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  • I need my list in my face all day!

    OK -

    I've definitely come to grips with being a paper person. I need the entire month in front of me at once. I actually make my own calendars so that the boxes are big enough for my needs.

    I have my other information neatly written out as well (projects, NA, SM, etc...).

    My problem is that I need to have it IN MY FACE all the time or it's out of mind.

    Keep in mind that I'm a stay-at-home (not really ever at home) mom of three young kids and have two high energy Board of Trustee postions in the community. Between that "work" and the work of my home/family - there is a decent amount of stuff - but it's so hard to SEE when I'm not looking at it. I'm at a distractable spot - especially in the summer when everyone is home - but even during the school year I have a preschooler around all day.

    Has anyone suffered from the need to staple your list to your forehead? Any luck?

  • #2
    I am absolutely with you. Looking frequently at your lists throughout the day is a fundamental new habit, and takes practice. In fact, along with decoration and inspirational materials, it should be the *only* thing in your face.

    That said, when actually working your actions list, you want to arrange your physical and mental environments to support focus and flow, which - for me - means *not* having my lists in front of me. I read that the desk is a tool that's made for one thing: to work on one project at a time...

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    • #3
      I need list in face too!

      Going through my present crisis of several months of disarray, family and health problems, I realize that I need to have a list in my face because if I don't have it right there and look at it repeatedly, I don't get done what I intended to. So much of my work is done in isolation from others or arouynd people who are doing other things with entirely dfferent purposes and methods. When I was amdist various offices and organizations where there were people doing similiar things as I was there were so many cues around me regarding things that needed my attention and action that I did not need to refer to a list so much, either what colleagues were doing or saying or carrying around, things on bulletin boards, or memos on my desk served as the cues. Now that I work from home and am usually only in the office to perform direct services to clients, the cues for priorited work are competing with all the other cues, so unless the list I have made is in my face, I will stray way off into the wilderness.

      My problem: most of what is on my list is boring or frightening or reminds me of things that I wish were another way. I need to find ways to make these lists more attractive and attracting to me. Maybe build in some postive visualizations.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Jamie Elis View Post
        My problem: most of what is on my list is boring or frightening or reminds me of things that I wish were another way. I need to find ways to make these lists more attractive and attracting to me. Maybe build in some postive visualizations.
        Jamie, now that I've understood your problem (apologies for being so obtuse), I can say that I've been going through something similar. And I've had a certain amount of success with my system. Allow me to explain.

        First, I try to be as meticulous about NAs as possible. That is, the Next Actions must be as simple and robotic as possible, which makes them as divorced from the context as possible. It also makes them fast to do.

        So, for instance, I'm trying to get my finances in order. At the moment, I'm not making enough money to live on given my committments (mortgage etc), regardless of how frugal I am. That's very stressful, so I tend to be very resistant to issues of finance. Thus my NAs on this project are very tiny, individual steps, such as "print out budget for last fin. yr.", "find mortgage figures from budget and copy onto sheet", project current income for next fin. yr.", and so on. Tiny steps that I can accomplish that lead me (slowly, true) towards the goal, without rubbing my face in it.

        And when something stresses you, which leads to procrastination, you need to defuse that endocrine reaction in order to make progress. If you persist with stress chemicals swilling around in your system, you'll continue to associate bad feelings with everything you're doing. So the stress might permeate everything you do, not just the previously stressful things. That leaves you completely deadlocked.

        Another thing that works for me is to use a folder full of stickies as my NA list(s). I write each NA on a stickie note, and stick it inside a folder. That way, I can remove things as I do them, so the list stays pristine.

        The final thing that I've found helps is to ruthlessly prune my NA lists and my project list. At one stage, I was re-doing my project list and NA list almost every day, because otherwise I'd get so overwhelmed by all the stuff I had to do, and the unpleasant emotional connotations of it, that I'd just hide. So you might try picking a few things from your project list, shoving the rest into a Someday/Maybe list, and changing them around every few days.

        Finally, you might try the Unschedule and the calming routine from The Now Habit by Neil Fiore. It's about procrastination, but it works equally well for any emotional response to work.

        Good luck, and let us know how you're going.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Bottleblue View Post
          OK -
          Has anyone suffered from the need to staple your list to your forehead? Any luck?
          First of all: congratulations on getting stuff so completely out of your head when you have so many commitments pulling on you!

          I suggest you take ten minutes at the start of the day and extract a day-list of things you think will fit within your "hard landscape" of that day.

          Put the list on a post-it or on a small sheet you can easily carry with you. If you use a PDA, assigning things into a day-context can work.

          Check them off during the day and dump the checked off list into your inbox at the end of the day. You could probably just accumulate day-lists and check them all off during your weekly review.

          Good hunting!
          Tim

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