The new day brings new opportunities to not get work done. As a professional writer filled with ideas and ambition but hobbled by greed, hatred and delusion, I have some advice to offer.
First, at the start of the day, make a list of priorities. It can be as long as you like — in fact, the lengthier the better — but it must include at least five items. Use bullets. Wait! Don’t use bullets. Use hashmarks or arrows instead. Maybe try the chevrons. Screw it. Use the bullets. Try the open bullets, though.
Next, place the priorities in order of urgency: what absolutely must get done today.
Then, give each item a Joy Score — that is, rank them based on the happiness and sense of accomplishment their completion will bring.
Now, put the most urgent items and those with the highest Joy Scores on one side. Spend the rest of your day working on all the others. It’s what you’re going to do anyway. At least this will bring some order to the process.
Dumb thought of the day, courtesy of (who else?) David Brooks:
“I’ve grappled with determining how much to blame Trump’s supporters for his rise.”
Note to Brooks: Stop grappling.
Heads up, U.S. employers: Global Terror Corp. has a new twist on creative destruction in the hiring process, as captured in a headline from msn news:
“Terror Attacks in Europe Aim to Inspire New Recruits”
Makes perfect sense. Why, whenever I interview for a job, the first thing I ask about is company policy on pay, time off and senseless murder of noncombatants.
Idioms, like cliches, serve a purpose. A good idiom is an economical, evocative and effective way to communicate a thought, feeling or point of view in a folksy way. “High as a kite,” “Sweep it under the rug,” “It takes two to tango” — these are good, solid idioms.
Many others, however, have overstayed their welcome. Some just don’t make sense. Here I think of, “Sick as a dog.” Case of an idiom without application. My dogs almost never get sick. When they do, it lasts for about as long as it takes them to puke up a fur ball. A minute later, they’re back to eating each other’s feces.
To stay with the domestic-pet theme, if it’s “raining cats and dogs,” I don’t think, “I better take my umbrella and my rain slicker!” If I look out the window and see cats and dogs hurtling from the heavens, I think, “Katie, bar the door, it’s the !@#$% apocalypse! And call the roofer!”
Others are just meaningless. An example is the oft-used “He doesn’t suffer fools gladly.” Such high standards!
But the most egregious are the expressions whose incivility, revolting imagery or sheer vulgarity demand they be pulled from the portfolio and put out to pasture:
“Can I pick your brains for a minute?” No, you may not.
“Let’s not beat a dead horse.” Agreed. And while we’re at it, let’s leave the living ones alone, too.
“I’m not just blowing smoke up your ass.” Party pooper!
“Party pooper.” Let’s not invite him next year.
“We really screwed the pooch on that one!” Stay right there while I call the ASPCA.
“Keep your eyes peeled.” Ew and ow.
“You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting [fill in the blank].” Who’s out there swinging dead cats? And can we please leave the animals alone? For five minutes?
Have your own entries to the catalog? Please send them. And thank you for sharing.
New definition of “social media”: A bottomless sinkhole of raw verbiage that we have little time to sift through, less time to examine critically, adds next to nothing to our understanding of an issue, stinks, and makes us want to post outraged rebuttals on our own blogs. Accompanied by photos of sinkholes in Taiwan.