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  • Limit Next Actions?

    I have a "Clear desktop" Next Action under "Organize workspace" Area of Focus. Assumes sorting and deleting documents on my desktop to make it more organized and workable. The project itself is for 4-5 hours taking amounts of documents I have.

    I can do it all day long or do for 15 minutes and then stop and go to another Next Action for a different project.

    What's the best practice here: should I keep doing or stop and go to anther one?

  • #2
    Not time-based but result-based.

    If it does not repel you do it all at once.

    If you feel sick thinking about it do it in chunks - but not time-based but result-based:

    YES: Process and file/delete 15 documents from my desktop.

    NO: Organize documents from my desktop for 15 minutes.

    Comment


    • #3
      As you're doing it, from time to time, take a look at your complete Projects list to see if there's anything else you feel you should be doing instead. It's all about what you're comfortable with and noticing where you have your attention.

      Don't burn yourself out and do it for hours without taking a break though.

      Comment


      • #4
        YES: Process and file/delete 15 documents from my desktop.

        NO: Organize documents from my desktop for 15 minutes.
        Could you explain why you don't like the second option please? I ask because I have a "Spend 15 mins clearing up" recurring action in my @Chores context. Should I think about rewording it?

        Comment


        • #5
          They sound like a prison sentence.

          Originally posted by cfoley View Post
          Could you explain why you don't like the second option please? I ask because I have a "Spend 15 mins clearing up" recurring action in my @Chores context. Should I think about rewording it?
          Time-based "outcomes" don't motivate me at all.

          They sound like a prison sentence.

          I do not feel any satisfaction after doing something for 15 minutes.

          For example I often read next chapter of the book (or next 15 pages) but I never spend 15 minutes reading.

          Comment


          • #6
            Time based tasks

            Originally posted by cfoley View Post
            Could you explain why you don't like the second option please? I ask because I have a "Spend 15 mins clearing up" recurring action in my @Chores context. Should I think about rewording it?
            I see no reason at all you couldn't word it like this. In fact, if you have a large amount of decluttering to do in your home or office, limiting it to a set amount of time may be just what you need to get started and make some real progress over time.

            I decluttered my entire house this way over about a year. It worked great because I could do anything for just 15 minutes!

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            • #7
              Sounds like something Flylady would say to me.

              Thanks for the clarification TesTeq! I'm going to try both and see what motivates me.

              Comment


              • #8
                However did you guess?

                Originally posted by cfoley View Post
                Sounds like something Flylady would say to me.

                Thanks for the clarification TesTeq! I'm going to try both and see what motivates me.
                You would be correct! Most of the stuff she preaches is hard to wade through (so much of it, not well organized), but that really worked. But I'll be damned if I'm cleaning my sink every night before I go to bed!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Something I like about her stuff is the areas of focus. It seems her strategy is to do just enough to keep the place ticking over and then each week (or month, whatever) focus on a particular area and blitz it. I'm wondering what other areas of work you could successfully apply that methodology to.

                  If I could subscribe to the one or two emails it would be really useful for me. But not the dozen or so that get spammed out each day!

                  I think the sink is important, metaphorically at least. It's the hub of all activity. If your sink is piled with dishes you can't clean your house. The GTD equivalent might be keeping your desk clutter free or keeping up to date with your weekly reviews.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The time-based technique is very useful for us chronic procrastinators. The Pomodoro technique (which is a version of this) http://www.pomodorotechnique.com/ suggest 25 minutes action, 5 min break. When I'm really stuck getting started on something (like clearing the kitchen up!) I might do 5 minutes bursts until I feel capable of doing more in one go. I've even used 5 minute bursts for getting reports written when I've been stalling on them.

                    Ruth

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Assumptions

                      Originally posted by cfoley View Post
                      Something I like about her stuff is the areas of focus. It seems her strategy is to do just enough to keep the place ticking over and then each week (or month, whatever) focus on a particular area and blitz it. I'm wondering what other areas of work you could successfully apply that methodology to.

                      If I could subscribe to the one or two emails it would be really useful for me. But not the dozen or so that get spammed out each day!

                      I think the sink is important, metaphorically at least. It's the hub of all activity. If your sink is piled with dishes you can't clean your house. The GTD equivalent might be keeping your desk clutter free or keeping up to date with your weekly reviews.
                      I never leave dishes in my sink. Maybe some people have to actually scrub it to make sure they don't, but that isn't me. I don't cook much either.

                      I agree with you on the spam. I think her stuff is mainly designed for people who are staying at home and maybe not getting much done.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Love Pomodoro!

                        Originally posted by RuthMcT View Post
                        The time-based technique is very useful for us chronic procrastinators. The Pomodoro technique (which is a version of this) http://www.pomodorotechnique.com/ suggest 25 minutes action, 5 min break. When I'm really stuck getting started on something (like clearing the kitchen up!) I might do 5 minutes bursts until I feel capable of doing more in one go. I've even used 5 minute bursts for getting reports written when I've been stalling on them.

                        Ruth
                        I use this all the time when I'm having trouble focusing on my work or getting started on a "yuck" task. I even have a timer shaped like a tomato!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I think you are right there. I've got a Someday/Maybe to visit the site again and distil the bits that would help me the most.

                          But we are getting rather off topic now.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Barb View Post
                            But I'll be damned if I'm cleaning my sink every night before I go to bed!
                            lol!

                            I am also a fan to breaking down large tasks into time-based chunks. I wish I could do the 15-pages method as I can see how that would be easy measure of how much you're doing. (15 pages of 230 pages certainly makes more sense than 15 minutes of 230 pages). But I've found that building the momentum, starting with 5 minutes at a time, really helps me crank through the less attractive tasks. I can do just about anything for 5 minutes. And after a few days of this I can crank it up to 10 minutes without feeling a pinch. And before I know it I've racked up 2 hours and then I can see the end result so clearly I just crank out the last 2 hours.

                            And I'm a huge pomodoro fan as well.
                            Last edited by enyonam; 06-23-2012, 02:49 AM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Sink Zero Club.

                              Originally posted by Barb View Post
                              I never leave dishes in my sink.
                              I am also in the Sink Zero Club. I wash the dishes right after eating.

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