(2) Tue Jun 09 2009 23:41: I'm working on two major projects that aren't ready for unveiling yet, which is why I haven't written much here. One of these projects consists of a large number of small cleanup jobs that take 2-3 minutes to do. I wrote a script called gimme that picks one of the jobs at random and opens up all of its files in the relevant editors. I do the cleanup and the cleaned-up files are moved into a jobs-that-are-done directory. It's an addictive experience and I've been performing these little jobs at the expense of the other project, which is more interesting but for which progress is much less measurable.
Tiny, reachable, utterly pointless rewards are both a powerful addiction and a potentially useful tool (an illustration of which is one of my own secret projects)--this is why I have spent way more hours of my life grinding in Final Fantasy than I have, say, studying. I wonder if there's a general-purpose mental algorithm one could use to force oneself to break down monolithic tasks into little tasks and then place them in a "done" bin as one goes.
Those cleanup jobs seem extraordinarily concisely defined!