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How to Get From Micro Manager to Captain & Commander (..or at least crazy maker?)

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  • How to Get From Micro Manager to Captain & Commander (..or at least crazy maker?)

    After having practiced GTD since late 2007 and experimenting with the form almost weekly since, I can fully admit to myself and you, that I fall in the micro manager category. Like you, I've gotten in the zone from time to time and been in captain and commander mode and the true learning experience with GTD is in seeing and learning my own habits in regards towards how to better and more easily fall into that sweet spot on a consistent (and daily) basis.

    I mention "at least get me to crazy maker" mode in the title of this thread so to at least reach the other end of the productivity spectrum and see what each side has to offer, in hopes of inching closer towards "in the zone," C&C mode.

    If you've practiced, and honestly fiddled with GTD, in how you interact with it, then i'm sure you've landed on all quadrants of the GTD spectrum. I for one fall into that Micro Manager category on most days, and other days not even wanting to open my OmniFocus list; while other days I'll blast through all my actions with not only the intent of completing said actions, but also (at times) going back and making sure I completed them right and to the degree I consider my successful outcome.

  • #2

    Interesting. Wow. I'm not even at the level of knowing which end of the spectrum I fall on.
    I guess I fall into a natural balance as time dictates.

    If I had lots of time and was bored (which hasn't happened to me for 20 odd years) then I would spend lots of time on GTD stuff.

    Of course GTD saves time and stress in the long run...so I guess I naturally fall into a rhythm where the time I'm giving it is around that tipping point of how much pay-off I'm getting from it. Don't want to fall into that "doing it for it's own sake" trap

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    • #3
      Originally posted by HappyDude View Post
      I mention "at least get me to crazy maker" mode in the title of this thread so to at least reach the other end of the productivity spectrum and see what each side has to offer, in hopes of inching closer towards "in the zone," C&C mode.

      If you've practiced, and honestly fiddled with GTD, in how you interact with it, then i'm sure you've landed on all quadrants of the GTD spectrum.
      Interesting. I am almost always in the Crazy Maker quadrant. I've been taking the GTD-Q test off and on since 2009 or so. I've been in the Crazy Maker quadrant 15 times, Captain and Commander 7 and Responder once. For me Crazy Maker happens all the time because I have many varied interests. I work for myself so I am CEO, CFO, Shipping, labor etc. etc. etc all at once. I program computers, spin yarn, weave, knit, quilt, sew and make scrapbooks. I take photographs, have dabbled in pen and ink drawings watercolors, oil pants, chalk pastels and naalbinding,. I can play recorder and French horn but haven't done anything musically for years. I'm interested in history, read science fiction, crime novels and techno thrillers, love genetics and am involved in local food and organic and alternative agriculture. I enjoy shooting sports and have hunted and fished when I can. I enjoy talking about medieval armor and space cities sometimes with eh same person and in the same conversation. I've enjoyed travel when I've done it and would like to do more. I serve on 2 boards of directors, one our local ditch company and one a sheep association. I am active in local and national politics, writing letters, attending meetings and generally working to try to further the goals I consider important.

      For me the problem is not what fun and interesting things there are to do, see, learn or experience but how can I possibly narrow the selection down to something manageable right now.

      My goal is to try to get closer to Captain and Commander more of the time. I'd love to feel I am not falling behind with more things to do that I have time to do them in.

      So to get there, what are the secret dreams you have now or had as a kid on what you wanted to be? What hobbies do you enjoy now or think you might enjoy? What is the one thing you never did as a child that you wanted to? Can you do that thing now? Brainstorm the wild and crazy off the wall scenarios and then see if there are elemenets in there you want to actually do.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by ConnorBryant View Post
        Interesting. Wow. I'm not even at the level of knowing which end of the spectrum I fall on.
        I guess I fall into a natural balance as time dictates.

        If I had lots of time and was bored (which hasn't happened to me for 20 odd years) then I would spend lots of time on GTD stuff.

        Of course GTD saves time and stress in the long run...so I guess I naturally fall into a rhythm where the time I'm giving it is around that tipping point of how much pay-off I'm getting from it. Don't want to fall into that "doing it for it's own sake" trap
        To this day I firmly hold the GTD methodology, with the assistance of OmniFocus, of having catapulted personal success in different areas of my life. This isn't to say I've always gotten it right, or that i've completed most of my successes. Conversely, GTD has allowed me to handle more on my plate, from helping me enroll and graduate from a top university, travel numerous corners of the world, embark on totally new endeavors from reading to drawing my own personal definition of success in different aspect; all by the age of 25. I'm not always "on" or on "fire" but throughout the years i've certainly seen the benefit this methodology will have impressed upon me within recent years (since I turned 18 ) and years to follow. I've taken GTD and OmniFocus with me from rural cities in China, to the highest peak in Japan and to the classroom in the U.S. on a daily basis. I feel i've learned a bit about constantly changing contexts and running on zombie mode from time to time.

