C19 has been a major inflection point in my work

I teach graduate students. In person, except for times of pandemic. Now we’re finishing the semester remotely. It also means that we have to homeschool our 6 and 9 year olds.

All of this means that most things in my system are not obsolete or can be moved to a deep freeze bunker of text files.

It also means new organizational and motivational challenges.

  1. How to make sense of continual mess of assignments and activities that our kids teachers are throwing over the fence at us without any prioritization or recommended path to take.
  2. How to move all of my classes, which were discussion based, whiteboard heavy, and workshop activity heavy, onto zoom and any other online platforms.
  3. I’m very behind in grading assignments. Spring Break was supposed to be my catch-up time, but then the world ended.
  4. The daily routine of taking the kids to the bus stop, going to the gym, then going to the office, then going home, has been obliterated and has left everything all mixed up.

I’ve tried time blocking, but I’ve found that to be pollyanna at best, even in the most controlled circumstances. Now that I’ve got two elementary school kids, a wife who is WFH, and a job happening at the same time, there’s not a chance.

I’m trying to figure out if Things might be a better fit for the current circumstances than Omnifocus. OF is more of a database, where things is more of a todo list. But that’s probably just be my brain trying to trick me into switching again.

Also, all of my tags are suddenly obsolete.

I need to figure out how to bring some order to my day, some organization to the kids school activities, and some downtime back to my life.


Good luck to all of us encountering a whole new world…

Yes, we’re faced with a new life and hopefully will return back to normal eventually. Change is often difficult as our normal routines are shocked and we initially resist the new and unknown. Learn to adapt and accept reality instead of denying it. I’m finding it kinda crazy myself as I try to adjust a new lifestyle.

LOL… yes, I just experienced that this morning. My two daughters had their first Zoom meeting with their homeroom teachers.

My 9th grader had a fairly orderly acceptance of her new norm - online Zoom meet ups. She wasn’t happy but she’ll adjust easily.

My 4th grader was shellshocked. She enjoyed seeing her classmates as everyone talked over each other. Eventually, the homeroom teacher had to step in and figured out where the mute button was. Then she laid down the ground rules for the new classroom - raising hands in the Zoom app, everyone is on mute while the teacher is talking, etc.

Yes, the first week of my life felt exactly like this. What was the point of doing my current workload. I have my 1040 taxes on my dining room table for the last 4 days. I think I’ve spent 2 hours on it in those 4 days. Sigh…

But I’m getting better. I’m making progress in my taxes as I fit it into my new daily routines. I’ve been talking with some of my other friends via WhatsApp. We’re supporting each other and cheering the other person onwards.

Regardless of whatever task manager I chose, I’ve always used my digital task manager as a storage bin holding all my projects. At the end of the day, I’ll look at my list of available tasks and choose 3 tasks and 1 Big Rock to work on tomorrow. I write them down in my BuJo in tomorrow’s page. When tomorrow comes, I already know what to work on. I keep my BuJo open on my desk. It stays visible on my desk with the BuJo opened to the day page. I can easily hide my tasks by hiding my task manager app. But it’s a little harder to hide it when it’s on my desk. Another trick I’ve tried is to write on a sheet of paper and tack it to my wall. The tasks are are in my face and I can’t ignore it when I sit at my desk.

I’d suggest using the #personal-updates section to make a public journal. We’re not judging each other. We’re cheering each other on. Discuss our daily struggles and let’s group-think our way through this crisis.

@KevinR, I’m rooting for you and everyone to make it through to the other side.

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I’ve always equated time blocking to a pipe dream – it’s nice to have it but it never works out the way you planned. At least for me anyway. I think that’s why I gravitate toward a flexible system that doesn’t make me feel like I’m deviating from The Plan™️, because that always causes me stress…

Yeah probably :smiley:

Part of my switch to vim for note-taking was driven by that. I just want something to tinker with and learn to keep me busy.

How is this going do you think? Do you have any plans for this? It is okay if it’s a bit chaotic – give yourself some grace because we’re all in a ****storm right now :slight_smile:

Here’s an interesting thought: what if normal looks different after all this?

This article was an interesting look at different future outcomes.

My favorite take (that I don’t fully agree with but I think is interesting in our hyper-“productive” culture):

Full Quote

The tyranny of habit no more.
Virginia Heffernan is author of Magic and Loss: The Internet as Art.

Humans are not generally disposed to radical departures from their daily rounds. But the recent fantasy of “optimizing” a life—for peak performance, productivity, efficiency—has created a cottage industry that tries to make the dreariest possible lives sound heroic. Jordan Peterson has been commanding lost male souls to make their beds for years now. The Four-Hour Workweek, The Power of Habit and Atomic Habits urge readers to automate certain behaviors to keep them dutifully overworking and under-eating.
But COVID-19 suggests that Peterson (or any other habit-preaching martinet) is not the leader for our time. Instead, consider Albert Camus, who, in The Plague, blames the obliteration of a fictional Algerian town by an epidemic on one thing: consistency. “The truth is,” Camus writes of the crushingly dull port town, “everyone is bored, and devotes himself to cultivating habits.” The habit-bound townspeople lack imagination. It takes them far too long to take in that death is stalking them, and it’s past time to stop taking the streetcar, working for money, bowling and going to the movies.

Maybe, as in Camus’ time, it will take the dual specters of autocracy and disease to get us to listen to our common sense, our imaginations, our eccentricities—and not our programming. A more expansive and braver approach to everyday existence is now crucial so that we don’t fall in line with Trump-like tyrannies, cant and orthodoxy, and environmentally and physiologically devastating behaviors (including our favorites: driving cars, eating meat, burning electricity). This current plague time might see a recharged commitment to a closer-to-the-bone worldview that recognizes we have a short time on earth, the Doomsday Clock is a minute from midnight, and living peacefully and meaningfully together is going to take much more than bed-making and canny investments. The Power of No Habits.

One thought I had the other day is that nobody can really say they’re “busy” anymore. Nobody is rushing about to and fro with no time for anyone else. Our need for one another has been amplified. Not to mention like @KevinR already stated, each and every one of us has had our routines completely blown up in some significant way.

What if this time has the power to fully re-calibrate us as individuals and as a modern society to leave the rigidity of calendar and habit behind and become more fluid in our creativity, relationship, and work?

They’re big, nebulous thoughts, but something I’ve been stewing on!

Thanks for sharing what’s going on @KevinR!

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Let’s see what the new norm looks like… I’ll suspect that there will be many who pine for the days of old and will fight tooth and nail.

I can only imagine what it was like during the Great Depression in the U.S. or during the first two World Wars. With change comes the possibility of personal growth. Our belief systems will be challenged now.

The idea of remote workers was an experiment that some companies have not yet embraced and others have. We’re teaching our kids how to use Zoom for schoolwork now which may make the idea of the traditional school system a relic of the past. Our kids will be the first to actually embrace the idea of remote work. Of course many jobs will stay the same but other industries can be transformed completely. My kids even know what life was like before smartphones, the internet, and computers.

I do remember wondering why so many restaurants have huge buffet tables when there are people starving around the world. Why not pay the farmers to grow those crops and feed the hungry?

The U.S. government pays farmers to not grow crops to keep the price of crops at a “profitable” market level.

Government politics has devolved into bitter partisanship. I do miss the days of seeing politicians working together and negotiating compromises so that all sides will get a good piece of the pie without any bitter feelings. Maybe this will be something that will help bring us back to working relationships in our political systems?

All of these old expectations will certainly be challenged now. Maybe it’s time for a reboot of the way we live and how we treat each other? I’d like to see good come out of all this. :pray:

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