If you’re playing the game of modern life, you’re required to get shit done. It’s a never ending sludge of inputs to the machine, collecting the results, then putting those results right back in. We call this progress, or lack thereof. Thus, The Progress Machine, which is an invisible, ever-looming force that follows us until we reach an age where we're no longer useful. At which point, It scoops us up and hauls us off to The Incinerator Pit, so our physical bodies can be recycled for the next generation.
Apocolyptic is an appropriate term. But most people refer to it as, THE WAY IT IS. How we got here, as in how did humans evolve to this, I have no fucking clue. It doesn't really matter now, does it?
In order to get shit done and not be a do-nothing-feed-me-more-until-I-explode person - which is how I spent the first 30+ years of my life, a drifting, functional alcoholic - we need plans. We need short term plans, long term plans, medium term plans, future forecasts, financial strategies, and a whole host of nonsense that somehow keeps us out of the food chain, for the time being at least*.
Projects - What Are You Working On?
We can simplify a lot of the planning and forecasting and bullshit by asking a few simple questions. The first is, "what are you working on?" If you're not sure, it could be rephrased, "what would you like to work on?"
This is a project. It could be something big or small. It could be a necessity or a personal hobby. This could be thought of as a goal, but I fucking despise goals. So I like to think of this as a container, like an empty box that I put certain stuff in that eventually will be a thing that's useful. And you can define "useful" however you like.
Like one of my projects right now is earning $1000 on the side, i.e. as a separate from my job source of income. This is a box that I can decide what to put in that might make it look more like $1000 on the side.
Tasks - What Are You Doing?
These could also be called focus areas, compartments, sub-projects, whatever. These are the things that need to be done in order to complete or make progress on the project.
Like if your project is "lose 10 pounds," the first task might be to work on habits. Eating breakfast, walking a mile every day, drinking more water, not eating a whole cake for dinner, whatever. Then the next task might be hitting the gym on a regular. And the final task might be taking action to ensure the loss sticks long term, like gluing your mouth shut and “eating” everything rectally.
You could even get crazy here and break down each task into sub tasks. Daily, weekly, hourly, whatever. But from a roadmap perspective, that seems bananas, unless you're a real fucking psycho.
The Timeline - When Do You Want To Be Done?
"Goddamn Gantt charts. You're talking about goddamn fucking Gantt charts, aren't you?" you may be asking about now. And the answer is yes, sort of.
A roadmap is a path to somewhere, maybe nowhere, who knows, who cares. It's an organization tool, just like a Gantt chart, to track progress and what you think needs to be done over time. A super simplified Gantt chart will tell you how each project and task is related over the course of time.
This is a good, simple, cheap system for keeping track of the various things in a modern human's life. The colored bars are different projects and each row is a different task within that project that I think will help me get it done. I’ve broken it down in weeks, but could easily do months, days, whatever. Spreadsheets are awesome!
I have this mapped out for the next 3 years or so as a loose guide where I’d like to be and what I’d like to accomplish. Whether or not I get there? Who fucking knows. Probably not, but it keeps me from giving up and letting The System guide my hand.
The Not Todo Yet List
I have a separate tab in this spreadsheet system for projects that pop in my head. Shit I would like to do right now, but goddamnit I need to finish one of these other things first.
The thing about these “trap” projects are, excitement wears off exponentially over time. Capturing the idea in a different view let’s me feel good that I can revisit it later, after I’m done with all this other shit I’ve crammed in there. And then when I do get around to it, I’ll go something like, “that was a stupid fucking idea,” then go take a runny dump and scroll Twitter (yes I have a Twitter, no you can’t follow me).**
If you’re not a sit-on-the-couch-do-nothing-just-let-The-System-tell-me-what-to-do-and-when-to-take-a-piss, and you want to accomplish things in your life, but you’re disorganized and want to get your shit together, maybe this is a good starting point.
Just keep in mind that none of this matters, what you do or accomplish. We’re all going to die, probably sooner than you think because collectively we’re fucking stupid. But stay in the game. Create, take risks, get laid (but stop making more people for a bit), and you can maybe die in the nuclear holocaust with a smile on your face.
* I could do a million asides about how our current climate, here approaching 2020, both literally and metaphorically, seem to be cascading us backwards to a time where we might've been food for something else. But I think we can sprinkle a little doom and gloom around instead of driving it all through the heart at once. Deal?
** Is Twitter still a thing? Or have we decided it’s psychologically corrupting us and thus outlawed? Or has it been replaced with the next thing? Or has the Trump regime deemed the Internet a threat to their egos and thus shutdown? Are we living in a police state? ARE WE? Goddamnit I knew I should’ve voted more.