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Do you tell yourself “I’m no good at languages”? If you do, you are fooling yourself. The real reason you failed is not because you are no good at languages, but because you are no good at being consistent. Mark Forster
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« Back from Holiday | Main | Procrastination Buster »
Wednesday
Aug012007

More on the Procrastination Buster

There are many other ways in which one can use the principle outlined in my previous post. Remember the aim is to make a difficult or unwelcome task seem relatively easier by pitting it against an even more difficult or unwelcome task.

One way you could do this if you have a long to do list is by having a rule that you have to action half the items on a page (rounded up) before you can move onto the next page. Each time you get to the end of the list, you start again from the beginning.

Since you’ll be constantly adding items to the last page, you can wait until the page is full until starting work on the items. That happens surprisingly quickly if you write down literally everything that you have to do!

Reader Comments (2)

Dear Mark,

I have been using this method as you suggested (I wrote to you about the troubles of organising when being a musician and having many different types of activity requiring different types of organisation).

I find it very helpful! It is quite flexible as I can use the same method whether I have an hour or three hours at my disposal. The only thing I miss is the feeling closed lists gave (even though I could never use it in its intended form as I never knew how much time I would get to do office type work). Instead I have adopted a limit system to my task list.

I have a someday task list with future ideas, and non-urgent items, and I have a current list. I limit the items in the current to 15 items (so I close it in a sense although things do get added). As I work through the list I go from top to bottom over and over again choosing the task that seems more appealing. Once a week I have a little review session where I check over the current list, and if there is space (which so far there has been) I add new items.

I also do as you suggested by collecting together the similar types of activity. So I move my current tasks around smaller sub-lists marked for the various activities. Online for action that has to happen online, a calls list, offline and so on. So I move the current stuff around depending on what the next thing is I have to do. This way I'm getting things done in batches whilst using the procrastination buster technique, and creating limits and a feeling of closing lists. I go through the list in an order where I do the activity I hate most first, and the thing i like best (online) last.and I go through using your rotation method from GED and create a stop time constantly. so I do 10 mins on each activity.

Incidentaly, I've been using this method in my musical practise too. starting with 20mins and adding 5 minutes every time I don't reach my designated goal. It is proving very effective!

I'm going to incorporate a little extra of yours the next couple of weeks to see how that goes: I will start all days with some of the tasks I see as being daily which is basically processing everything that has come in the previous day (I want to leave everything til the next day). So I sort papers, add tasks if necessary etc. Just sorting, reading and organising rather than doing.I then want to start with a current initiative. So every week at my little weekly review time I will put a little star "*" by the project I want to start with first once the time becomes available for the first 10 min slot. I am presuming on days where there is time I will come back to the current initiative through the activity rotation. I will let you know how this works out.

So I'm not doing things exactly as you have laid out in your books, but I'm using lots of the techniques and methods of yours slightly adapted. What do you think?

All the best

Simon
August 10, 2007 at 12:07 | Unregistered CommenterSimon
Hi, Simon

I'll be interested to see how you get on. There's nothing "sacred" about my methods. I always try to resist people making them into some kind of Holy Writ. You are encouraged to experiment with them and use things that work for you.
August 18, 2007 at 10:01 | Registered CommenterMark Forster

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