The productive procrastinator

September 20, 2012

A bit of background. I have a to-do list of a ton of odd jobs about the place that I seem to manage to put off. Probably forever if I extrapolate it out far enough.

I’m organised with my work though. Emails are actioned using a bastardisation of David Allen’s Getting thing done. And I tend towards Inbox to Zero (although I’ve currently got 19 emails in my inbox that I need to sort through). It’s just all those personal tasks that seem to suffer.

But this last week, it seems like something has changed. Think it came to a head when I wanted to go visit a mate who lives about 10 miles away. It’s just a pain to get to by pushbike, so for the first time in (I think three) months, I tried to use my car. It’s had a problem for ages, which I think is related to the Mass Air flow sensor. It coughs and sputters and just drives like crap. I don’t know how long I’ve put up with it. Ages… But the car was a no-go on Friday, so I ended up taking my motorbike.

That spurred me into action. I had the part, and had recently bought the security tools to undo the tamper-proof screws holding the thing in. 20 minutes later and it feels like I’ve got a brand new car! I can’t believe the difference. Why did I put up with it like that for so long?

Completing that one task seems to have unblocked a whole bunch of productivity. I’ve been a real Dave’ll-fix-it the past few days.

Yesterday, for example:

  • I ‘fixed’ the soundcard on my PC. (It had a bad audio socket, which I found hard to unsolder with the tools I’ve got, so I just bypassed it to another socket with some jumpers and am now using that. Works a treat.
  • I took a ton of stuff to the tip. Mostly cardboard that’d been sitting around for ages, but also clothes, broken appliances and some scrap metal.
  • Found some neat speakers at the tip that were too good not to salvage. A bit of glue and wiring and I’ve got some great sounds downstairs.
  • Wired up two new sockets downstairs. I’ve had bare wires (terminated) since we redecorated back middle of last year.
  • Set up my old laptop (the one with a broken screen) with Ubuntu to run as a low-powered server. Now that I’m working on a new project, I’ve noticed running my current server 24/7 has a big impact on my electricity usage.

It’s hard to explain what’s changed or where the motivation has come from. But I’m enjoying this new-found productive phase. I definitely needed it! By sorting out a few little niggles each day, life just seems more pleasant.

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Written by Dave Beer