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  • Creating and Managing Challenges?

    My challenge is to work 9 hours for 30 days, and the rules are to be working 9 hour and 30 minutes instead of 8 hours. To make this work though, I'm going to have mini goals in place, and one is to work 3 hours, then 4, then 5, and eventually I'll get to 9. Somehow, I'll start working 9 hours straight during the middle of my 30 day challenge though, so really I'll be working like 10-15 days of 9 hours.

    Okay. Now this is where the issue is for me: unlike your average project where you have a simple one-time next action, this one doesn't... or at least I don't see how? I want to make this challenge actionable and manageable, but I don't see it being possible with GTD. Here is my brainstorming so far, if this helps:

    1. Create a tracklist for keeping track of the days I致e dedicated myself to working 9 hours a day [completed already]
    2. Every morning, I知 going to wake up at 4:30am and start working at 5am, and get done by 3-4pm in the afternoon.
    3. I知 going to time myself while I work and work no more than 1 hour and 25 minutes. And I知 going to take 15 minute breaks.
    4. Every day I wrap up, I知 going to write down on my desk what my next action is for next time.
    5. Every day I wrap up, I知 also going to check and see if I致e worked 9 hours straight, and dot in my tracklist.
    6. After I wrap up today痴 work, if I have any additional things I forgot to do, I値l capture them into my input list.
    - I知 most likely not going to get it right the first day, so I値l just work my way up. First will be 3 hours, then 4 hours, then 5 hours, then 6 hours, then 9 hours. By working my way up, I値l be able to graduate into finally working 9 hours somewhere in the middle of my challenge.
    1.Work 3 hours
    2.Work 4 hours
    3.Work 5 hours
    4.Work 6 hours
    5.Work 9 hours
    - I may want to journalize my experiences behind this challenge as well.


    Oh yeah, and do I create a checklist for this?

  • #2
    Nobody??

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Jarod View Post
      Nobody??
      Hi Jarod,

      It seems to me that this is a case of taking control of the steps involved in learning a new habit. And as you say, neither GTD nor any other task management methodology that I am aware is designed specifically for that purpose, but this does not mean it cannot be done.

      One "brutal" way of doing it would to be to list the complete set of exact actions for each and every day - actions such as make note of start time, make note of end time, compare with target etc etc as you have outlined, and yes, to have all this in a checklist is probably a good idea.

      If I may generalize this a bit (or deviate) to something that I have some experience from - simpler scenario but with similar difficulties - is looong tasks; i.e tasks that will take many days or weeks or months to finish, but which there is no obvious way of breaking down into distinct steps. One way I have tried is create separate (repeat) tasks for each day's quota etc, and that works (you can check it off each day etc) but I generally have not found it to be worth the effort and the clutter, and in many cases there is no definite size of each day's quota - you can often skip some days and do more on other days etc. And I somehow usually feel (intuitively) if I am falling behind. If I had an awful lot of such tasks concurrently, then maybe I would have no choice but to do it in that kind of way systematically, but what I generally do with those is just keep them on the list until they are finished eventually. My memory may not be the best, but I can usually remember if I have done a fair share of it today or not. And since I use software I can easily star the task each day and unstar it after I have done it.
      Last edited by Folke; 11-18-2013, 11:12 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Strange goal.

        Originally posted by Jarod View Post
        Nobody??
        It is a strange goal: forcing yourself to work more instead of accomplishing more in less time.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Jarod View Post
          Nobody??
          Your challenge doesn't seem to have much connection to getting things done. Working harder and longer is not generally a goal in and of itself.

          Comment


          • #6
            Couple Questions ...

            Borrowing from the Natural Planning model, why? Not meant to be critical or sarcastic but I'd suggest spending some time brainstorming on that question. I do this all the time with things and ususally end up with ... Oh, THAT'S what I'm trying to do ...

            What horizon are we talking about? It doesn't sound like something you can mark off as complete or even something just to maintain. A goal or vision? What is success once you've arrived?

            Comment


            • #7
              @Folke
              I figured I'd needed to create a checklist while I was brainstorming this. I should've went with that. Don't know why I didn't before. I guess it's because I wasn't sure about how I should do it.

              And you just gave me an idea about keeping track of the challenge. I can integrate my challenges into my daily checklists. That way it will be more natural and I'll be more consistent with the upkeep of my challenge.

              I'll get back to you on this



              @mcogilvie
              @TesTeq

              Well this is my reason:
              After reading the GTD book, I came to the conclusion that GTD was all about managing actions so that I could focus on taking action more often and being more initiative. Realizing that, I figured that since the book also utilized checklists as a way of forming habits, I presumed that it was definitely possible to work 10 hours a day for 4 days straight — I just need to get use to it. And considering how I'm feeling after just applying this book for 2 weeks now, and compared to my other weeks before this book, I definitely feel confident about doing it. I believe it's 100% possible. I've done the math anyways, and 2 more hours a day isn't bad when you can get 3 days off to focus on your personal life and the direction of your career.

