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I have tons of stuff to do, and I get bogged down. I end up doing nothing for hours, sometimes even days. I have personal projects to complete and books to read, but sometimes I'm just flailing around in a cloud, mentally, and I end up face down on the couch, moaning into my pillow that I'm sooooooo bored. I need some method or software to help me manage my time effectively and get rid of this quirky funk I've been in. Excel Spreadsheets Perhaps? Has anyone here used Excel for this purpose effectively? Maybe some other software?

I know that saying "Tell me how to be motivated" would get this question locked and possibly my account would be suspended(as it was recently in StackOverflow), so I'm not going to do that. ;)

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Don't worry, I've asked such a question for you. Don't be afraid, a question can always be reopened if it is edited to be more correct. As it seems your accounts are not linked, I don't know what you did wrong on Stack Overflow but they don't suspend you for asking one or two questions that get closed. As for this question, have you looked at Getting Things Done and The Pomodoro Technique? –  Tom Wijsman Sep 16 '11 at 8:06
    
I read a quote that " Only silly questions are those which are never asked " –  Tomarinator Jun 20 '12 at 12:07

3 Answers 3

I have probably the same problem as you do. My kindle contains over 200 books that I started to read, but never finished. I've tried things like GTD, Pomodoro Technique, but it always fails for me, because I don't have enough discipline to keep doing it long term.

However I found out one thing that does work for me, at least for short term planning. And that's pen and paper.

Take a blank piece of paper, preferably something like blank A4 from your printer, and write your mind out. Make a list of all the things you'd like to do, explore or think about. If one paper isn't enough, take another one. You don't have to be organized, just get all the thoughts out of your head, so you can get rid of the feeling of this is too important, I don't want to forget it.

Once you write all the ideas down, it's much easier to organize them. Pick the ones that are actually important and take another paper and analyze them. Usually you will have loads of ideas that are kind of long term, you want to explore them, but you don't have the time to do them right now. Take those and put them in a folder.

You can then put it in a kind of inspiration folder with all your ideas. Whenever you get bored, take all those papers out and browse through them.

Over the years, I've collected hundreds of pages of notes from lectures, presentations, conferences, or just link to interesting websites or random stuff from a book. Every time I browse through them, it gives me loads of inspiration and motivation to just do something right now.

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I feel like I want to do everything, far too many things interest me. This leads to me getting overwhelmed and doing nothing at all.

A simplified step by step task on what I do to help this situation(I use excel)
1.Write down all the things you want to do(all the books, personal projects, hobbies etc)
2.Pick 3-4 from this list that you feel will change your life the most right now(like say if you are in your 20s , reading a book on how to take care of your grandchildren might not be that urgent)
3.Break down each of them into the smallest possible sub-task, each of which can be done in not more than 10-15 minutes. If its a book, break down into pages or how long you would read in one sitting.
4.Everyday do one subtask from each of your 3-4 main task. Do them first thing in the morning. And then relax guilt free rest of the day.... Doing a bit everyday can lead to a lot over time. Consistency helps.

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Have you considered the Urgent/Important Matrix? While this is rather simple it may be useful for you to see how things break down into the various categories like "Distractions" or "Critical Activities."

The Rule of 3 would be my other suggestion for getting some focus back and being aware of the time line on things as the big picture could be leaving you frozen in fear as there is that third option to the "Flight or fight" response known as freeze where one just does nothing because there isn't enough information to choose either option well.

Organize what you want to do and what you have to do would be my suggestion as you get 86,400 seconds a day and that's all. There isn't a way to make more time in a day and time is passing whether you like it or not. This isn't about, "how to be motivated," as much as it is, "how could I do this," as I'd gather you are asking for tools and strategies more than the answer to, "Why am I here?" which while a good philosophical question isn't really a practical question most of the time to my mind.

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