• Who am I?

    I am Qrystal; or at least, that's my dot-name! Har har. (My name is really Crystal, but that's not as internet-searchable; hence, switching the C for the little-used letter Q.)

    I am here because I enjoy writing. I do this mostly for myself, but I also have a passion for helping others learn things from the things I write. Now that I am done my Ph.D. in Physics, I am stepping away from academic research so that I can indulge in some creative ways to share my knowledge and inspire the appreciation of scientific thinking in others. I am also working as a tutor, which is one of the jobs I've most enjoyed doing in my life so far.

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  • Feeling the need to restructure my days

    Posted by Qrystal on February 16, 2008 at 21:03.
    Category: Tools. Tags: perfection, procrastination, productivity, web 2.0.

    I keep coming back to the question of how I can be more productive, even though intellectually I know that it’s just another way my mind likes to procrastinate the things I actually need to DO to be productive. I just can’t seem to shake the notion that, somewhere, there is a system of tracking my activities and time so that I can keep up on what needs to be done, and shake the temptation to be doing ‘nothing’ (e.g. idle surfing or facebooking, … not that I actually disapprove of either of these methods of doing ‘nothing’, I just disapprove of myself spending “too much” time on them).

    Recently, I’ve been finding myself roaming the internet in search of “the” Web 2.0 app that does everything I want it to do. I am worried that I’m not going to find it, and that instead I’m going to succumb to the temptation to create my own time and project management tool. Thankfully, I know that doing so would be an awful waste of time, considering the plethora of other options out there. Unfortunately, I haven’t yet found an option that has completely won me over quite yet.

    At least I know my criteria fairly well. First and foremost, it must be free for what I need it for right now, because money is tight — and no, I am not convinced that time is money, because I believe time is even more precious! I am not opposed to eventually paying for an upgrade, but I cannot let myself get into testing anything that is limited to a 30 day trial or a limited number of projects. Limit the number of users, sure! Limit the number of clients, sure! But let me at least have the freedom to create as many projects as I’m working on, and if I end up getting more productive as a result of my using your app, be assured that you will see some money from me as thanks. But I must be able to be productive for free, first, and not just be teased with the temptation of productivity.

    The reason for this is as follows: I don’t have time to throw away on something that even “might” not be exactly what I need. I’ve tried enough “systems” to realize that it is just too time-consuming to just keep trying option after option. I can cut out probably 3/4 of the options just by price alone, and then another 1/8 or so by what I can tell about it within five minutes of looking at its website. I had started using Diigo to make notes to myself about the systems, but I haven’t yet actually collected and reviewed those notes yet. Note to self… :)

    I wonder if I’m “metathinking” too much. I am building a complicated hierarchy of steps to do before I get to the task at hand, which is actually merely managing my tasks, not doing them!! The recursion in this is quite dangerous! Not to mention the perfectionism the system is based on. Am I really just waiting for the “perfect” way to approach the search for a system, so that I can make “perfect” use of my search time and ensure that I have found the “perfect” choice, so that I can store the information “perfectly” and analyze it “perfectly” .. so I can get to working on the stuff that actually needs to be done?!?

    Maybe it’s true that perfectionism is just not worth the energy.

    Interestingly enough, I just realized that the only job I ever applied for and didn’t get was one where I admitted that my biggest flaw is my perfectionism. I had thought it was a good answer at the time; perhaps the person interviewing me knew that perfectionism is a time-eating monster! (I can almost picture the Perfectimonster now…!)

    So back to the topic at hand, I think I’m almost ready to sit down and make a detailed analysis of what I need to manage, and how I could best interface with those things I need. And then, no more meandering aimlessly… I hope!

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