        Sometimes I'm on zombie mode, finishing actions and not having my mind focused on the action itself, but nonetheless getting it done. Other times on the opposite zombie spectrum, I'll avoid my action's list for weeks and at times a month or two at a time.

        Realizing the set patterns as an individual that I fall under, and hence tricking my body, physiology to further get into the zone has been the biggest challenge. It happens, but I feel it comes down to believing that #1 you are your weekly review, and #2 you are not your weekly review:

        #1 The reason I get up in the morning and do what I do is because of the items in my OmniFocus system. I've taken the time to predefine them. These predefined actions and accomplished have been placed by me to see success and reach purpose.

        #2 I'm not my weekly review because at the end of the day the lesson is to not take it too seriously. As a human, I can and have had the freedom and confidence to shut off the GTD methodology and OmniFocus and just BE. Just go about in the moment and just do whatever it is I wish to do. If that is nothing, that's okay too... but too much of this thought isn't good, which is why #1 needs to be discussed with #2.

        I believe as well GTD saves stress in the long run and there's a relaxed elegance i've noticed when it comes to tackling actions (essentially doing things and not seeming stressed cause you're in control; something I've noticed many people flatter me on. Some seek advice, others rebel at my ease). Finally, your last sentence, "Don't want to fall into that "doing it for it's own sake" trap rang a bell of previous history in considering i've fallen in between the GTD wagon and a wall, in a sort of purgatory state where I tell myself that I should be doing GTD but am not really invested so i'll create pointless busywork; but that's a different topic.


        Originally posted by Oogiem View Post

        My goal is to try to get closer to Captain and Commander more of the time. I'd love to feel I am not falling behind with more things to do that I have time to do them in.

        So to get there, what are the secret dreams you have now or had as a kid on what you wanted to be? What hobbies do you enjoy now or think you might enjoy? What is the one thing you never did as a child that you wanted to? Can you do that thing now? Brainstorm the wild and crazy off the wall scenarios and then see if there are elemenets in there you want to actually do.
        My personal current issue resides in wanting and having too many things I want to accomplish in the coming weeks and months. Depending on the day such actions will lead to a burnout, before of after being productive during any said day. Therefore, I've been placing some items on hold for the time being, wanting to focus on the most important/pressing. This includes looking for work, health aspects and some things w/ relationships. As an aside, I've Responsibilities - Maintanence folders that house recurring projects/actions; how do I maintain and manage the ship running. You don't finish these; it's maintenance; relationships, reviewing personal finances, health, meditation, exercise..etc.

        HappyDude Micro Manager begins when I couldn't jump in Captain and Commander mode (because this is where anyone would want to be). Just out of habit I'll fall into Micro Manager mode hoping perhaps on some subconscious level that going back to the drawing board will be exactly the final touches I need before firing the pistol in C&C mode.

        Oogiem Crazy Maker mode (and this will be general) comes in when you couldn't jump into C&C mode, and again just by random chance out of personal habit, you'll bring out your version of the drawing board and draw up ideas as high as the horizon can see with big color makers and pencils. The only difference being the Micro Manager is busy organizing the markers on the desk (thinking a clean desk is a clean mind).

        Oogiem, if you'll allow continue within my example here, both you and I can easily fall into the bottom left quadrant of being a victim/responder; an easy feat if we turn off our systems, an inevitable result of slacking off and throwing our dreams and successes to the wind. Headache resides here in the bottom left quadrant cause sitting idly sucks, especially for one having ambitions and knowing of a foundational system such as GTD to use.

        In my personal opinion, this whole topic is about the Captain and Commander mode. It's about pushing yourself into that quadrant from any of the other 3; and how in some ways the Micro Manager and Crazy Marker are in a more vulnerable position to be poisoned by these areas in the long run. A seasoned GTD user, in my opinion, recognizes that the push from these 2 quadrants is the final 10% in constantly hitting the mark every time. As mentioned, this whole topic is about C&C mode and different people fail to hit that level on a consistent basis; for different reasons from fear of failure, fear of success, lack of congruence/confidence, etc etc. - Not to mention most of us implement this methodology on a single basis, knowing of no one else in the physical world that take their productivity seriously. But to the point, hitting it hard so as to fall into the C&C mode, recognizing what attracts you and repels you to that mode and becoming aware of when you fall into the other quadrant traps is what this is about.

        My current hurdle: Going for the big rocks first and letting the rest of the smaller rocks and pebbles fall in. Lately I've been nick-picking at the small projects in hopes it'll motivate me to go for the big ones. Long story short, this route doesn't work.

