19 for 2019: update week 1

We’re almost one week into 2019 and I’ve printed my 19 for 2019 list and stuck it on my wall so I’ll see it rather than make it and forget about it.

I’m going to try and keep myself accountable by posting my progress over the year, so, welcome to update number 1.

Have I achieved anything? Well, yes and no. I have done some things, but I haven’t checked anything off the list.

I finished one book (thing 5), which I wasn’t sure whether to count or not, as I started reading it in 2018. I’m keeping track of my reading here and I decided to count it because I did read some of it in 2019.

20190106 sunrise edit
Happy Sunday

I took some of the coins to the bank (thing 9).

I think that what held me back from even doing this was the fact that “take the coins to the bank” is not actually a task that I could check off.

If you listen to the productivity gurus, they will tell you that anything that has more than one step is not a task. It’s a project. A project is made up of tasks (or actions). You can’t “do” a project, you can only do a task. Therefore, the thing you need to consider is what is the very next action you need to take to enable you to complete the project.

“Take the coins to the bank” has more than one task that I need to do before I can say it’s done. First, I have to get the coins from the basket they’ve been sitting in, bagged up, for three years or more and I have to put them in my bag. Only then can I actually take them to the bank. That’s step two. Once I’m at the bank I need to do two things: run the coins through the coin machine and take the receipt to the teller to register the deposit in my account. Actually, Kramstable’s account because he’s the only one with an account at that bank.

Realistically, if I’m at the bank I’m going to do both of those things, so the tasks that I identified are

1. Put the coins in my bag
2. Go to the bank

I did this for one set of coins. There was over $40 in there that is now in Kramstable’s account. Lucky him. The other, I had left at home because they would have made my bag too heavy. They are now in my bag ready for me to go back to the bank tomorrow.

The lesson here is that I often put things on my to-do list that look like tasks but, because they involve more than one step, they are actually “projects” or, at the very least, mini-projects. Book skin check (thing 4) is another example. To complete this, I need to do the following

1. Decide which skin clinic to go to
2. Get their phone number
3. Identify some times it will be convenient for me to have an appointment
4. Call them and book the appointment
5. Put the appointment on my calendar

All those years I’ve thought to myself I need to book a skin check when what I’ve really needed to do is decide which clinic to go to. The way I’ll do this is to ask my GP next time I’m there which one she recommends. So the actual thing on my to-do list is “ask GP for skin clinic recommendation”.

Most of the things on my 19 for 2019 are like this. Some are quite obviously large projects but others have only two or three associated actions. You might say they really are tasks, with sub-tasks associated, which is an equally valid way of looking at it. The terminology doesn’t really matter. The challenge is to work out what those actions or sub-tasks are, put the next actions on my to-do list and get to work actually doing them.

As well as the reading and the coins, this week I have made progress on the photo course (thing 1), making my folio (thing 2), my 2018 photojournal (thing 11), the photo project (thing 16) and learning Lightroom (thing 19).

Week 1 summary

Things completed: 0

Things I have taken action on this week: 7

Things not started: 12

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