Managing Task Management

My workflow has been in flux. Until recently, I relied on Apple’s Notes and Reminders apps to track my thoughts and tasks; now I’m migrating (cautiously) to Microsoft’s OneNote and To Do apps (I briefly tried Todoist as well). When you add, “Try a new to-do app” to your to-do list, which to-do app should you put it on, your current one or the new one(s) you’re trying? It’s a most meta question, I guess, for getting things done #GTD.

In researching the whole idea of task management, I’ve found there are various methods; it partly depends on your own mind’s natural way of thinking. While I think there’s no single “correct” way to manage tasks, there is a best way that works for each individual, and there are generally a few over-arching approaches.

One well-known method is to use the Eisenhower Matrix (see here, here, or here) to determine priority status of certain tasks and thus how to handle them. Each task falls somewhere on a scale of importance and/or urgency. In other words, some tasks are more about want-to-do than need-to-do, and they’re also either dated or not, like a project that has a specific deadline versus a task that can be procrastinated forever.

Finding the right to-do app is, of course, a task unto itself; I think it’s important but not urgent. You likely already have a task manager app; everyone’s needs and styles differ. Basically, all task apps are similar, as they feature checklists of tasks that can be organized in a number of ways, and they each have a particular way of handling dates and reminders. After finding your ideal to-do app, you then must consider how you’ll use it.

You could put all your tasks in a to-do app, including sub-tasks as well. This means your task app will have a huge number of things-to-do. That high number may be daunting to you. To counter such overwhelm, you could instead only add high-level tasks, noting only the big picture; any sub-tasks or details can be then placed into a note-taking app for further management. This is somewhat disparate though and thus has its own drawbacks. It’s up to each person to decide how they like to do to-dos.

How do you like to do to-dos?

I was trying a new-to-me thing in which I kept only my urgent to-dos (tasks that have dates or reminders attached to them) in my to-do app, and all my non-urgent to-dos in my notes app in organized checklists. I see a large number of tasks in my notes and a very small number of tasks in my to-do app. But this approach for me started to break down because once a task becomes urgent or otherwise planned (eventually), it must move to a new app (manually). The cross-app work is too much for my three-pound brain; task duplication becomes a problem. In short, I may move all my tasks into my to-do app and get them organized there.

That said, I also like to keep project checklists with my project notes…hmmm. The only good solution I know of that effectively combines both Notes and Tasks is Evernote, but it costs money. It might be worth it… If you have any advice here, please leave a comment below.

We all manage tasks in some way, and while some folks take an intuitive hands-off approach, others seek the perfect task management system and mastery thereof. Most people are somewhere along that spectrum. I hope my example is somewhat informative and that maybe you can improve your own way of doing all the to-dos.

Now I can check off, “Blog this post.”

Share how you’re getting things done.

Big Things Are Still Happening

A few weeks back, I wrote about some stormy changes that were really rocking my boat. The storm front passed, but the waters are still choppy. Departing from my normal topics again, allow me to journal the latest.


My Day Job

One month ago, my whole company was furloughed. But at the time of my last post on this topic, I had just been hired by the new company that is buying my former employer. Due to extenuating circumstances, things just weren’t going smoothly. Long story short, when my previous company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, it ended up as Chapter 7 instead. In the past week alone, I brought a couple things back into the office to work but then had to retreat once more. Now we’re told we can’t enter the building for an undetermined time frame. Meanwhile, we can work from home, assuming we don’t lost access to the servers. So, yeah, things are still in flux. The good news is two-fold: at least I’m gainfully employed, and I already received my first paycheck after several weeks of zero income. Hoo-ray!

School

Meanwhile, I continue to press forward with my new Real Estate licensing online courses. This is a substantial task that I committed to the day before I was furloughed. If nothing else, it’s so I have some kind of back-up plan in case my job goes south again. Besides requiring time and self-discipline, these courses drain my mental energies since I must focus diligently to absorb loads of detailed Real Estate information. I actually must comprehend and retain it all, go figure. Here’s the bright side: I’m 94% through the first course. The exam is around the corner. Wish me luck!

