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Author Topic: For those with a System that Works -- Post it!  (Read 10190 times)
mouser
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« on: November 03, 2007, 04:45:17 PM »

Those of you who participated in GOE 2006 or who have adopted an organizational system of some kind from some other place, please post a description of it, and where it works for you, and where it breaks down and could use some improvement.

In the GOE 2006 Experiment we focused on reviewing existing published strategies by people like David Allen (GTD) and Mark Forster (Do It Tomorrow).

I think for this year we should concentrate on our own ideas and what works for each of us personally.  Let's share our experiences and struggles and try to each perfect our own system.

I'm convinced that having some set of policies and guidelines -- a "routine" of sorts, is important for most of us to stay on track.  So this year let's try to each of us focus on refining the techniques that work for us individually.

I have held onto a few things from last years GOE which have helped me immensely, and i would never go back from what i do now to using a ToDo list.  I'll post my "system" in a few days.. Meanwhile I'd like to hear what you guys do!
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Darwin
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« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2007, 04:50:13 PM »

Thanks for posting this idea, mouser. I *just* replied to apps posting about the problems that she has with theise kinds of systems and agree with her. I noted that I won't be participating this year BUT I'll be keeping an eye on this thread and reading peoples' experiences with real interest with a view to implementing anything that resonates with me.
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nudone
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« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2007, 03:08:48 AM »

my system. think of something that needs doing. now think of something else that needs doing that doesn't seem as bad as the first thing. do the second thing to take your mind of the first thing. repeat.

what happens when you need to get the first thing done that seemed so bad? think of something even worse that needs doing. problem solved.

okay, i have no system. i think goals are very important but sometimes they can seem a bit pointless like app recently mentioned. when my goals seem to lose their sparkle i try to remember what the alternative is going to be if i don't realise these goals. the alternative often seeming like a living hell that i must avoid at all costs. this usually puts me back on track and fills me with the desire to get on with things.

i recently read something in a book about research into motivation that i found quite illuminating. the research concluded that 'will power' pretty much doesn't exist so just forget about it. don't expect to accomplish anything using 'will power'. it might work for a short period of time but you are very likely to fail if that is all you are relying on.

instead, you need to put yourself in an environment that will make it difficult for you to do the thing(s) you are wanting to avoid. maybe not very practical but it appears to be the successful way to achieve something.

have i put this theory into practise? nope.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2007, 07:31:15 AM by nudone » Logged
Darwin
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« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2007, 06:24:09 AM »

 Grin

Hallejiuah! I'm not alone...
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Armando
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« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2007, 10:36:18 AM »

my system. think of something that needs doing. now think of something else that needs doing that doesn't seem as bad as the first thing. do the second thing to take your mind of the first thing. repeat.

what happens when you need to get the first thing done that seemed so bad? think of something even worse that needs doing. problem solved.

okay, i have no system. i think goals are very important but sometimes they can seem a bit pointless like app recently mentioned. when my goals seem to lose their sparkle i try to remember what the alternative is going to be if i don't realise these goals. the alternative often seeming like a living hell that i must avoid at all costs. this usually puts me back on track and fills me with the desire to get on with things.

i recently read something in a book about research into motivation that i found quite illuminating. the research concluded that 'will power' pretty much doesn't exist so just forget about it. don't expect to accomplish anything using 'will power'. it might work for a short period of time but you are very likely to fail if that is all you are relying on.

instead, you need to put yourself in an environment that will make it difficult for you to do the thing(s) you are wanting to avoid. maybe not very practical but it appears to be the successful way to achieve something.

have i put this theory into practise? nope.


