A few weeks ago I said that I was intending to have another go at the Resistance Principle. How have I been getting on with it? Well, the truth is that I found it exactly the same as in my previous attempts. After an initial period of success, my mind started to rebel against it and I found myself most days achieving only trivial tasks - and sometimes not even those.
However I then changed tack a bit. Instead of asking myself “What am I resisting (now this moment)?”, I changed the question to “What am I resisting the most (overall in my life)?” To be able to answer this question satisfactorily, I found it necessary to work off a task list. By marking the resistance I felt to each item on the list out of 100, I ended up with an ordered list of things to be done.
This worked brilliantly in getting some major outstanding projects completed. However the problem with this sort of approach is: “When do the low resistance items get done?” If writing an email to a friend has to wait until I’ve cleared all the items I’m resisting, my friend isn’t going to get many emails from me!
So what I am trying out now is an adaption of Colley’s Rule. For those of you who haven’t come across Colley’s Rule before, it is a method designed by a 19th Century mathematician for making decisions. It enables one to come up with a high quality of decision without all the stress of trying to find the “best decision”. According to the rule you draw up the specification for what you want, i.e. a four bedroom house within two miles of the nearest primary school, etc. and then take the first house you are offered as a benchmark. You do not buy this house, but instead buy the next house you are offered which is better than the first one. This has been shown mathematically to produce a very high quality of result.
You can apply Colley’s rule to all sorts of decisions. I’ve used it myself for such things as chosing a restaurant in a strange town, or deciding what to do on my day off. How can I apply it to the list of items I am resisting?
Well, in this case what I am doing to apply the Rule is to take the top item on my list as the benchmark, and move down the list until I come to a task which I am resisting more than the top item. Once I’ve completed that I take the next item on my list as the benchmark and move down the list until I come to a task which I am resisting more than the new benchmark. I continue working my way round the list using the same principle.
I find that this works very well. It ensures that all the high resistance items get done, while giving a chance for lower resistance items to get cleared too. As items tend to rise in resistance the longer one leaves them, there is a natural balance built into it. Using this method one can reduce the average resistance of one’s to do list very quickly. The lower the average resistance is, the quicker you can get through the tasks on the list.
As always, I want to stress that I am trying this out, not recommending it. That will come later - if it works for me!