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  • Developing the habit of looking at my lists

    I have beautiful NA and project lists. I am good at looking at my calendar each day (good, but not perfect) and ticking off the items which are marked as critical for that day.

    I am bad at remembering to look at my NA list and work from it.

    It's been suggested to me in the past that I try to do one thing from the list each day.

    Remember, I am bad at remembering to look at my NA list and work from it.

    This week's experiment is to build on my strength at looking at my calendar. I've created a "Tick a NA off the list" item which will show in my calendar. It will recreate itself the next day (Outlook 2007).

    I hope this will build the habit necessary. If it does, I'll notice the "post a response to this post" NA I have for Monday. It's undated so if I'm working well I'll pick it up.

    Wish me well,

    David

  • #2
    post-it near the desk?

    How about a permanent post-it somewhere near your desk which will be difficult to ignore? Saying something like "Have you looked at your NA lists today?"? That way you won't have to reschedule the reminder for the next day every day.

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    • #3
      I have the same problem. I have a beautiful Circa binder with all my lists and I forget to look at them. I now put a recurring reminder every 4 hours in Outlook. My blackberry reminds me when on the road, and my laptop does at the office. So far so good!

      Comment


      • #4
        Where are your lists?

        Where do you keep your lists? How is your work space laid out? The answers to those questions will help you find ways to keep your lists visible.

        For me, I spend a lot of my time at my desk in front of my computer -- but I keep my lists on paper. A copystand or copyholder near my monitor helps me keep my lists in view.

        Where do your eyes "naturally" come to rest around your workspace? Those places are great locations for reminders.

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        • #5
          For me, the Projects and Next Actions on my lists are so relevant to my life and work that it would be nearly impossible not to look at them regularly. There is real pain in my life if i don't look and process what's there. I look often because my system is truly a trusted system that holds everything going on in my world. Like breathing, my lists are an extension of my life.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by abhay View Post
            How about a permanent post-it somewhere near your desk which will be difficult to ignore? Saying something like "Have you looked at your NA lists today?"? That way you won't have to reschedule the reminder for the next day every day.
            A good idea but unnecessary as the task is set up to recreate itself automatically the day after it is checked off.

            David

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            • #7
              Originally posted by GTDWorks View Post
              For me, the Projects and Next Actions on my lists are so relevant to my life and work that it would be nearly impossible not to look at them regularly. There is real pain in my life if i don't look and process what's there. I look often because my system is truly a trusted system that holds everything going on in my world. Like breathing, my lists are an extension of my life.
              This is where I'm trying to get to.

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              • #8
                Capture!

                Since you say that you want to get to the point where looking at your lists becomes totally integrated into life, I offer this: the problem seems to be that either a) you have too many day-specific items to get done and so your days are being filled with those or b) too much stuff is still residing in your head or otherwise outside your lists and so you're able to "do" a whole day's worth of NAs without ever needing to look at your list. If it's A, not much you can do except check on your priorities and re-asses the "Do, Delegate, Defer" for your day-specific NAs to make sure they really all HAVE to be done that day. But if it's B, you might try to really capture *every single* NA, no matter how small.

                Once my day-specific actions are taken care of, and barring any unforeseen interruptions that have to be dealt with that very minute (any other interruptions get a careful listen and note that goes in my inbox), I have no choice but to look at my system in order to find the next things to do. I have literally gotten to the point on occasion where I can't even think of something that needs doing in a particular context because my mind trusts that the NAs are in the system. Of course, that's not frequently the case--I'm pretty convinced at this point that a mind like water doesn't necessarily mean that your mind isn't occasionally dancing over some of the NAs it is particularly concerned about or interested in. But if you really get into the habit of putting every NA into your system for at least a little while, even if the action is the very next thing you're going to do, you'll train your mind that it can trust your system, which will make it easier to use your system, which will mean you'll look at your lists more often. When the cycle works, it has lots of continuous momentum. (Of course the downside is when it doesn't work, it's a self-perpetuating problem!) Eventually you may find that holding in your mind some urgent things that you're not likely to forget is your status quo, and that's okay, IMHO.
                Last edited by jesig; 04-07-2008, 09:04 PM.

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                • #9
                  Look at lists more, trust system more, look at lists more, trust system more.

                  I agree fully.

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                  • #10
                    Perhaps the computer isn't the best place to keep your NAs and Project lists. That was certainly my problem. I ended up putting mine on whiteboards and paper, posted on the wall. That way, they're always visible.

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                    • #11
                      I have a similar problem

                      I don't review my NA's enough as well! My solution is (seems to work for the last week) I made a daily checklist of what i need to look at and stuck it on my laptop bottom left. The last thing I do at work is close my laptop, and I've noticed I naturally put post its there to remember.
                      It also helps to review the NA's before I go home, so I know what I'm going to do before I walk in through the front door
                      Best regards
                      Alec

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                      • #12
                        A week (or even two) later and I can report that my project is generating some success. I have been into my lists more than once. The first day I managed to check 7 things off in 1-2 hours.

                        Will keep the daily reminder going until I don't need to think about it anymore.

                        David

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                        • #13
                          Since you regularly look at your calendar, what about booking some of these NAs time on specific days. Having a generic "look at NA list" reminder in your calendar is too easy to ignore. Booking specific time to complete NAs will force you to complete them. It's also helpful to bunch 'like' items together so you maximize efficiency. For example, if you need to make a bunch of calls, maybe book 15 - 30 min to get them done. The same goes for a bunch of emails.

                          Nelson.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by quantumgardener View Post
                            A week (or even two) later and I can report that my project is generating some success. I have been into my lists more than once. The first day I managed to check 7 things off in 1-2 hours.

                            Will keep the daily reminder going until I don't need to think about it anymore.
                            Congrats!

                            Sometimes, we need those external reminders to help an idea sink in to our brains.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Try PingMe

                              Originally posted by quantumgardener View Post
                              I am bad at remembering to look at my NA list and work from it.

                              This week's experiment is to build on my strength at looking at my calendar. I've created a "Tick a NA off the list" item which will show in my calendar. It will recreate itself the next day (Outlook 2007).

                              David
                              Dave,

                              I have the same problem. I'm trying to use PingMe to solve it. It will send reminders out via email or SMS at predetermined intervals.

                              Joe

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