              But as I've mentioned in my thread, I know it's not going to be an overnight success thing, so I know it'll take some time and trial & error before I can get into the groove of it. Journalizing my experiences has always been useful for this type of situation. So I'm pretty confident about this idea.



              @Mark Jantzen
              Good idea when looking at projects from that perspective. I never thought of that.

              Hmm...

              Considering that it's a challenge that has to be achieved in 30 days, I would say it's a goal.

              And yeah, I borrowed from the natural planning model. All my project documents are outlined like this when I create them:
              • Purpose — Why I'm working on the project
              • Principles — Usually it's left empty
              • Vision — What I expect to happen after the project is done, and sometimes how I want the project to be done when it's finished
              • Solution — How I'm going to do it. This is also where my brainstorming is outlined and managed.
              • Notes — Just for quick access while viewing the project

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Jarod View Post
                @mcogilvie
                @TesTeq[/B]
                Well this is my reason:
                After reading the GTD book, I came to the conclusion that GTD was all about managing actions so that I could focus on taking action more often and being more initiative. Realizing that, I figured that since the book also utilized checklists as a way of forming habits, I presumed that it was definitely possible to work 10 hours a day for 4 days straight — I just need to get use to it. And considering how I'm feeling after just applying this book for 2 weeks now, and compared to my other weeks before this book, I definitely feel confident about doing it. I believe it's 100% possible. I've done the math anyways, and 2 more hours a day isn't bad when you can get 3 days off to focus on your personal life and the direction of your career.
                OK, so your PROJECT is to IMPLEMENT 4-DAY 40-HOUR WORK WEEK. Your NEXT ACTION was to design a schedule to transition to it, which you seem to have done. A checklist might indeed help you make the transition. OK, what's the NEXT ACTION? Which context list does it go on?

                Sorry, I think nobody understood what you wanted to do.

                Comment


                • #9
                  The Project outcome and the current situation is still not clear to me.

                  Originally posted by mcogilvie View Post
                  OK, so your PROJECT is to IMPLEMENT 4-DAY 40-HOUR WORK WEEK. Your NEXT ACTION was to design a schedule to transition to it, which you seem to have done.
                  The Project outcome and the current situation is still not clear to me. What is the starting point? Jarod wrote:

                  Originally posted by Jarod View Post
                  My challenge is to work 9 hours for 30 days, and the rules are to be working 9 hour and 30 minutes instead of 8 hours. To make this work though, I'm going to have mini goals in place, and one is to work 3 hours, then 4, then 5, and eventually I'll get to 9. Somehow, I'll start working 9 hours straight during the middle of my 30 day challenge though, so really I'll be working like 10-15 days of 9 hours.
                  So now Jarod works less than 3 hours per day. And for really creative, focused work it can be a really huge effort. I can't imagine working creatively 10 hours a day. Neither does Stephen King.

                  Originally posted by Stephen King "OnWriting"
                  The sort of strenuous reading and writing program I advocate four to six hours a day, every day will not seem strenuous if you really enjoy doing these things and have an aptitude for them; in fact, you may be following such a program already.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    @mcogilvie
                    Yup. I'm going to work 40 hours in 4 days each week until 30 days is up. And I didn't make the schedule yet because I'm still brainstorming it, but I made a list to bubble in the days I committed myself to this goal. It's just like using tallies to keep track of days, except I'm using dots instead of a line. This is the print right here.

                    I'm still brainstorming the project to see what all will be on my checklist though, and so far I've come to the conclusion that this challenge will require a strategic way to remind myself of this goal. So right now, I'm just looking for a way to not just depend on my lists and calendar as reminders.



                    @TesTeq
                    There's really no starting point yet. Right now, I'm still brainstorming, and so far, the current objective is to create a checklist, which itself requires more brainstorming because I'm not entirely sure what all will need to be on the checklist to make this challenge happen. And the current situation is me trying to turn my part time job into a full time job. I used to spend 3-4 hours on my part time job, and now I'm trying to take it full time with 10 hours now.

                    And I'm not exactly doing creative things 10 hours straight lol. I have to update work projects and do 2-3 hours of marketing/networking, which is like 3-4 extra hours altogether.
                    Last edited by Jarod; 11-21-2013, 08:29 AM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      In general, projects of the form "Do X for Y hours for Z days" tend to be a bit strange, because they often tend to boil down to a whole bunch of Next Action: Do X items. I'm not sure it's really a problem, per se. A similar sort of phenomenon comes up with those "Don't do X for Z days" type projects.

                      I could be wrong, but I don't think GTD itself typically has a lot to say about something which occasionally comes up on these forums: "Hey so I have Next Action: Do X on my next action list, but then I didn't Do X." Yep, you sure didn't.




