Back in January, CGP Grey over on YouTube posted a terrific video about New Year’s Resolutions and how we have such a hard time meeting those. Instead of making resolutions, he advises creating a “theme” for each year that you follow without trying to slavishly adhere to specific lifestyle changes. It’s a great idea and one that I think I was already following in 2020 when I decided that this year’s theme would be “Intentional Organization” in my life.
By intentional organization, I meant that I would start taking steps — more steps than before, at least — to organize my environment, my routine, and my goals. Going back 10 or 20 years, you’d discover a Syp who wasn’t that organized, who kept to dos and calendar appointments solely in his head, and who often procrastinated. About five years back, I adopted a task manager that helped to put my daily life on track and keep me focused on pursuing specific goals for work, my life, and our household. But that still left messy stuff all around me, and that’s what I’ve been trying to address.
Probably the biggest way I’m doing that is through lists. I love lists. I mean, I really, really love lists. My wife is a big list-maker, and I put her to shame. For example, when we moved to Buffalo back in 2018, I created a six-page document that was nothing but lists of indoor and outdoor activities that I researched for the kids. I have a list of 200 games to research for The Game Archaeologist. And I have lists for my media consumption, mainly because I don’t get through TV shows, books, and games as fast as I used to and want to be a lot more intentional about what order I’m approaching them.
The reason I bring this up is that in less than a month, our family is going to go through a pretty seismic change. My wife has decided to put in notice at her work, and we’ll be going down to a one-income household. We think we can do this, but the budget will be a lot more tight than it used to be, and I’m taking steps now to curb my extra spending — most of which would go to various forms of entertainment.
That’s why I’ve been wielding my Great and Mighty Lists to prepare for this lifestyle change. I’m going to try to keep all future spending on any entertainment as minimal as possible, relying instead on taking advantage of the backlogs of stuff that I’ve accumulated and neglected over the years. I have scores of unlistened audiobooks and unread regular books, not to mention plenty of games on GOG, Steam, and Epic that have been sitting there. And through Bookbub and Epic, I’m still getting more free stuff on a weekly basis.
I’ve spent the past couple of weeks organizing this master list for my media so that I have a clear understanding of what’s next in my queues for reading, watching, listening, and playing. It’s a bulwark against being ignorant of what I do have and falling into that trap of spending money to fill boredom. It might seem silly, but the goal of this is to be a better steward of what I have so that I’m not buying stuff just to buy it (not that I’ve ever been that much of a spender).
As for MMORPGs, I am not as worried. Most of them are either purchased already or free, so swapping around won’t be a problem. I think our family is going to maintain a World of Warcraft subscription, since my wife and kids all enjoy it (and my wife doesn’t have a lot of gaming passions, so I’m inclined to be supportive when she does show signs of liking a title).
Instead of allowing this situation to hem me in, I’m using lists to plot a course where I have the freedom to choose within thrifty boundaries. My entertainment needs are way, way down on the list of priorities for our family budget, anyway. If I can keep from spending much (or any) on this stuff in 2020 while starting to make good headway on the backlogs that plague us all, it’ll be a two-for-one goal achieved.