This kind of started with unfuckyourhabitat and discussions of how adding one small new habit to your routine makes it easier to add others, but it kind of solidified talking to Paul Fenwick at YAPC, who is a deeply fascinating individual - the discussion we had can kind of be summed up in his wonderful OSCON keynote, which is on youtube here. Basically, my life is kind of a mess. There are things I should do but don't want to do, and things I want to do that I don't end up doing, and basically my life-system is Not Working. This is for a number of reasons:
1) I'm a very poor self-motivator. This is probably at least partially because of depression, though I think a lot of people have problems self-motivating. Basically I obey Newton's First Law of physics, and this is why I didn't got to over half my classes in my last semester of university.
2) Related to (1) - I'm poor at commitment. And occasionally afraid of it, because I have a very high fear of failure (again, see depression plus anxiety), and if you don't commit, you can't fail. But I'm also fantastic at abandoning projects midway through because motivation dried up.
3) I have an awful case of what synecdochic calls 'goldfish brain' (this is one of several reasons the terrified goldfish is my spirit animal). Basically it's an exciting combination of distractability and short-term memory failure that leads me to do things like almost put the butter away in the cutlery drawer, lose everything I don't keep consistently in the same spot, and forget important things I need to do unless I do them right now.
So! It seemed best to make a list of what I want to do before I figure out ways in which to overcome 1-3 and actually do it.
-Get a job in my field
-Get PR status in Canada
-Own a house
-Keep the house clean
-Keep up with my RP commitments
-Cook a greater variety of lunches for work
-Not lose things all the time
-Assorted planned knitting projects
-Assorted planned sewing projects
-Deal with the backlog of half-finished and abandoned projects
-Become reliable and skilled enough to make some extra income off my skills
-Get my cosplay website out of alpha
-Learn pronunciation for French, Mandarin, and Cantonese (No interest in the language, but I don't like sounding like an idiot in front of my friends)
-Brush up on my Spanish (I blame comic books)
-Learn Welsh or Irish
This, then, leads to the 'how to do this' portion. The long-term goals are somewhat nebulous, and I need to refine the steps necessary to reach them before I can set that up on any sort of tracker. I've been using Astrid as a possible to-do manager, as it syncs web and my phone, and has a random reminders, which is good for someone who forgets things that need doing. I am, however, open to to-do list managers, as Astrid doesn't have an open API, so no hooking it into other things. So far, that's mostly been for day-to-day stuff/one-off tasks - I can add when I think of it, and come back to it later. The CS stuff - I think for Perl, working on DW bugs may be a good start. For my website, it's honestly just buckling down and writing the damned content. Languages - I have access to some online learning systems through the library, and Anki seems like a good way of reviewing.
The next problem - the big problem - is keeping to the commitments to do things, instead of 'eh, later'. Like the recycling in my trunk I've meant to take to the depot all week. 'I'll do it tomorrow.'. For that, I'm tentatively considering Beeminder. Putting money up for stake is kind of scary (see fear of commitment) but at the same time, money is one of the few things that is sufficiently motivating. Why I skipped classes but I don't skip work.
This, of course, is all very rough-draft right now, and input on what's worked for others is more than welcome.