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  • Big homogeneous tasks

    I wanted to ask you how do you put big homogeneous tasks in your system?

    For example sorting like 400 bookmarks that require you to visit each page to decide if you want to keep it and how to tag it.
    I have tried with action like "Sort 20 of bookmarks" which was recreated after each 20. But they may be other better way to handle it.

  • #2
    I've found next actions like "read 5 more pages of Moby Dick" don't work for me. I'd just put "process more bookmarks" on a list. I might defer the next iteration with a future start date or even someday/maybe it.

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    • #3
      I posted on another thread about my filing project. My Action of working on one file a day sometimes worked and other times didn't. Then this week something kicked in, time allowed and I just started taking bundles of files and working them. In a two day period I spent hours going through and working it.

      So, maybe by having your, work 20 bookmarks, you will do 40 one day, or a hundred. The important thing is to keep it in front of you.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by AGrzes View Post
        I wanted to ask you how do you put big homogeneous tasks in your system?
        I use a combination of time and amount. So for some things it's "Read 1 hour in latest book." but for others it's "Process 25 old sheep records into NSIP" or "Weave 6 inches on sampler fabric"

        If I find I am not getting them one I switch up how I write the next actions. If I was using time I make it amount and vice versa. That often gets me going on things I have been procrastinating on.

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        • #5
          I will either do exactly like what you suggested, "process 20 bookmarks"

          or

          I will schedule in time. So I will schedule in 30 minutes to "process bookmarks"

          So what ever I get done, it might be 10 bookmarks but then it might be 30 is not as important as just spending 30 minutes focused on the task.

          if I choose to do the time slot approach what i will also do is mark out how many bookmarks was I able to process in that 30 minute block.

          so if I were able to process 20 in 30 minutes, and I have 100 bookmarks total.

          Then I know that for the next 80 that are left it will take me 2 hours total approximately.

          and I will schedule this in 30 minute chunks where I figure I will be able to do 20 bookmarks in each chunk.

          This process works for me.

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          • #6
            Maybe going through 400 bookmarks is not worth doing? Or perhaps some sorting is desirable? You know, bank yes, kitten in tree video no.

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            • #7
              Hi, AGrzes!

              I'm purging and sorting old contact information and I find I get small chunks done when I'm sitting on the phone on hold, or waiting for a meeting to start or when I feel low energy, even. It's something that takes less brain-power than most other tasks, so I just slot it in wherever. Somehow that works... it feels like alchemy, but it works.

              And it doesn't sound like you have a looming deadline to get them all sorted, so that's in your favor, isn't it?!?

              I have NO idea if that helps you at all, in fact! Long day, brain out of gas...

              Dena

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              • #8
                Originally posted by mcogilvie
                Maybe going through 400 bookmarks is not worth doing? Or perhaps some sorting is desirable? You know, bank yes, kitten in tree video no.
                One of the option in sorting process is to throw them away but I still have go through each one to know which ones are junk.

                The other problem that I've found is that when I put target of for example sorting 20 bookmarks I tend to avoid the task when I'm not sure that I will do 20 in one sitting. Other way round when I put 5 I feel that I spend the same time managing actions as sorting bookmarks.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by AGrzes View Post
                  One of the option in sorting process is to throw them away but I still have go through each one to know which ones are junk.

                  The other problem that I've found is that when I put target of for example sorting 20 bookmarks I tend to avoid the task when I'm not sure that I will do 20 in one sitting. Other way round when I put 5 I feel that I spend the same time managing actions as sorting bookmarks.
                  Sorting through bookmarks is an excellent thing to do when you have a spare few minutes while on the phone, waiting for a meeting, et cetera. It's only a big task because you thing it's a big task; I'm sure you have more important things to do. I think there's a pretty good chance that you are resisting this chore precisely because a part of you thinks it's not worth your time. Here's what I suggest: take all the old bookmarks and put them in a folder marked "OLD as of DATE". If you find yourself looking for a bookmark in the next you-pick-how-many months and finding it in that folder, move that bookmark to another folder. At the end of the time period, either delete the folder or pick another future date to review it for deletion. This can be applied to all kinds of aging stuff: software, email, files, old clothes- all the stuff you think you "should" do something about.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by AGrzes View Post
                    The other problem that I've found is that when I put target of for example sorting 20 bookmarks I tend to avoid the task
                    Best way I've found to trick myself into doing that kind of job is to put a movie on in the background and sort them while I'm watching...

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by AGrzes View Post
                      The other problem that I've found is that when I put target of for example sorting 20 bookmarks I tend to avoid the task when I'm not sure that I will do 20 in one sitting. Other way round when I put 5 I feel that I spend the same time managing actions as sorting bookmarks.
                      Instead of making it twenty, you could make it "spend fifteen minutes sorting bookmarks". Or, just, "Sort some bookmarks." I suppose it depends on how much work it is for you to repeat a task in your system - in OmniFocus, I set it up to repeat and then it's no work at all. In a paper system, it's more work.

                      In a paper system, it occurs to me that I'd probably have a "spare time work checklist" on a separate piece of paper, maybe tacked to the wall. I'd have several tasks:

                      - Sort some bookmarks.
                      - Read a few pages from the To Read stack.
                      - File some stuff
                      - ...

                      and so on. Next to each one I'd have a line for checkmarks. When I had a few moments - meeting in ten minutes, on hold on the phone, software install has taken over my machine, leaving for the bus in twenty minutes - I'd grab the list and see which one has fewer checkmarks, or which one I feel like. I'd add a checkmark to that one and do the task in the empty time until the empty time was over. When a task is truly done, I'd draw a line through it.

                      This way, I'd get the functionality of "repeating" tasks without actually having to repeatedly write them anywhere.

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