Nudone : Do you remember the title of the book?
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nudone
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« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2007, 11:39:41 AM »

the book is "The Motivated Mind by Dr. Raj Persaud" here's the links on the US version of amazon

http://www.amazon.com/Mot...qid=1194197431&sr=1-2

here's the link for the UK amazon that has a few more comments than the US site

http://www.amazon.co.uk/g...042191&pf_rd_i=468294

as you'll see (perhaps), it isn't a book on step by step motivation techniques - just a lot of findings from research. some of the comments on amazon are complaining about it not being a self help book but i would say this is exactly what gives it credibility.
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tomos
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« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2007, 04:17:26 PM »

my system. think of something that needs doing. now think of something else that needs doing that doesn't seem as bad as the first thing. do the second thing to take your mind of the first thing. repeat.

 Grin Grin Grin Kiss I laughed LOUD at that one
 thanks nudone
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Tom
mouser
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« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2007, 04:26:02 PM »

Nudone may be forgetting that he is referring to a patented strategy, Structured Procrastination:
http://www.donationcoder....um/index.php?topic=3850.0
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tomos
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« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2007, 04:32:05 PM »

you need to put yourself in an environment that will make it difficult for you to do the thing(s) you are wanting to avoid. maybe not very practical but it appears to be the successful way to achieve something.

presume you mean
"you need to put yourself in an environment that will make it difficult for you to [avoid] do[ing] the thing(s) you are wanting to avoid"

or is it...?
I'm getting a bit twisted-up in my mind
or to rephrase:

put yourself in an environment where, (somehow), you cannot avoid doing the things you would like to avoid

Then the BIG question:
did he give any ideas there or did you have any?

PS looks like an interesting read all right
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Tom
Darwin
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« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2007, 04:37:14 PM »

Quote
Quote from: nudone on Today at 01:08:48 AM
my system. think of something that needs doing. now think of something else that needs doing that doesn't seem as bad as the first thing. do the second thing to take your mind of the first thing. repeat.

     I laughed LOUD at that one
 thanks nudone

So did I, but it was bittersweet (struck a little bit too close to home...)  tongue
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Darwin
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« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2007, 04:40:10 PM »

Thanks for the link, mouser. I missed that when you posted it last year and laughed my head off reading the teaser that you included at the head of the thread. Reading it in full now - very entertaining, very close to how I work  Thmbsup
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nudone
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« Reply #11 on: November 05, 2007, 02:13:03 AM »

sorry, i had forgotten about 'structured procrastination'. i've probably forgotten everything else that happened or was mentioned in the 2006 experiment.

as for this...
Quote
instead, you need to put yourself in an environment that will make it difficult for you to do the thing(s) you are wanting to avoid. maybe not very practical but it appears to be the successful way to achieve something.

this will hopefully sound better...
"instead, you avoid negative habits by consciously avoiding the situations and places that these negative habits usually occur. this method is shown to work better than expecting will power to help you."

in other words you are weak and can't be relied upon to stop yourself so you need help externally.

i know this is a 'how not to' rather than a 'how to' technique but i would assume that with a bit of clever planning you can put yourself in a better situation or environment that is more conducive for doing the right thing. and i suppose you could say that you are trying to avoid procrastination so you need to make your environment a bad place for procrastination. what that place is - i'm not sure.
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tomos
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« Reply #12 on: November 05, 2007, 09:11:55 AM »

thanks for that clarification nudone

"instead, you avoid negative habits by consciously avoiding the situations and places that these negative habits usually occur. this method is shown to work better than expecting will power to help you."
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Tom
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« Reply #13 on: November 05, 2007, 04:24:27 PM »


I think for this year we should concentrate on our own ideas and what works for each of us personally.  Let's share our experiences and struggles and try to each perfect our own system.

I'm convinced that having some set of policies and guidelines -- a "routine" of sorts, is important for most of us to stay on track.  So this year let's try to each of us focus on refining the techniques that work for us individually.

 I'll post my "system" in a few days.. Meanwhile I'd like to hear what you guys do!

I don't have a structured system, probably couldn't stick to it if I did - what works for me is a framework for me to follow.
Its pretty simple and quite flexible, and that makes it easier for me stick to.

