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« Getting Going Again: Day 20 Update | Main | Exceedingly busy people »

Getting Going Again: Day 18 Update

There are a couple of lessons that I have been learning:

1) How easy it is to go wrong

My failed experiment has had a severe knock-on effect, not helped by the fact that I have been out of the office a lot in the second half of this week. As a result I have not succeeded in re-establishing the Do It Tomorrow system. Today I am conscious that I am beginning to slip behind badly. Now this is the point at which a lot of people start saying things like: “I’ve got too much to do to use DIT at the moment. I’ll get back into it when I’ve caught up with my work.”

What they should be saying of course is: “I’ve got too much to do NOT to be using DIT at the moment. I’ll get back into it straight away and then I’ll easily catch up with my work.”

2) How easy it is to get right again

To get back on top of my work I need to do three things:

  1. Admit that I have got behind and declare a backlog.
  2. Draw up my normal Will Do list for Monday and put “Clear Backlog” as the Current Initiative.
  3. Get moving on the Will Do list on Monday.

That’s it! What could be simpler? I’m now instantly back on top of my work!

Related articles:

How to Get Rid of Backlogs

Previous posts in “Getting Going Again”

Buy Do It Tomorrow

Reader Comments (9)

Hi Mark
I don't see where you failed at all! so what if some of the checklist items backed up a bit....same thing would have happened if you were on a pleasure or business trip or you were running a weekend seminar, yeah? ....or God forbid, a loved one was in the hospital....

I guess I must have a more flexible attitude because of my disabilities. My criteria is if I'm holding true to both my personal aims and my obligations to others, then I won't sweat a bit of fluctuation in my productivity flow. I don't see where that philosophy can't suit non-disabled people as well!.....From what I can deduce from your entries, you're WELL AHEAD with the *top down* stuff.....the bottom up stuff is always quick and easy to get back on track with.LOL!

Nope,....I'm not going to buy into your overly harsh self evaluation! LOL!

Keep on! You're doing just fine!


March 8, 2008 at 16:19 | Unregistered Commenterlearning as I go
Hi, Vickie

I think you misread my posting a bit. The "failure" related to my experiment with the 7-30-7 system - and it was the system that failed not me!

The current posting is about how to get back on track when one has fallen behind a bit. Rather than struggle to catch up, declare a backlog and then you are immediately back on top of things.
March 8, 2008 at 17:47 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Hi Mark
yet, again......oops! I apologize! LOL! I'm not the most reliable reader....*sigh*....but I am glad that my worries are unfounded!

March 8, 2008 at 18:10 | Unregistered Commenterlearning as I go
What about the self audit?


I find a disturbing discrepancy between your earlier joyful declaration that, after falling into Error, "this is all it took and now I'm back running the DIT system" (or words to that effect) and yesterday's frank admission that "I have not succeeded in reestablishing the Do It Tomorrow system"

When can you safely judge that you have the system running? When can you start to trust the system?

Is it as simple as monitoring your task ageing or some sort of Days' Tasks Outstanding statistic for a couple of weeks to check that you have your commitments, available time and efficiency balanced?

I find that declaring (or admitting) a backlog delivers an instant hit of energy and confidence, but I'm not so good at disentangling the overcommitments, inefficiencies and overscheduling that will lead me to the same place in a couple of weeks.

Can you lead us through your analysis of:
- how you determine that it's not right
- what led you to this state and
- how you have addressed the underlying issues?
(obviously disguising any details which are, frankly, none of my business).


March 9, 2008 at 9:17 | Unregistered CommenterWill
Dear Will

I'm sorry to have disturbed you. I obviously didn't describe what happened clearly enough.

The DIT system worked perfectly. The reason I fell behind was that I tried an experiment early in the week with a different system that didn't work out (that's the drawback of being me - I'm always experimenting with new systems rather than sticking with what I know works - but then that's how I developed DIT in the first place).

Because I wasn't in the office much during the rest of the week, I wasn't able to catch up with the backlog caused by the failure of the experiment.However in this situation it is in fact very easy to get back on track as I describe.

The audit procedure wasn't necessary as I already knew what was wrong. (Or if you prefer, you can say the audit procedure showed that the reason for getting behind was the failed experiment).

My analysis is:

1) If you can't catch up with your Will Do list for 3 or 4 days running then you should carry out the audit procedure.

2) You shouldn't continue to struggle to catch up once you have fallen seriously behind but instead should declare a backlog.

1) and 2) must always go together.

March 9, 2008 at 12:23 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Hi Mark

Maybe we're quibbling about semantics! LOL! When you stated to Will above:

"2) You shouldn't continue to struggle to catch up once you have fallen seriously behind but instead should declare a backlog."

the words "seriously behind" sets off a loud and frightening alarm similar to the "bomb/airaide alarms of World War II" and flags waving desperately. My vision here is a Navy Signal Man on the deck of a flight carrier furiously waving his flags to guide in a drunken fighter pilot! LOL!


March 9, 2008 at 13:52 | Unregistered Commenterlearning as I go

The airplane landing on a carrier is not a bad simile. If the plane is a little bit off course, the pilot can correct and still make a safe landing. If it is seriously off course, then he needs to abort the landing and come round again.
March 9, 2008 at 15:09 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Hi Mark
LOL! So true. I don't know why I think in pictures so much but they seem to guide me better than phrases in my mind. I'm glad that you didn't accuse me of being daft! LOL!
March 9, 2008 at 16:12 | Unregistered Commenterlearning as I go
I found this article on Willpower and thought you might find it interesting:

It seemed to go with some of your observations on relying on structure / coming up with easier ways, rather than leaving things to self-discipline. It's a finite resource!

I've still got a ways to go...
March 9, 2008 at 22:15 | Unregistered CommenterSangrail

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