Tuesday, February 01, 2011

One Step at a Time

Every endevour no matter how daunting is accomplished one step at a time

Have been reading David Allen's Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. I'm beginning to envision a future not too far off in which completing one of my novels will be as doable as completing an afghan such as the one I'm currently working on.

Since I continue to work apace (nearly) on the baby afghan, I continue to see the daily progress and the end product gets clearer and clearer as the stitches accumulate.

I was already thinking how nice it would be if I could make similar progress to that of the afghan on my stories, blog improvement, other needle/hook work, research and the myriad other projects I got going or want to get going on even before I picked up this book. Now, after reading less than fifty pages I'm beginning to see what I was doing right (so far) with the afghan project and how those behaviors can be translated to other projects.

Some of those 'doing it right' behaviors:

  • I had a clear idea of what the finished product was and what each interim step consisted of.
  • I had a deadline and knew how to spread the daily quotas of work somewhat evenly across the days available.
  • I had the supplies I needed.
  • I had a work-station conducive to the work.
Allen says that most of our stress is caused by trying to keep too much information in our memory and like a computer with overloaded RAM we will start malfunctioning.

His solution is to collect all of our To Dos--100%--in easily input and retrievable and regularly reviewed filing systems whether notebooks, PIMs, electronic or paper. And in those systems the outcome of each task/project should be made clear and each action/step toward that outcome defined as well as each dependency--tasks whose completion must precede the start of other tasks.

So far all I'm doing is picturing in my mind what such a list will begin to look like and it is quite daunting. But I realize after four weeks of steady progress on the afghan that what is missing in order to see similar progress on other projects, including the novels, is a clearly defined list of 'next actions' so that whether I find an unanticipated free time block or set designated ones, I will have a specific doable task to apply my attention to and be able to not fret over all of the yet-to-do tasks for I can be confident that each of them will have their appropriate turn.

Just as I don't need to fret about iteration 14 of the ten row pattern in the afghan while I'm working row 5 of iteration 11.

0 tell me a story:

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