My Night Job

Now we come to one of the cool things happening. I previously mentioned that I was hired to write for an online publication. So without further ado, let me announce: I’m an Editorialist for RPGamer.com. So far, I’ve written only two pieces for the site. You can check them out here. In case you don’t know, the site is about role-playing video games (e.g. Final Fantasy). If you follow my blog, then you’ve probably noticed that I like video games, especially JRPGs. Put that together with my fondness for writing and — voila— you’ve magically alchemized my passions. Although I’ve started as an Editorialist, I may branch out to adjacent forms of wordsmithing. My time with RPGamer is not just to write; I also proof edit other writers’ articles. It takes self-motivation and discipline, and I’m still trying to gauge how to balance my time amongst all my tasks. But I think things will settle out soon enough.


Given that I now type words for a large publication, in addition to my other exploits, it’s no wonder that my personal blog time has suffered somewhat. But don’t fear. I plan to keep this thing going on some level. So that’s what has been going on with me lately. It’s been a bumpy roller-coaster of work, stopping and starting; I think I almost vomited once. But at least I can say I survived it. Well, so far.

Big Things Are Happening

Hey, blog friends. This post is an update on personal things of late because, let me tell you, it’s been a wild time. So pardon this one for not being a usual topic. But hey, it’s still a personal blog called, Jason Journals, so here we go.


Furloughed and Hired

Let’s jump right into the big news. I lost my job almost two weeks ago. It was a shocker; that day won’t soon be forgotten. The situation, though, isn’t simple. The complications make it worse. I’ve been in limbo, unsure what to do, and unable to make firm decisions about the future. My whole company was furloughed while it approaches bankruptcy. I won’t disclose details, of course. But I can say they were changing daily as new info surfaced. That’s what they call a fluid situation, which requires much flexibility. So, yeah, it really stretched me.

That said, there’s also good news about this. I have been hired by a new company as of yesterday! Basically, I’m getting my job back, but it will be under a different employer. Like I mentioned, it’s a bit complicated. The hiring process, as of this writing, is ongoing. The current phase is on-boarding, so I’ve felt much relief in the past 24 hours.

Enrolled in School

Concurrent with the above turmoil, and that’s no exaggeration, I’ve been implementing a back-up plan. So here’s the other big news: I enrolled in an online school to get a Real Estate License. I paid for it and am half-way through the first course. It’s a very big undertaking that will take around 6 months to complete. I dove into the deep end head first and am already swimming laps. Let’s hope I don’t drown. My brain started to melt a few times from all the new info. I poured more coffees.

Hired to Write

Finally, the last big news is this. I was hired to write for an online publication last week! I won’t announce which one at this time because I’m still the new guy, and consider myself under some kind of temporary probation period. The position is voluntary, so I don’t get paid. Now before you say anything, yeah, it might seem weird to accept a position in which I don’t make money after I just lost my income. But I love doing the work and am loving my new online family of team members. I can’t wait to gush about it more, but for now I’m just trying not to mess up a great thing. I still feel lucky.

So, given all the above, I can say I’ve experienced some stress lately. But I seem to be managing it well enough. My family and I are doing fine on a reduced budget and are able to weather this stormy season. And I’m serious about the commitments I’ve made.

Anyways, that’s what’s up. When the dust settles, and I’ve figured out how to adjust to all the new changes, which are still in flux as I write this, then I’ll resume more regular blog posts. In the past few years, this blog has acted like an anchor for me. It disciplines me to keep focused and keep writing amidst all of life’s ebb and flow.

It’s like a journal.


What do you think? Reply below with your comment. Contact or Email me at the buttons above. Thanks for reading!

My 2020 Retrospective

Howdy y’all, Jason here at 2020 year’s end for a look back at some personal highs and lows. The site is called, Jason Journals, ya know. So if you’re curious about a bit of my life beyond the blog, read on. I can’t promise a good read – it’s 2020 after all – but maybe you can relate.