                      Cheers,
                      Roger

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        @Folke
                        Hey, I told I would keep you updated. Here is my brainstorming. And I'm done setting up the project, so now I can implement it tomorrow morning. Your advice was really helpful man :
                        1. Create a tracklist for keeping track of the days I’ve dedicated myself to working 9 hours a day [done]
                        2. Create and update 4 checklists: one for when I wake up, one for when I start working, one for when I stop working, and another one for when I’m about to go to sleep. Two checklists I’m going to create are called “Startup” and “Shutdown.” The checklists I’m going to edit are my “Wake up” and “Sleep.” [done]
                        3. Research and take notes on how to transition from work mode to home life. [done]
                        4. Update my Wake Up checklist. [done]
                        a. See what I can do to make my morning routine better
                        5. Create a checklist named Startup. It will be used when I get ready to begin work:[done]
                        a. Open and review calendar
                        b. Open and review Next Actions list
                        c. Open and review Projects list
                        d. Open Focus Booster and setup a 45 minute session with a 15 minute break
                        e. If I have anything in my input list, review, process, and organize them.
                        f. Check my calendar for my current business task
                        g. Start working
                        6. Create a checklist named Shutdown. It will be used when I’m done working for the day:[done]
                        a. Estimate and write down how many breaks I took today.
                        b. Write down everything I was working on last.
                        c. Update my calendar, next actions, and project list.
                        d. On my desk, write on a sheet of paper what my next action will be for next time.
                        e. I’ll save, wrap up, and close all the material and opened files I was working on.
                        f. 30 day 10-hour Work Challenge: What is my current situation behind this challenge? And what can I do that’s better? Write it down.
                        g. If I have any new ideas, capture them into my Inputs list and process them.
                        h. Clean up my work area.
                        7. Update my Sleep checklist:[done]
                        a. At 9:20pm, go to sleep. [If there are extra things to do, capture them and put them into my Inputs list. I can deal with them tomorrow morning when I wake up.]
                        8. When this challenge is completed, average how many breaks I took total and per day.
                        9. Repeat this challenge again.
                        10. When this challenge is completed a second time, average how many breaks I took total and per day again.
                        11. Compare my first attempt to my second attempt to see if I’ve improved.
                        • The most breaks I can take per challenge is 270. If I can accomplish at least 220 breaks a challenge or average 8 breaks a day, then I can close this project and call it complete. If not, I’ll just try the challenge again.
                        • I’m going to wake up at 4:30am and start working at 5am, and get done by 3-4pm in the afternoon.
                        • I’m going to work in 45 minute bursts and take 15 minute breaks.
                        • To make this work, I’ll have to refer to my checklist throughout the whole day, every day for 30 days.
                        • I’m most likely not going to get it right the first day, so I’ll just work my way up. First will be 2 breaks, then 3 breaks, then 4 breaks, then 5 breaks, then 4 breaks, and eventually 9 breaks. By working my way up, I’ll be able to graduate into finally taking 9 breaks a day. And this will be somewhere in the middle of my challenge if I dedicate myself carefully.
                        1. Take 2 breaks
                        2. Take 3 breaks
                        3. Take 4 breaks
                        4. Take 5 breaks
                        5. Take 6 breaks
                        6. Take 7 breaks
                        7. Take 8 breaks
                        8. Take 9 breaks
                        • I’ll journalize my experiences behind this challenge as well.
                        • If I have any additional things I want to do for work, capture them into my input list.
                        • Without doubt, I’ll have to update my checklists from time to time so I can make transitioning in and out of work mode easier. So I’ll capture these tasks into my Inputs list for processing and updating my checklist.
                        These are my checklists:
                        Wakeup
                        Startup
                        Shutdown
                        Sleep

                        Enjoy !



                        @Roger
                        Hmm. I kinda agree with you because it's true that the book doesn't focus on that. But on pages 176-180 of GTD, the book gives a little light to checklists and uses an example of a woman who wants to exercise every day. To me, that's a sign that it's possible to fit a challenge into the GTD system. You just have to know how though. And fortunately for me, I realized that it was certainly possible if you merged your challenges into your daily checklists, which is exactly what I thought of when Folke suggested I use a checklist.

                        In GTD, checklists are mainly for forming habits and becoming familiar with what you're doing. And I know that if my challenge starts to become overwhelming, I have a checklist to help me get through it with less stress. And like Folke said, if that happens, I can make my checklist more brutal and add in more exact steps to ease the tension from the challenge. It's just brilliant. And that's why I both agree and disagree with you.

                        But I'm not trying to make it seem like I'm debating with you, because I'm not. I just felt like sharing this anyways because I'm happy I found a solution for this woohoo lol.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Jarod View Post
                          @Folke
                          Hey, I told I would keep you updated. Here is my brainstorming. And I'm done setting up the project, so now I can implement it tomorrow morning. Your advice was really helpful man :
                          I am glad if you had some help from what I said. And it is quite often a good exercise to go through things that your care about in detail, because it can make you discover things that you were unaware of.

                          But in all honesty, being an outspoken person, I must say that I am quite sure that I would not embark on this kind of "project" myself, and not in this way. If I myself had the aim to concentrate my work as much as possible in order to have more time off, I would probably just start doing precisely that and see how far I could take it. In other words, just try to get a bit more done every day and see how it goes.

                          But we are all different. I have never had much success in modifying my habits through discipline, planning, followups or rewards. But with a new or clearer insight I can change effortlessly, intuitively, naturally - so I have a tendency to favor contemplation over carrots and sticks even though it is a more uncertain gamble.

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