This post derives from several posts I've written before, but if you're familiar with HabitRPG and Wait but Why, you can skip the background section. The new material I'd like to introduce is mostly a minor tweak to how I use HabitRPG that has made a huge difference for me.

Background: HabitRPG and Wait But Why

I've written here but mostly elsewhere about how I use HabitRPG to get stuff done as a graduate student.

(If you want to get started, I wrote that too.)

I've also written about the two big Procrastination posts from Wait but Why before.

The Trigger for Change: Wait But Why Writes About Impostinators

As many of my friends will tell you, I have been on all the committees - I had more extracurriculars as a graduate student than I did as an undergrad. But there was not enough time for research, the actual reason I came to graduate school. Around the time I realized this and was probably not going to do anything about it, Wait But Why emailed me their latest piece - The Procrastination Matrix.

Prior to reading this piece, I was using Amy's excellent challenge in the Graduate Student Guild (log in and join the guild or you'll be redirected) on HabitRPG to get tasks done. I made daily to-do lists outside of HabitRPG and I checked things off, but the problem is that most of those things were not particularly important to my main purpose: doing research, which is a self-directed activity. Like Tim, I'd let my hobbies take the place of my job. I spend too much of time on the "urgent but not important category": I got stuff done, but it wasn't important.

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So, while I use Amy's challenge to write my to-do list, the format of my to-do list has changed. I now use a template in Evernote to construct a to-do list in the form of Eisenhower's matrix (see here for the AppleScript). Many of the tasks that come my way, I'm realizing, are important but not urgent. Assigning them a place in my to-do list means I'm not ignoring them (which would drive me crazy), but neither am I giving them priority in my life.

If you would like assistance setting things up with Evernote templates on Mac, this is my first time using AppleScript, but I'm happy to share the template and modifications I made to the AppleScript. The biggest one is to add tomorrow's date to the subject line. You may email/DM me at whositsisits (Gmail). For emails, please make the subject line: "Evernote for Mac + Eisenhower's Matrix" so it catches my attention. Remember, though, these emails are going to the "not important, not urgent" category on my personal matrix, so I won't respond immediately :P