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  • Using an Unschedule

    As a chronic procrastinator I have to share this with any others out there. I have used GTD for 12 months. BUT, I still had problems acually sitting down and doing some of the work I had defined. I have recently read the 'Now Habit' and implemented an 'unschedule'. This has boosted my productivity incredibly. Does anyone else use an

  • #2
    I had some limited success with that, but my big problem was the discipline to write down what I was doing.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by neil007
      As a chronic procrastinator I have to share this with any others out there. I have used GTD for 12 months. BUT, I still had problems acually sitting down and doing some of the work I had defined. I have recently read the 'Now Habit' and implemented an 'unschedule'. This has boosted my productivity incredibly. Does anyone else use an
      As a chronic procrastinator myself (I'll see your lack of forward progress and raise you a, ..., ermm, ... , hmm, let me get back to you on that), this sounds intriguing. Intriguing enough to *mabe* invest the time to read the book. But can you briefly explain the 'unschedule' thing a bit more?

      tx

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      • #4
        With the "unschedule," you create a chart of your entire (24-hour) day, filling it in with all the things you do on a regular basis, such as eating, sleeping, commuting, and chores, and then you add in your appointments like meetings and medical visits. Then you specifically schedule in good stuff, like free time, leisure reading, time with friends, recreation, etc. The author advises to leave at least one day per week for recreation and for any "small" chores. Once you've created your "unschedule," then you only add in "work" AFTER you have completed at least 30 minutes of uninterrupted work. You can use the unschedule for various purposes. One is to make sure you have scheduled enough "guilt-free play" in your week. In theory, you will be able to settle down to work when you know you have some fun things planned. You can also look back over your week to see how much quality work you actually got done, thus focusing on the positive instead of on what you didn't get done. Reviewing it will also give you an overall awareness of your work patterns, such as helping you identify your most productive time of day to work.

        There are a number of tools that are part of the author's strategy for "overcoming procrastination and enjoying guilt-free play." I read the book recently and am finding it a challenge to apply all the tools. I think it is helpful to focus on one chapter or tool for the week or the month and start with that.

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        • #5
          Integrating GTD & "The Now Habit"

          I skimmed "The Now Habit" just to take advantage of this thread. I'm not sure Fiore's Unschedule is consistent psychologically with GTD.

          Is the idea to make the hard landscape, the calendar, more crowded to get more focus on getting the best of the available time ? Is it that we need to re-create ourselves to be productive and may as well schedule it ?

          Practically, in my case, I try to give my dogs exercise and meet folks I know at the local park. This can't be accomplished on a fixed schedule for many reasons, one being the weather. No one is there in the rain. Therefore, It doesn't really fit into a calendar format with a fixed time. Do the mechanics of fixed times interfere with the operation of the unschedule ?

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          • #6
            The Now Habit

            I tried The Now Habit and it didn't work for me. It was still a good read. And I would encourage others to try it. There is huge individual variation with what works.

            What I have found most effective for me is to set a goal and then to keep a log.

            Last year I set a goal to spend at least x hours a day doing real work. At first I didn't keep a log and I didn't meet my goal. I then started keeping a log and it was almost easy to meet the goal. You have to find what works for you.

            To eliminate bad habits I have used a point system. I give myself x points for each day that I do not, for example, bite my nails.

            What has been very effective for me is:
            1. Set a goal.
            2. Monitor my behavior.

            I teach one day a week. Last month I had to grade 25 papers in one day. This week I will set a goal of grading 5 each day. I will create a spreadsheet. On it I will write down Monday through Friday. I will write down how many papers I grade each day.

            I have an unwritten goal to eliminate processed sweeteners from my diet. Daily I keep a log of any unusual or unpermitted foods I eat.

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            • #7
              "Quality is Personal"

              I've read but not implemented (typically, for me) a great book called "Quality is Personal", by Harry Roberts and ? Sergesketter, that talks at length about using measurement systems in one's personal life to effectuate desirable change. It was [is?] used in quality training to help get trainees to understand how measuring something led to behavioral change.

              This is a rather different approach than "The Now Habit" takes, which is much more about getting positive emotion behind the desirable change, sometimes by psychological sleight of hand.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by moises
                What has been very effective for me is:
                1. Set a goal.
                2. Monitor my behavior.
                To which I would add:
                3. Reward yourself.

                One of my favorite rewards is the "tip jar." Every time I actually do whatever behavior I'm trying to reinforce, I throw a dollar in a jar. (The amount could be larger or smaller as desired. Enough to motivate you, but not so much that you need to raid the jar to pay ordinary expenses.) The jar then becomes "found" money that I can use for any toys related to the activity that I want. For example, you could give yourself a dollar for every X number of miles you run, then use the money to buy those expensive running shoes.

                Katherine

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                • #9
                  Unschedule

                  For me it worked because I have a lot of 'free' time with no meeting etc, and just looked at my lists as one long neverending load of work. With the unschedule you commit to work for at least 30 minutes only and then reward yourself. This is enough to get me started and I often work a lot longer once in the flow state. For me it addresses the problem of GTD - It defines work well, too well in fact because some of us see a neverending amount of work to do!

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                  • #10
                    Unschedule

                    The unschedule depends on you identifying 'Quality' work and your AAA projects. I define 'Quality' work as anything from my projects list (after prioritising as normal) , this means that (as long as wkly review is well done) I am focusing on work that I want to do rather than urgent work pushed on me.

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