Word among pro bloggers is that people like to read bad news. The readership of blogs detailing people’s misery is always higher, it seems, than those giving advice or information. Those telling about someone’s pleasant life are really unpopular. No mention has been made of those discussing philosophical issues, which I like. In fact, my own experience as a blog reader really doesn’t support the claim at all.

If it were true, and if I were trying to please my readers, I could tell you about the Horrible Job, which I finished yesterday. It was a fixed-price job at oDesk. I anticipated that it would take me just a few hours, and it actually took about ten, plus four hours that I delegated to #1 son so he could buy materials for the gifts he plans to make. When I got the information for the assignment, it seemed a bit shady. I couldn’t figure out what kind of scam it might be, so I asked The Computer Guy whether he’d ever run across it. He said the routine wasn’t familiar, but when it comes to shadiness, he figures that if he’s asking the question, he already has the answer.

I should have stopped right there. However, I had agreed and put it out on my calendar, so the client had gone several days already without having the work done. She’d agreed to that, but on the assumption that I would do 12the work on schedule. So, since I couldn’t see the harm, I went ahead. (You will recognize this as a Utilitarian decision, O students of ethics.) Unfortunately, she had sent me the wrong information, so I kept sending the work in and she kept sending it back for changes that contradicted the original instructions. When I realized that we’d had a basic miscommunication, I got in touch with her, but by then I was trying to do the changes she wanted while also doing stuff I’d put out on my calendar for other people. At the end, I was hunting down mentions of “packing materials” and trying to get rid of them, and it was like trying to get rid of mice.

I finally finished it yesterday, with my eyes dilated, which added to the nightmarish quality.

Because yesterday we went to the optometrist, #1 son and I. #2 son and his dad are going next week. #1 son’s eyes had improved. Mine had not changed at all. But I had to wear those funny shades for hours and then I still didn’t feel that I could see properly for another few hours. During all these hours I went with my husband to the unemployment office, where I spent five minutes on the computer, which I could have done at home, and then we sat for an hour waiting for the interview, which consisted of “Layoff? Which company? You know what to do, right? Okay, Merry Christmas!” And then home to exterminate the packing materials infesting the Horrible Job.

It was a relief to have it finished, I’ll tell you. Then I tidied up some remaining loose ends on the other projects, and 12along about 3:00, I had some breakfast and began to be able to see properly.

At that point, I did my GTD processing, which the “before” picture above will show you had gotten a bit behind.

 The “after” picture here may not say anything good about my housekeeping, but note the lack of piles of paper and the closed file box.

That’s because I’m through working. I intend to take the weekend off, barring any sudden urgent emails, and devote it to baking, cleaning in preparation for my houseguests, and other such frolicsome tasks.

 My marker board is transformed.

I moved all the ongoing things to the bottom, where they can stay quietly till after Christmas. There are only eight of them again, and that’s a number I can handle anyway.

The projects part of the list consists of holiday preparations, mostly, and stuff that I need to do after Christmas.

Life@Work is the exception. This is a book intended to be 12worked through in small groups. If any of you guys are working through it yourselves, I’d love to join you in a virtual small group. The one I’m doing now is on life/work balance, which I think you all know is a little bit of an issue for me, and Amazon is sending me the other one, Essentials. I plan to work through the two between now and New Year’s, by which time I should have some good plans and goals for 2009.

The book is written from a Christian perspective, so it might  not be useful to everyone, but I’m finding it very useful. It has things to read and places to write Next Steps, and it has already helped me clarify some things in my mind.

For example, I should never have taken the Horrible Job. As someone who is, as the book puts it, “called, not driven,” I have no business accepting jobs which — whether I am up to date enough on the online scams to figure out how they’re making money off it or not — clearly have nothing to do with my calling in this world.

Today I will slip off to the grocery store at dawn to avoid the crowds while replenishing our stores of rice and beans and cream and butter and chocolate and stuff, bake some Orange Cranberry Bread to take to brunch with The Empress, That Man, The Princess, and The Poster Queen, attend said brunch, make candy, and work on my Christmas knitting.

The song for today is “Angels From the Realms of Glory,” a beautiful Victorian Christmas Carol. The tune, “Regent Square,” was written by Henry Thomas Smart. Lots of hymn tunes are named after places; I don’t know why. I also don’t know anything about Regent Square, but I always imagine it as a nice square of Georgian houses with a little pocket handkerchief of a park in the middle, and I think of Mr. Smart coming away from a holiday dinner party there, feeling contented with the world, and suddenly finding the main motif of this fine tune in his mind as he walks home, possibly with spats and an elegant ebony walking stick.

It would be possible for me to do some research and find out whether there could be any truth to this story, but I like the story too well to give it up. If you know, however, then you could correct me, in the spirit of truth, and that could also be a good thing.