Many Pies

Many Pies

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Being more organised is less fun

I've been using OneNote alongside Outlook for the past few months. It's really handy and a great way of managing my todo list. A while back my todo list was an email that I'd keep in the drafts box. Then I switched to tiddlywiki. With OneNote I can achieve a frightening level of organisation. I type something into OneNote, and press ctrl+shift+3 and a task is automatically created in Outlook for this thing to be done by the end of the week. With OneNote I can see things laid out in four dimensions (two dimensions on the page and then two other dimensions with Notebooks and tabs within them). With Outlook I can see things organised by due date.

Each day I can review the tasks to be done and either do them, or defer them to the next day, later this week, or next week depending on priority. When things are awaiting on other people I can add a symbol with a keystroke to show that I don't need to do anything more with it, and I can see a list of those waiting things from OneNote.

(It may even be possible with a bit of programming to get tasks lined up with even more accuracy. My computer could say to me "you've got 15 minutes before lunch and an appointment straight afterwards, so here's your next task that shouldn't take too long - write a blog post". Or "you really ought to be going home now, and you're probably a bit tired - why not do a little bit of light document editing and then go". )

But I find that the more organised I am the less fun things are. There is a brief moment of satisfaction when I press ctrl+shift and number key as I know that I don't have to do anything else to make sure I get a reminder. Ticking off tasks as done is also satisfying for a second or so. But it doesn't last, I'm back to a list of things arranged in order of importance that have to be done. It means that I'm more effective and important stuff gets done first, but it's a bit soul-less.

I've been thinking a lot about games recently. There's talk on the interwebs about bringing gaming elements into tasks to make them more enjoyable. There are people who are trying to develop games that teach you things, like Smokescreen which teaches about on-line privacy. I've also been reading my son's Official Nintendo Magazine and a couple of articles about bedroom games makers, of which I was one in my teenage years.

What I'm wondering is how I can continue to get important stuff done, and have fun doing it?

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