-Do the worst, hardest, least attractive task first. This has lots of benefits - I feel like I've accomplished something and gets rid of that "hanging over my head oh I really, really don't want to do that" feeling.
If I do this early enough in the day, I'm usually done before my brain engages enough to start squawking about it.

-Decide what is important and high priority and respond to that as soon as possible. Leave the rest for the time I've blocked out to take care of more usual things.

-Put things back. Such a simple idea, but I have a hard time implementing it. To get around this, I have a "ten minutes or less" rule. 
I look at my list of things to do, and decide which of them can be done in ten minutes or less. I either decide what to do from the list, or I put things away for ten minutes  - amazing the amount of things that can get done in such a short time.
Most of them take less than 10 minutes, usually closer to five minutes. I like to do this once or twice a day, just because I'm always amazed at how much can get done in such a short time.
My brain appears to be loosely attached to time -there's this persistent idea that it takes forever to do anything, so I don't do it because I don't have enough time.

-Shred everything that needs to be shredded the minute it comes in the door or when I'm done with it.
This helps prevent the paper piles from procreating so rapidly. The shredder is always plugged in and its in a place that's easy to get to.
One of my friends has the shredder next to the front door so they shred things when they bring the mail in. It works for them.

-I don't answer the phone much if I'm busy. I set aside a time to return calls and call back then. This isn't hard because I do not like the phone. Really. Anyone gets a much faster response from me if they email me.

-No multi-tasking. I work better and faster if I do one thing at a time. Otherwise none of what I'm trying to multi-task gets done well. Usually things don't get done because it fell by the wayside why I was tasking it with something else.
Being able to give my full attention to something or someone is a pleasure.

-Have fun. Take a break and do something I like to do. Go outside, read a favorite blog or website, anything I enjoy that fits into what's going on at the moment.

-Make lists. I love lists, and for longest time I could never make them work for me. I'd lose the paper I wrote them on. I couldn't remember what file they were in on my hard drive. Then I found the program Swift-To-Do-List, and for whatever reason it clicks with me. Its easy to use and I remember to look at it and add things to it.

I manage to get along pretty well using this framework. Its what works when so many other things haven't. I'll add something if I think it will work, and stop something if it isn't working.
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app103
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« Reply #14 on: November 06, 2007, 04:29:57 PM »

The best addition to my 'try to get something done' toolkit has been my '4 minutes of work' rule.

Every time I make a cup of tea (and I do drink a lot of tea), it takes 4 minutes. Instead of standing around stupidly doing nothing while waiting, I chisel away a little from my housework while I wait. I hate housework, I normally avoid it, and this is the only way things can ever get done. I have found I can accomplish a lot in 4 minutes, when it's all added up...and I don't 'suffer' while doing it.

It's only 4 minutes. Nothing can possibly be so bad that I can't put up with doing it for that long.  cheesy


I also started using a sort of software version of mouser's index cards again. I had forgotten how wonderful something like that is and I am glad to finally be able to use that application again. (see my reply on that thread)
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Grorgy
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« Reply #15 on: November 06, 2007, 04:48:42 PM »

Quote
Nothing can possibly be so bad that I can't put up with doing it for that long.
Housework goes really really close tho   Grin
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tomos
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« Reply #16 on: November 06, 2007, 05:01:39 PM »

thanks laughinglizard for that helpful post

I like the 10 minutes or app's 4 minute stint at something

and
-Have fun. Take a break and do something I like to do. Go outside, read a favorite blog or website, anything I enjoy that fits into what's going on at the moment.
I often forget that...

-Make lists
no, stand back!!!

laughinglizard, would you consider sometime writing a mini-review or intro post type thingy about the Swift-To-Do-List programme & what it does (or doesnt) that you like it so much?


It's only 4 minutes. Nothing can possibly be so bad that I can't put up with doing it for that long. cheesy
or conversely, not doing it smiley ...let me explain:
I've read (& tested to some extent) the idea that if you - say you trying to stop smoking -
if you can resist the craving for 3 minutes it goes away (& comes back again but you know you managed last time to RESIST)
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Tom
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