Further thoughts on Shutdown Day

I visited with my son Mike last night, as I always do on Tuesdays when he is working late, and he noted that when he read my post about Shutdown Day he thought to himself that I might had better try a few shorter, trial runs at this thing before going entirely cold turkey for a whole day on the 24th. I suppose he thought that the shock to my system might be too much for me, much as a doctor would advise a man my age to come in for a checkup before initiating any serious exercise program, lest I precipitate a coronary. I think he said it mostly in jest, but in some ways I think he has a good idea.

Though I doubt I’d have a heart attack as a result of techno-withdrawal, I do believe it’s possible to use something you enjoy doing to reward yourself for doing something that you have been postponing or avoiding. “I won’t play golf until I’ve done my taxes” is an example of the idea. So I’m going to give some serious consideration to Mike’s idea.

I’ve long had a bad habit of thinking of a “to do” list as a “to do later” list, so whether it is written or only contemplated, my “to do later” list becomes a burden on me, a weight I carry around and both dread and feel guilty about for not having gotten it done. I don’t recommend making a “to do later” list. And I think most so-called time management experts would agree with me. I used to make to do lists that became to do later lists because I’d make them so long and so involved that they would appear to be unachievable and dispiriting. That eventually led to my decision to stop making to do lists.

(The last sentence of that paragraph reminds me of the Henny Youngman line in which he says something to the effect “I read that drinking wasn’t good for you so I gave up reading.” The link to Henny Youngman in that previous sentence is worth following. I discovered several things in it about him that I did not know previously.)

There is a fairly popular meme on the Internet that a lot of people swear by as a result of a book called “Getting Things Done” by David Allen. It is referred to simply by the three letter acronym GTD. This blog post provides some background and an approach to how it works, in case you’re interested. Personally, I don’t think I’m yet ready to reorganize my life that completely. But it would be nice to get some things that I need to do done occasionally.


4 thoughts on “Further thoughts on Shutdown Day

  1. Jerry

    I agree about the lists. I always saw personal goals as an opportunity to disappoint myself in addition to disappointing others. I just keep a short list of things to do to stay out of trouble; the avoidance of negative stimuli (failure) has always been a good motivator for me.

    If you think of the internet as a vast, immane, interconnected network of cyberspace junkies, then the few who participate in the standdown will interrupt the life-sustaining interconnectivity. Then, those who continue to use their computers will experience traumatic cessation of the life force–throwing them into a panic state and causing them to disassociate.

    This could turn into a very large psychiatric event.


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