All the day long I've had the feeling that today was the end of my summer holidays, something strange if you know that I came back to work last week, on Monday. Probably the feeling comes from the fact that today a lot of people came back to work; last week there were some political chages that can have implications in the development of our project, and we have to start moving it again if we want to be succesful.
During my short vacations (2 weeks) I've been able to disconnect completely from Computers (well, I've used three Computers to move photos from my Canon iXUS to my USB Pen Drive, but only for that) and from all other pending tasks.
When I came back I had a familiar feeling, a kind of fatigue caused by having too many tasks pending. The main problem was that a lot of them were small tasks or compromises related to computers that one takes believing that they can be done in half an hour, precisely those free thirty minutes that you never have for one reason or another.
Besides, once you decide to work on it, you find that it takes much longer than you thought.
To reduce my TODO list I've started to change the way I do things.
First, I'm going to be quieter when I talk with some people:
If someone does not ask for help, don't offer the time you don't have.
Second, try to avoid the typical phrase:
Take this and fix it when you have time.
And if it appears, then use the new standard answer (already used), which is:
If I have time now we can try to fix the thing together, if I don't have time now, take the thing with you and ask again in a couple of days.
Third, for the important or urgent tasks:
The work done is no longer urgent.
So, first go for what matters and leave other things.
One of the results of this has been a massive unsubscription from mailing lists; e-mail was taking too much time from other things, I noticed it when I saw how much was pending after only two weeks away.
After that I planned how I'm going to work on my Master Thesis; I feel it is an important and urgent (next December my free time is going to decrease radically) task, so the plan is to work on it two hours a day and put delivery dates to myself for each chapter or subject.
Besides my Master Thesis I have to do be productive during the 40 hours I spend at work each week; the workplace is not the best one to be productive, but I have to avoid taking work home; I need my free time to work on my Master Thesis, to prepare the classes I'm going to teach this semester at the University and to have a real life apart from any kind of work.