January

Things started off well. I was preparing for my Kyokushin Karate belt test with extra physical conditioning. Tough, but I passed!

Also finally finished adding on a half-bath to the master bedroom, doing new plumbing work under the house for the new sink and custom counter. Nice!

Made a half-joking resolution: eat more Taco Casa. I can say I kept it all year long!

I finished the role-playing game Pokemon Sword on my Switch.

February

I played Octopath Traveler, another RPG, on my Switch. Great one! Still want to finish it…

Tremors about a viral outbreak infiltrating American shores began to shake things up.

March

This is when 2020 went off the rails. It wasn’t all bad though.

Covid-19 became a thing in America. Back then, I never thought it’d still be a thing in December! This, along with other factors, brought a first round of lay-offs, furloughs, and pay-cuts at my job. As of now, I’m still employed there. Thankfully!

Covid also shut down our YMCA and canceled my family’s karate class indefinitely. To this day, we have not been back to karate and are out of practice. Ugh. The Y is open, but at reduced hours; our class was never reinstated.

On the bright side, I finally bought a motorized sit/stand desk for my long cubicle work days. It’s great! Health matters.

Then we installed a new kitchen counter and cabinets in our old house. So much better.

Also, Animal Crossing: New Horizons landed on the Switch. And it’s totally still a thing to play today! The game never ends.

Speaking of animals, we had 5 baby male goats born at this time. Sold them at auction.

April

I worked remotely at home for 4 weeks. To “flatten the curve.” Because covid. I’ve worked in the office proper ever since, fine and dandy. Glad.

Bought a new Android phone, the Moto G Power, and switched away from my Apple iPhone 7. Because I’m a tech-nerd-geek-guy and had gone all-Google several months prior. This didn’t last long though…

May through August

The national news was full of bad stuff. I “socially distanced” from news media and social media: Facebook and Twitter. Since then, I’ve used them sparingly. Twitter is pretty good though since I just follow fun stuff.

I read a LOT of books and wrote several book reviews.

Re-finished playing Final Fantasy VII. Yes, an RPG. On the Switch.

My employer made a second round of lay-offs and other cost cutting measures. I got to keep my job while project work started to dwindle.

In August, our AC broke in one of the worst heat waves. It got up to 92 inside the house. The AC was out for a few days until it was fixed. And it wasn’t cheap!

Summer of 2020 was yuck. We had to mask up and lock down and re-open and wonder if life would ever return to “normal.”

September

I started, finally and for the first time, playing Final Fantasy X! The HD Remaster no less. Yes, on the Switch.

Fall arrived with at least some hope of cooler temps.

October

I took my wife on a 3 day vacay to a Bed & Breakfast for our 19th anniversary. It was time well spent.

My birthday pushed me further into my 40’s. This year, I feel my age more than ever. My body certainly needs more exercise.

I got to hike trails in Caprock Canyons State Park with family on my birthday. Nice!

Here in west Texas, we had a rare super early snow fall in October!

I finished Final Fantasy X and started Ni No Kuni. I love role-playing video games.

November

We had a national presidential election. It was in the news. A lot. I voted early for the first time!

I found a good deal on a like-new iPhone 8 Plus and switched away from Android. Also switched from Google to Apple, like the whole ecosystem. Although I still enjoy my Chromebook.

Thanksgiving arrived, and with it some hope of more joyful times. The holiday season started, which helps uplift the spirit, but it definitely felt more muted and truncated than in years past. Many typical festivities were canceled.

Work at my job continued to be very slow.

This month, my 3 middle kids started playing organized basketball at a local club. They enjoyed it. It helped to offset the lack of karate at the YMCA.

December

After resisting for years, I finally bought AirPods: love them! Also, I got my first Apple Watch (the SE) for Christmas. I don’t practice karate now, but I can at least “close my rings” and stay active. I’ve been jogging a lot more lately! Also hoping for an iPad in 2021.

Season 2 of the Mandalorian surprised and delighted me!

At our home, I finally fixed a broken circuit in the house! Two whole rooms, part of the living room, and our front porch lacked wired power. I had to supplement with extension cords for months.

