At some point, the motivation is strong enough that I want to do it today, and I add it to my actual to-do list, and feel great about getting to cross it off.

(The “discovered by accident” part is that I used to do this same thing but putting it on Reminders as a “have-to” which felt stressful and eventually I felt both overwhelmed by crap I “had to” do AND like a lazy failure because I still didn’t do it, day after day after day. Then I had an epiphany which is that I could TOTALLY just capture good ideas with no pressure to actually do them, and deliberately decide down the road whether to do them on a particular day. So I split out my apps, so Reminders could just be “capture ideas” with no “have to do” pressure, and a different app (back then it was Things, now it’s Intend) would be where actually committing got done. After I set it up this way, I discovered that just having things on a captured-ideas list gradually built motivation for doing them. Win!)


regular etc

Not much reflection recently. I think it’s because I got better at doing tasks without reflection. This said, I still do it sometimes.

I just made a task to schedule another reflection session in the work calendar.


80mg Strattera works significantly better than 40mg and I think also better than 60mg.

I scheduled a day with email/teams off and I hope I’ll get some small work tasks done that day that I’ve been postponing for months.

It’s been tricky this week to get myself to come to the office; yet working at home is also meh. The new coffee place nearby doesn’t have Wi-Fi yet. The people I was coworking with are both on leave this week. I made a reminder to ask them when they’re back.

SPRING HAS BEGUN. Good. I was surprised to learn that almost the entire world uses astronomical seasons and only Russia, Belarus, possibly Ukraine, Australia, Pakistan and something else are exceptions. Fine :hocho:

Anxiety is diminishing imo. And I can handle it better.

Opal and one sec are working well. When Discord is blocked, I don’t go there. When Discord is not blocked, I go there. Strong correlation.


I tried it several times, I think, but I always felt bad about not doing any of the “Someday” tasks.

After reading your post I thought “fine, I’ll try it just to be able to demonstrate that it doesn’t work cuz I have too many tasks in my head”. I put all tasks into the “Someday” category in Things, and now I think I’m actually less stressed about them.

I’m still not doing them though but I’m less stressed, which is always good.

If anxiety is the reason I’m not doing them, then I expect I’ll start doing them when I have less anxiety.

Treating some of them as exposure therapy might also be good.


regular etc

Still not going well b/c I’m still not writing there enough. Working till late and then too tired for reflection. Generally somehow not leaving myself energy for non-work. Idk.

I don’t know how to get myself to have a better relationship with work. Not sure what a “better relationship” would even be. I don’t have any particularly clear things I want to achieve, and I don’t have that much energy for doing stuff outside of work.

In fact, even right now I’m tempted to open the work laptop and try to accomplish something useful. Because it would be satisfying to accomplish something, and would be unsatisfying to go to bed.

I think I’m getting a slightly clearer idea for why it would be unsatisfying to go to bed – because I can actually foresee feeling bad. But it’s a very low-key foreseeing. Hard to consciously notice.


Unrelatedly, one thing I can definitely improve is doing tasks when there are small windows for them

Eg. I was in the bathroom right now and I could schedule a wash cycle for the morning. And I did. And it took like two minutes. But it still required effort to make myself do it?

I think more would get done if I did things when I have tiny bits of free time


this reminded me that i wanted to do laundry tonight. thanks for reminding me in time! :)

and good luck with your goals and your energy. :purple_heart: you can achieve a great work-life-balance, i believe in you!


regular etc

I had reflection scheduled for today (in the calendar), but just ignored completely. Maybe because I feel like I was working all day and didn’t talk to anyone.

On the other hand, I wrote here, in WOC, and in an internal mental-health channel. So some reflection got done.


I like the idea of “a day without distractions” and already made a task to schedule another. I think it’s good for doing tasks that normally never get done because something else is more urgent.

Looking forward to more coworking now that [coworker] is back in Warsaw.

Still sleepy a lot.


Listening to a lecture on anxiety and avoidance.

What am I avoiding: working on Brick. Why: I will work on it and spend a lot of time on some minor thing and even if everything gets done I’ll just deploy a new version and then forget about it for another month. But also I won’t even finish it. So overall it’ll be just an evening spent doing some minor task for no reason.

What am I avoiding: researching emigrating to the US. Why: even if I research I still won’t do anything anyway because ADHD.

Enough for now


As a side note, learning how to do tasks in order might be useful. Currently, even if I put a task in my daily list I have no assurances I will even try to do it, because I do tasks out of order and I might just skip it. So some tasks may never get done.

I’ll add it to the template.

The current template is therefore:

  • regular etc
  • doing tasks in order
  • other

regular reflection etc

Not going well. Which makes sense this week cuz a) I’m sick b) remote coworkers came to Warsaw and I was hanging out w/ them.

doing tasks in order

I did tasks in order today! Work tasks, at least. And it was nice.


  • I went home at 5pm instead of working till like 6pm or whatever.
  • It’s getting sunnier.
  • I scheduled a weekly coworking session.
  • I make git aliases at work to “save everything, pull master and create a random branch” and it made making tiny documentation changes much easier.

Update: a problem with home tasks (unlike work tasks) is that everything is together. “Laundry”, “make tea”, “do a thing about [project]”, “write to [person]”, etc. I feel like it’s problematic.

I bought two new notebooks, with the idea that one of them will be specifically for Brick tasks and the other idk. Maybe if I split Brick tasks out, at least they will be getting done in order? Not sure.