I am a geek.

Not just any geek because I spent actual time today trying to decide which analogy I prefer to describe my work habits: LIFO/FIFO or stack/queue. For those that haven’t had to sit through a year of accounting, LIFO is last in, first out and FIFO is first in, first out – both are inventory tracking methods. Stack is that new things get put on the top and handled first (same as LIFO) and queue is new things go to the end of the line (FIFO). So, now that everyone is caught up with the voices in my head, let’s move on.

I was thinking about whether my work habits are queue based or stack based. Do I make a list and add new things to the end, handling the list from 1 to N? Or do I take on new things and put them on the top of the list? I think, that in reality, I do neither exclusively. I apply some sort of priority algorithm to the task and then decide what to do. So, what is that? Modified queue?

Yes, this is what the inside of my head sounds like.

What’s your responsibility handling paradigm? How do you take on new obligations/opportunities? Do you give something else up or do you squeeze more into your life? I take on more until I need to take to my bed. I’m not sure that’s entirely healthy. It takes other forms sometimes. Sometimes I ignore the impending thing I need to do and then act like my lack of planning was me being all easy-breezy-lemon-squeezy. When in fact I’m so far past freaked out that I just sort of shut down. I try not to be such an over-doer.

Today my application to graduate school was completed and it’s somewhat intimidating. I expected to be relieved that it was complete. I’ve been working toward this day for seven months. Instead? I’m sort of freaking out. I’m becoming more concerned that I will get accepted than that I won’t (although, in reality I should be concerned about not being accepted – they take 20 people per year. Statistically, my chances are slim.). Also, sometimes? I worry about the wrong things. Which is where the stream of consciousness becomes helpful – it distracts me … so I wonder: do I stack or queue?

Welcome to twenty ten people. What changes are afoot in your neck of the woods?

3 smart people left their mark:

  1. Abbey, 7. January 2010, 22:32

    Loving the new blog look!

    Also, didn’t know you were trying to go back to Grad School…though I’ve also awol (did I spell that right?) over here for awhile. Trying to catch up now!

    As for me, I’m neither a stack or a queue. I tend to prioritize…or my boss does for me. ;) But I rarely go from bottom to top or vice versa.

    Ya know, you missed an option…FILO…that’s Drew…First In, Last Out. Or as I like to call it…a Workaholic. ;)
    Abbey´s last blog ..Back to the 21st Century My ComLuv Profile

  2. Tammy, 21. January 2010, 14:47

    I once interviewed for a job in a state office the summer between my freshman and sophmore year of college. The interviewer was intimidating (I knew her personally and found her to be intimidating on a personal level too). I would be working for 2 bosses. The question posed to me was this “if I gave you something to do and ‘Sally’ gave you something to do, how would you decide what to work on?” I must have had the deer-in-the-headlights look on my face. I was puzzled by this baffling question. I’ve always been a hard worker and no one ever had to follow up on tasks assigned to me. But how was I to verbalize the “how” asked in this question. I did not recover during the interview and I did not get the job. I spent the summer working in a RV Trailer factory (I kid you not) and lost my freshman 15 (and then some) because it was literally 105 degrees in there with Missouri humidity. All-in-all, it probably worked out for the better. But I digress.

    This question has stuck with me over the past 23 years and I revisit it often. I have an answer now. And finally *someone* (you) has asked me the question again.

    I look at each task and decide 1) priority – what is the drop dead date? and then 2) how big is it? is it 30 minutes, is it 3 days, is it bigger than I can imagine (those go last)? I am a list maker and I LOVE my lists. I love to cross tasks off. Even if a task is not on my list but I did it, I add it to the list so that I may have the satisfaction of crossing it off.

    Is there a limit on how much I can comment? If so, I do not seem to have exceeded it. Although I may have exceeded your attention span. Sorry.

  3. Catherine, 21. January 2010, 22:49

    I once read that you should add completed tasks to lists so that you have a sense of accomplishment. What good is a list if everything on it is unattainable?