The fix required I first create a new ceiling opening for attic access. Then as I troubleshot the wiring, I stumbled upon the fix: a loose wire connection in a light fixture/junction box, making the circuit open without tripping the breaker.

Once fixed, I then added new light switches and fixtures and wiring, improving what we had before. Lots of work, but tidy! Truly a bright side during long dark days.

Lastly, for this year’s annual reading challenge, I passed my goal of 12 books with 13 read. Over one book per month average along with many hours playing video games.


Looking forward to 2021

What does the future hold? Don’t know; haven’t been there yet. I do know that worrying won’t make it any better; that’s for sure. And while it seems most people think 2021 will be better than 2020, and I hope along with them, the fact is that 2021 could be worse. But not too much worse, right?

Thinking positively, I’ve got several new RPGs yet to play on my Switch. Escapism! What else? Maybe Stranger Things season 4 and Mandalorian season 3. Fun times ahead. I’m thankful to have such pleasantries and luxuries amidst uncertain and unsteady times.

What are some positive things you are looking forward to next year?


What do you think? Reply below with your comment. Contact or Email me at the buttons above. Thanks for reading!

Time For These Three Things

Hey blogmates, what’s up? It’s been a busy January for me. Indeed, time is flying by fast! Only 334 days ‘till Christmas! But there’s a few things I’ve got going on before that happens.

Work

One is my day-job. Yep, I’ve gotta make a livin’, ya know. We’ve been workin’ extra hours on a project, nose-to-the-grindstone all day. And we have more projects in the works. I think the whole year is packed! Don’t get me wrong, this is a great “problem” to have – we are blessed! But long hours for months on end can get stressful with deadlines, pressure, stress… Work starts to feel like it’s your whole life. But life outside of work is not slowing down either. Maybe you’ve been in this place too.

Since I’ve been working hard, I also like to play hard. I’ve been doing this in two ways a lot lately: practicing karate and playing Nintendo! Call these hobbies or passions, I don’t know. How about, “Fitness and Fun!”

Karate

Right about last Thanksgiving, when my day job ramped up in work hours, my family learned that the next karate belt test would be at the end of January. Time to get ready! So right after the holidays (and all the food!), I started prepping for the belt test. So lots of cardio and calisthenic exercise! Burn them calories! Of course, I’m also practicing my karate chopping skills: katas, blocks, punches, kicks, throws, etc. Outside of karate class, one thing that makes me very glad is the big red heavy bag we bought. It’s a nice workout to go beat it up! My knuckles don’t bleed anymore.

Gaming

Besides being very focused on karate (and trying to avoid the flu that’s going around), I’ve been loving the escapism of video gaming on my new Nintendo Switch! It’s one part nostalgia, one part pure fun. I guess you could say I was somewhat of a gamer in my youth (Atari, NES, Super NES, N64), but once adulting was the game, I had to put down the controller. Yet now that I have youths of my own who have moved beyond the toddler years, I’m sort of re-living my childhood with them.

Anyways, the machines we run are: Wii, Wii U, Switch, and 2DS. I finished (finally) Twilight Princess HD. Then I finished Pokemon Sword (the story part); I have Zacian! Now that I’m not bouncing between those two games, I’m flip-floppin’ with Octopath Traveler and Yonder. Both these games are fantastic and warrant their own blog posts…if I have time to take. Suffice to say, with the Switch, this is like another Golden Age of gaming, at least for me!

Blogging

So those three things have been my focus and time-eaters: work, karate, and Nintendo. My family is blessed; I’m very grateful.

All that said, I feel kinda bad that I’ve neglected my blog the last few months, starting in November when I diverted all my writing-time to authoring a Novella (which I didn’t finish). But this blog seems like a part of me; I certainly am not giving it up. I would like to put a little more time towards fresh new blog posts about my fave topics like technology. Oh, but there are a lot of books I need and want to read too!! This year is a busy one, for sure.


What’cha been up to? Got any time management tips for me? Comment below, or write to me here! Thanks for following along!