Thursday, July 10, 2014

Staying Busy - Helped by the To Do List

If you've read this blog for very long, or my other blog about my writing life, you know I stay busy, really busy. Most of it is of my own doing, as I choose how to live my life. Some of it is "have to do stuff," such as maintaining house and vehicles. I'm pretty good at preparing and following to-do lists at work, not so good at home. But I do make them for outside work, and sometimes they help me. Last night was a perfect example.

I left the office around 5:30 p.m., stopping by the bank and grocery store on the way home, needing only a few items. Earlier I had prepared a to-do list for the evening, and knew, without referring to the list, all the things I needed to do. Among those things only one was something I could do that day and only that day: pick blackberries.

Okay, so that's an exaggeration. I can pick blackberries any day. But only today will I find certain blackberries at a perfect stage of ripeness. A day later and they'll be over-ripe; a day early and they'll not be as sweet as they could be. Yes, picking blackberries in the roadside bushes around the neighborhood was on the to-do list, even though I picked a pint at work on my noon hour.

But as I looked at the items on the list, I realized picking blackberries was perhaps the least important of all I had to do. So instead I did the following.
  • Continue clean-up of the debris from our recent tree topping. I finished moving one pile to the street side, where on Saturday I'll load it in the pick-up and take it to the stump dump, and I drug another pile off into the woods. Some of the piles are so far down the hill that bringing them up to the street is much too much work. Easier to take them into the woods. Then I cut some of the larger limbs into moveable lengths/weights, and continued to pile them for later cutting into firewood length. I still have much to do on this, but it's looking better, much better.
  • Continue to enter our expenses into my budgeting spreadsheet. I allowed myself to get way behind on this, as well as on filing. Night before last I picked up this long neglected task and made some progress. Last night I did the same, with additional progress. At the rate I'm going I'll be caught up on the spreadsheet early next week. Then I'll see about filing.
  • Work on Documenting America, Civil War Edition. I completed chapter 1 in this, and worked on proper entries in the writing diary for it. This is early in the process, but I'm pleased with how it is at this time.
  • When I finished my work for the night on DA-CWE, it was 9:30 p.m. Lots of time left in the evening to do something else. But what? The written to-do list wasn't in front of me, but I had it in mind. I remembered that I have two books I want to format for print editions. I decided to do this work on In Front of Fifty Thousand Screaming People. It's not hard at all, though it can be tedious. I chose paper size, changed the "Normal" style for font, input headers and footers, and added the front matter. This brought me to around 10:30 p.m. I quickly went through the book to look for oddities, and found and changed some. Then, I noticed that I had mixed up the left hand and right hand page headers. So I switched those around, chapter by chapter. That took me to around 11:15, which was later than I had intended to work on it. But it was done, or mostly done. Tonight I'll look at it and see if anything needs changing. But for sure it's very close.
That was far from everything on the list. And the blackberries didn't get picked. I decided a few can just get over-ripe, and the birds and bugs can have them. I'll try to pick a few tonight.

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