Hobby Project Management and Work Productivity

Apr. 1st, 2019

If you’re a productivity nerd like me you know how important it is to have your tasks and projects managed effectively. However, when we talk about ‘productivity’ we are usually talking about work or possibly personal tasks. The things that just need to get done for some function of our life or work. We don’t often talk about effective organization of fun and leisure activities.

A lot of people may feel that the words “fun” and “organization” are mutually exclusive. And while admitting that I actually find organizing fun by itself, when the things we really want to do are easy to engage with, they can be more enjoyable. This organization can also reduce overall stress.

Modern living comes with a veritable avalanche of decisions. For ADHD, these can be more numerous and more overwhelming. This can lead to decision fatigue which can result in poorer judgment or outright avoidance of decision making, leading to unpleasant consequences. One aspect of project and task management can be breaking down the end goal into pieces small enough to take action on. When deciding on the first step of a leisure activity is simpler and more obvious, it is easier to have fun.

There are a lot of things we do for fun that don’t require many or taxing decisions. Video games for example. For the vast majority of games, you boot up the system, select the game, and you immediately know what to do. Even in games with complex and engaging storylines, there’s usually a map and a quest marker so you don’t have to remember or decide. You just go toward the marker, and you are having the fun.

Even watching Netflix or YouTube has more decision making than that. This is why I long for the days when I’m in the middle of binge-watching a show with many seasons. I know it will be a long time before I have to make a decision about what to watch.

This is a big part of why, when I have an hour of free time, it is much easier to just throw on an episode of a show I’ve already seen or a game I’m playing. The thought of trying to make a decision about what writing to do, what D&D prep to work on, which part of my fictional world to flesh out, or what sewing project to start on is just too much. I default to the game or the show.

Poor organization of my personal projects also caused me stress related to my business recently, as well. I have a system for showing me, in chronological order, the deadlines for all the things I’ve committed to doing. I had so many relating to D&D that it was mentally exhausting trying to scroll down to find the work tasks. I just stopped looking at the feed after a while and assumed that there were a ton of work tasks that were being ignored. This caused me considerable stress.

Once I corralled all the items relating to D&D into one item, with various lists, I saw that actually, I was on top of the business tasks. It was a great relief, but I would not have worried if my personal tasks weren’t gumming up the works.

It took me several days of picking away at the way I stored D&D information, in that spare hour here and there, to get it smoothed out. I now have lists for each campaign I’m running, and each item is easy to take action on.

Human beings will by default go for the easiest option. We tend to judge this as some kind of moral failing, but it’s only fact. So making enjoying ourselves, to the fullest and richest possible, not just with passive entertainment, as easy as possible increases the chances of it actually happening.

What personal projects of yours cause you decision fatigue?