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  • The Lists Mentality

    I sometimes wonder if I'm really any better off with all these lists.

    My wife has no lists - she's an editor for a successful magazine. She does whats most pressing and doesnt need an inventory of open loops to know whats that most pressing thing is - she just does it.

    I, on the other hand, make lists and I wonder how often I put things on lists that I could just do. I think I get a false sense of closure when I put an NA on a list.

    I also wonder if putting an NA on a list takes that thing off our mind when it shouldnt. In other words, I know successful people spend alot of time thinking about what they are trying to do. I tend to use GTD to get things off my mind. I then resist looking at the lists! They're too big.

    Any buddy else suffering from listitis?

  • #2
    Re: The Lists Mentality

    Originally posted by DM
    I sometimes wonder if I'm really any better off with all these lists.

    My wife has no lists - she's an editor for a successful magazine. She does whats most pressing and doesnt need an inventory of open loops to know whats that most pressing thing is - she just does it.

    I, on the other hand, make lists and I wonder how often I put things on lists that I could just do. I think I get a false sense of closure when I put an NA on a list.

    I also wonder if putting an NA on a list takes that thing off our mind when it shouldnt. In other words, I know successful people spend alot of time thinking about what they are trying to do. I tend to use GTD to get things off my mind. I then resist looking at the lists! They're too big.

    Any buddy else suffering from listitis?
    Hi there,

    Yep -- one can get lost in long, long lists. That is why I follow an integrated system of Tony Robbins with GTD. My emphasis is what outcomes/results I want to have happen and then I go from there. It is important, I think, to have a master task/next actions list(s), but one should not lose the focus on the forest because you are constantly staring at the trees. GTD embraces this philosophy as well -- the wonderful vertical reviews!

    Regards,
    Longstreet

    Comment


    • #3
      One of the main reasons DA encourages us to make lists is so that we stop trying to hold everything in our head. He says that some of his best projects were executed without reference to any lists whatsoever. His lists were effectively the safe into which he entrusted all of the things that he did not want to have distracting him.

      Your wife probably has reached the “unconscious competence” phase of her job – she just knows what to do. She is on cruise control. The work life of a magazine editor can feature a generous helping of panic and stress, but it is essentially a cyclical operation.

      Originally posted by DM
      I, on the other hand, make lists and I wonder how often I put things on lists that I could just do. I think I get a false sense of closure when I put an NA on a list.
      See the two minute rule.

      Also, the first time I did a thorough review of all my open loops, I experienced a sense of relief that was like being born all over again. I did notice that I was reluctant to re-engage with all the stuff I had written down, because I associated it with the huge stress that I had been experiencing. Worse, I began to let some projects drift.

      If you carry out our weekly review, you will get at least one reminder in any week of what you may have forgotten.

      Also, if you are getting a sense of closure, it probably indicates that the thing is not too urgent, and that the main thing you wanted to do was just get it off your mind and park it somewhere. If the thing was urgent, it is unlikely that you would experience a sense of closure!

      Pick one project, and really go for it with your cleaned out, tuned up brain. When you get one item knocked off in this way, you will experience momentum. Attacking your lists with a clear mind and a sense of momentum is a really nice way to work. (Don’t forget, GTD properly executed is an excellent procrastination buster).

      Originally posted by DM
      I also wonder if putting an NA on a list takes that thing off our mind when it shouldn’t. In other words, I know successful people spend a lot of time thinking about what they are trying to do. I tend to use GTD to get things off my mind. I then resist looking at the lists! They're too big.
      You have to go the next, and scan for the best choice of next action, and proceed on that next action without absorbing all the other items back into your conscious mind. That is the whole point of the lists – that you know all of our commitments and obligations are safely logged - you do not need to shepherd them with you conscious mind.

      Don’t forget the analogy of the various altitudes: if you have a reasonably goof feel for where you want your life to be going over the next 12 months, and over the next three to five years, then the important things on your list will effortlessly rise to the surface and wave at you. If you do not have clarity at these altitudes, take some time out to try to nail down what direction life is or should be going.

      (This is also a good way to detect your weaker areas – you might notice some factor that is blocking your progress. This will give rise to a new project – get good at the thing you are weak at.)

      There is no reason why you should not end up performing on the same way as your wife – getting the most important thing done when it needs to be done.

      Dave

      Comment


      • #4
        Are you utilizing the someday/maybe list? I know that's just another list, but when I got tough about being realistic that something was a "someday" and not a "now" the lists I dealt with on a daily basis got sigifnicantly shorter. You only have to deal with someday/maybe every week or two. The two minute rule was helpful also.

        Comment


        • #5
          Maybe this can help, I have my Someday/Maybe divided in 2, one part are the Someday but not now and I called Short Run, means things that need to be done soon, the other is the Long Run, for example, lear Italian, Buy a House, that are for me SM, but right now make no sense to see in the list.
          Also I check my Long Run list once a month...
          So war this is been working good.

          Comment

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