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        • #5
          I used to hit crazy-maker half the time, but now I pretty much stay in Captain and Commander. I never landed in the oter two quadrants.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by bcmyers2112
            Not thrilled to admit this... but every time I've taken the test -- Victim/Responder. Which is kinda funny because I'm board president for a small arts non-profit and the unsolicited feedback I get from the other board members is that I'm really good at it. But I seem to have trouble applying it in the other aspects of my life.
            \
            Unfortunately, board president of any small non-profit is victim-responder a lot of the time. And guess which quadrants big donors fall in? The tend to crazy-maker if you are lucky, but micromanager all too often.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Oogiem View Post
              I work for myself so I am CEO, CFO, Shipping, labor etc. etc. etc all at once. I program computers, spin yarn, weave, knit, quilt, sew and make scrapbooks. I take photographs, have dabbled in pen and ink drawings watercolors, oil pants, chalk pastels and naalbinding,. I can play recorder and French horn but haven't done anything musically for years. I'm interested in history, read science fiction, crime novels and techno thrillers, love genetics and am involved in local food and organic and alternative agriculture. I enjoy shooting sports and have hunted and fished when I can. I enjoy talking about medieval armor and space cities sometimes with eh same person and in the same conversation. I've enjoyed travel when I've done it and would like to do more. I serve on 2 boards of directors, one our local ditch company and one a sheep association. I am active in local and national politics, writing letters, attending meetings and generally working to try to further the goals I consider important.
              Wow!
              I assume your day has 24 hrs like mine.
              Are you that organized in sense of disciplined to do all that?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Tom.9 View Post
                Wow!
                I assume your day has 24 hrs like mine.
                Are you that organized in sense of disciplined to do all that?
                Yes 24 hours a day. GTD is a godsend to me, w/o it I couldn't manage half of what I do now. For example: I love to knit spin and weave. Before GTD I'd start 3-4 knitting projects, have one weaving project on each loom and another 3-4 in the planning stages and maybe have 2-3 bags of roving by my spinning wheel. When I made some time to work on those hobbies I was fragmented. Now with GTD I can safely stash all the projects and ideas I want to do in my Someday/Maybe list. I try to only work on one in each craft at a time. If I get a wonderful idea for another or for something I am not actively working on I can easily add it to my project support materials for that project even if it is in someday/maybe. So I tend to do 2-3 knitting projects a year but serially. I rarely knit in summer just like I rarely do much with scrapbooks in summer but I rarely do shooting sports in winter. Weaving I can have as many going as I have looms (3) but I found that I did better if I do one on one of my looms and one in the planning stages. Spinning is now one batch of roving at a time, never more than one going at once. We have a set time for shooting sports practice and I now try to spend the last half hour before bed reading something from my ever increasing reading list. So ti all works out that all the things I consider important are moving forward at a steady pace.

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                • #9
                  My day has 12 hours only.

                  Originally posted by Tom.9 View Post
                  I assume your day has 24 hrs like mine.
                  Unfortunately I shamelessly sleep 6-8 hours, eat, take a shower, so my day has 12 hours only (best case).

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by TesTeq View Post
                    my day has 12 hours only (best case).
                    No, you've made it a priority in your life to get plenty of sleep. You choose how to spend the same 24 hours everyone has in ways that work for you.

                    FWIW I usually sleep 9 hours or so. I don't use an alarm clock but instead just follow my natural rhythm. I sometimes take naps in the afternoon too. What I do though is try to be very aware and active on things I am doing when I am doing them.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by bcmyers2112
                      I collapsed from exhaustion just reading Oogie's posts.
                      Remember I don't all that at one time

                      However today was a typical day, Breakfast, Morning coffee while I read news, forums and process overnight e-mails. Half hour of phone calls trying to find hay and get slaughter dates for sheep. 45 minutes feeding sheep, delivered 24 bales of hay to ewes. 2 hours updating my sheep database and running bench tests of ConvertToEID. 1.5 hours putting EID tags into all adult breeding rams using LambTracker. One ram leapt out of the chute. He got a Bad Behavior note in his record! 3.5 hours verifying the database additions from the sheep work, trying to incorporate some UI changes that caused the program to crash so fixing those.. I'm still debugging stuff so I have to verify all work I do with my LambTracker program by hand against the paper updates I am also keeping. I also have to change the program as we discover that where things are on the screen doesn't' work when trying to hang onto a ram in a chute and remove tags and apply new tags. Right now it's taking twice as long to do stuff because I do it once with LambTracker and once again when I get back inside. This will eventually stop but for now it's critical for the debugging/development work. Half an hour doing afternoon chores. hour and half cooking and eating dinner. I'm here on the forums now because I missed my normal morning chunk and soon we're going to watch an episode of Riley Ace of Spies. Then I'll try to process some of my paper inbox (maybe even most of it), read for half an hour or so and then to bed. I'll start a major system wide backup before I go to bed and leave my machine running overnight to finish it.

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