October 19th 2017
Today I had a super-productive work day. I had one task to do, and committed the whole day to doing it. Basically, we’re moving all of our content from one platform to another, and because there isn’t a completely perfect way of migrating it automatically, I had to go through all 139 articles and manually update them. For some reason, even though all of the text migrated okay, none of the paragraph breaks did. So I had to go in and put in paragraph breaks where there should’ve been paragraph breaks.
Hyperlinks weren’t migrated either so I had to put those in where they should’ve been too, as well as add all of the data about each article: title, description etc.
It’s not a hard task, or a time-consuming one in isolation, but I had to do it for 139 articles. And I had to do it today. Pretty soon after I started, I fell into a rhythm and coasted through them. I had to do one every five minutes to have any realistic chance of getting them all done today. So, for concentration, I chucked on a Spotify playlist called “Play Loud” that the rest of the office kept telling me to turn down – even though I was listening to it through my earphones.
I’m weirdly quite good at monotonous, repetitive tasks because I make a competition out of it. And, because I’m naturally a number-focused person, having a 139… 138… 137 remaining articles countdown, as well as a literal countdown until the end of the working day, motivated me to carry on even though it was really, really frustrating.
My usual day-to-day work life primarily involves writing. And it’s weird, because although it may seem like it, writing is not a repetitive action. You’re not just doing the same thing over and over. In fact, if you were, then you wouldn’t be much of a writer. But with writing, I could never sit there for 8 hours straight on the same task. I’d have to stop mid-sentence to go get a coffee or do a cartwheel or something. Something about the numbers motivates me, I think. And the deadline.
Maybe I should start implementing that into my own personal writing somehow. To give myself more of a deadline. The only time I’ve ever successfully sat down and written anything of any great significance was during National Novel Writing Month in November 2013, where I wrote a 50,000 word novel in thirty days. In that instance I was motivated by the deadline as well. And I smashed it.
And I did today, as well.
I finished the 139th article migration at about 16:45, almost 8 hours after I’d started it. It was a pain in the ass and I had to keep clicking the bones in my fingers every five minutes, but I did it.
Until tomorrow, and I felt weirdly good for it.