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Discussion Forum > Excuse Log -- It Works

After two weeks of erratic use, and two weeks of strict use, this tool is now one of my favourites.

Make a list of what you want to do today. Tonight, for each and every item, record whether you did it, and if not, why not. A few words is enough. Some experts add a column for "plan to fix", but I find it happens automatically.

Daily works best for me. My memory is fresh. It gives me rapid feedback, and day after day of "didn't feel like it" catches my attention more than once in a weekly review.


I've learned:

It's often less painful to do the work (especially with LAO) than to write the excuse.

I use illness as an excuse too much. "Didn't do easy thing A (which became a real problem), because easy thing B wasn't done, because easy thing C wasn't done, because I was sick." I could have done all of them if I had paced myself.

No time to cut veggies for lunch occurred more often than I expected. Definitely worth preparing in big batches. (The surprise wasn't that it worked, but that I had so few healthy lunches when I didn't.)

Prepared veggies rotted occured only one week, Friday. Again, easy enough to fix now that I can't ignore it. Eat the grapes on Monday and carrots on Friday.

It's easier to keep momentum than regain it.

There is no magic time window for many tasks, between feeling too early and being too late.

I need better off timers for novels, video games, and social media.

Limiting myself to a few projects doesn't work. If I can't work on those for any reason, I waste time. I need a variety of projects, with different needs for location (office is in living room, also used for exam-destressing and camp packing), focus, and activity level.
July 6, 2017 at 17:48 | Registered CommenterCricket
Sounds a little bit like what nuntym was saying about Theory of Constraints's Thinking Process, such as the current reality tree. You look at what is contributing to an undesired effect, and which affects are causing other effects. That makes it easy to start fixing what's causing problems.

Your excuses log is focused on using a list for today then checking on what's causing them not to be done. I like this idea!
July 7, 2017 at 18:06 | Unregistered CommenterDon R
Forcing myself to write out why I didn't do it is part of the magic. Thinking, "I only did it once this week, I'm just a lazy lump," and moving on to the next is very different than writing the reason, six times.

This week, I didn't get much done at all, or so I thought. Then I forced myself to do the excuse log. I had many short but high-focus, very draining events. Most of the projects I was avoiding needed energy and focus. Working on them would have been counter-productive. So, instead of helping me focus on the problems, it reassured me that I actually did pretty well.
July 14, 2017 at 20:41 | Registered CommenterCricket