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I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. J. K. Rowling
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« DIT2 Progress Report | Main | ... and I thought I was unique »

Take care of the pre-conditions

While working on my list early yesterday, I came to a task “Buy notebook”. I passed by it saying to myself:

“I haven’t got the car out yet, so I’ll do it later.”

By the time I got to the end of the list I had passed by several other errands for the exactly the same reason. Then on the next pass round the list when I came to the same task again, I still hadn’t got the car out. So I passed the task by again. (Perhaps I should explain that my car is garaged a short walk away from my house).

I suddenly realised that most of these tasks had been hanging around for several days simply because I had only finally got the car out when it was time for evening meetings - by which time it was too late to do any of the tasks.

Looking through my list I could see that many other tasks had similar pre-conditions which weren’t getting addressed.

Anyway, I put “Get car out” on today’s list, and the result is that a whole stream of tasks got done which had been hanging around. I also spent a bit of time identifying other pre-conditions which were holding things up and made sure they were dealt with too.

If you’ve got some tasks which are “sticking”, have a look at what you’re saying to yourself when you pass by them. “I’ll do it later because…”

Then tackle the “because”!

Reader Comments (3)

Errands of that sort are one of the things I tend to generate a separate list for... I'll put them on my main AF list and then as they pile up, migrate them to an "errands" list and just put "Run Errands" on my AF list. Then I figure out when I'm going to be out and try to knock off all the errands in one go (more efficient in terms of time AND fuel usage!).
January 28, 2010 at 14:10 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Thank you for addressing this. I asked some similar questions to this some weeks ago regarding pre-conditions that are external - i.e things that can only be done if the weather contributes favourably.

I have found that if those conditions keep coming up, then rather than keep bumping the tasks off the list or back to the end, it helps to create a separate list of "errands" , "Garden work" or whatever. Your adding the simple step of putting the group on the list as a whole makes the subsystem complete.

I am really relieved to no longer have to worry about that end-of-day feeling of having missed the window.

Looking forward to your DiT extensions supplement for AF
January 28, 2010 at 15:23 | Unregistered CommenterRoger
I have never thought about it before but the "becauses" are probably the majority of why I put individual things off. For instance, today my daughter asked me to get milk...something other than my "nasty vanilla soy milk." It's 11:46pm and I haven't went yet (and won't) BECAUSE I went by the grocery stores at the wrong times (morning heavy traffic and afternoon heavier traffic). Tomorrow (I promise) I will start examining my "becauses."
May 26, 2010 at 5:50 | Unregistered CommenterMary Segers

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