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Think big and act small. Leslie Koch
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Discussion Forum > Easy things pushing aside the high-resistance things

Seraphim wrote (here: <<And my main point here is that there is always a constant flow of new easy things to pull me away from the hard things.

When I do get some breathing space and can allow myself to think and intuit, I can ignore the easy distractions and sort out the hard things more easily.>>

and later defined easy as "low resistance" and hard as "high resistance".

Mark Forster suggested that when you are in a low-energy state, it's actually a good thing that you can pick the low-energy things, and you shouldn't stress over that. Seraphim was not fully satisfied with that notion, and I can see why. If there is a need to put more effort overall into the important high-resistance items, a way needs to be found to do that.

I do not have a full answer to this conundrum. One little suggestion I have is to hack the autofocus list with tools to mediate your mental state. For this specific quote, I could add an item that reads "Take a moment to breathe, allow myself to think and intuit." Acting on that "task" does allow me to relax a bit and makes it easier for me subsequently to choose the more valuable tasks on the list over the less valuable.

I personally added "yield, relax" and "this year" to my list as shorthand for specific things I want to think about regularly, with the intent that they will alter my thinking patterns (and therefore doing patterns) in a positive way. It's a partial help.
August 10, 2017 at 3:14 | Registered CommenterAlan Baljeu
Alan Baljeu:

<< Mark Forster suggested that when you are in a low-energy state, it's actually a good thing that you can pick the low-energy things, and you shouldn't stress over that. >>

Perhaps I should have said a bit more about WHY it's a good thing to have low-energy things to do.

When you get into a low-energy state (and we all do), there are basically two things you can do:

1) Decide that everything's too difficult and goof off completely.

2) Work on the easy things on one's list until your energy picks up and you can work your way into the tougher stuff.

Option 2) therefore acts as a natural corrective to the low energy state.

Of course if you don't have any easy tasks on your list then Option 2 isn't open to you, and you only have the choice of goofing off or trying to psych yourself into tackling something.
August 10, 2017 at 11:40 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Don't forget the idea of just making a start on a high resistance/hard/difficult task, with a view to just spending a few minutes doing anything. Even just defining what you need to do next.

How many times have you then just carried on with the task to the end and all of a sudden it did not seem as bad as you first thought.

Try that, I think it is incredibly powerful.
August 10, 2017 at 17:30 | Unregistered CommenterMrBacklog
>> I could add an item that reads "Take a moment to breathe, allow myself to think and intuit." <<

This sounds to me an awful lot like 5T/3T aka no list "hammer" systems, when you are refilling the list. It is exactly what you are doing then.

And it worked for me very well. The 5T is not the most elegant in the collection, but I can say I had very good results with it.

Based on that I would say Alan is probably right and what he suggests works.

Thinking further, I can see that in RAF, during the DDD phase, you are doing something very similar. The difference being that you are dealing with "leftovers" not stuff fresh out from your mind.

But the basic pattern is the same: you sort and think and then tackle a set of tasks that you must do now in the given order.
August 11, 2017 at 2:57 | Unregistered CommenterChristopher
I find that having my tasks and notes going into one notebook helps me work on high resistance tasks. (I use my own system, which is similar to GSD). Just having one notebook makes it simpler for capturing everything. It just works so well for me getting ideas, sublists, sketches included as a way of breaking down high resistance tasks. I also do timebox tough tasks. For example, I've been rehabilitating my ankle following injury and the task that I can reliably fit in daily is 'timebox 15 min rehab' (done twice daily).
August 11, 2017 at 9:14 | Unregistered CommenterLeon
In your example, is timebox just a fancy word that can be completely ignored? 15min rehab says the same thing.
August 11, 2017 at 16:36 | Registered CommenterAlan Baljeu
Hi Alan, I wouldn't say it is 'fancy'. I do deploy the task as an actual timebox in that I set the exact time on my phone timer. It works really well for me as I hate doing rehab! It does help me to focus and do the work in what I consider to be a high resistance task.
August 12, 2017 at 9:01 | Unregistered CommenterLeon
When I can't decide what to do, it's usually because I'm bored, or scared of what will happen if I work on a project, or depressed. At times like that, I've learned from experience that my choices are limited. Try unsuccessfully to do what I think I should do, or successfully do something that's at least moderately useful.

One of my mantras comes from the Cat in Rudyard Kipling's story The Cat Who Walked By Himself. "All places are alike to me. Why should I not go too and see and look and come away at my own liking."

My version: "If all tasks are alike to me, then it does not matter which I do or do not do, so I may as well do one of my own liking."
August 18, 2017 at 16:57 | Registered CommenterCricket