Day 1 will cover all of Chapter 1. Chapter 2 will take a bit longer. Mr. Allen entitled Chapter 1 as A New Practice for a New Reality.
Old, ineffective tools for organization are discussed in this chapter. I know what hasn’t worked. I need to find a solution to that problem by finding what does work, so most of this chapter was not that useful to me. How our jobs keep changing, along with work no longer having clear boundaries is explained, but I already know all that stuff. What I’m looking for is a new idea, a new approach, something that will work with my deranged, attention-deficit, procrastinating brain and get me on the path to organizational bliss, a life free from utter clutter chaos.
I do like the “mind like water” simile: “In karate there is an image that’s used to define the position of perfect readiness: “mind like water.” Imagine throwing a pebble into a still pond. How does the water respond? The answer is, totally appropriately to the force and mass of the input; then it returns to calm. It doesn’t overreact or underreact. . . Clearing the mind and being flexible are key.” I realize, as I’ve studied martial arts, you don’t need muscle or strength to break a board. It’s all about speed, balance and relaxation. To bring anything to completion is to have a “mind like water.” Ok, I get that. Makes sense.
Many of us lose it when we are overloaded with work, with stacks of stuff all over the place and it’s up to us what we do with all that mess. Do you get overwhelmed? I know I do. Can you get yourself easily back in the zone? I can, if I get focused. Remember that attention-deficit thing, though? I’m trying to retrain my brain to learn how to “get and stay” in the zone, at work, and at home. My mind tries to escape doing whatever it is I know I need to be doing, just because I don’t want to face it. At work, it’s mostly filing stacks of papers. I don’t want to look at it. Same thing at home. So, I try to find all the other stuff that needs to be done so I can avoid what I don’t want to do. I need to face it and get in the zone. I know that once I start filing, I can get in the zone and actually like it and know I’m accomplishing something. It’s sort of like beginning the gym or going to church. It’s hard to get started and to do the thing, initially, but once you start, you actually enjoy it and you are happy with yourself for going.
Speaking of church, we are trying a new one today, so please say a prayer that we each (Hallie, Mama and me) love it.
“Open loops,” or “incompletes,” as Mr. Allen calls them, are “defined as anything pulling at your attention that doesn’t belong where it is, the way it is.” In order to deal with these open loops, you must collect them and then plan how to handle them.
First, write it down; get it off your mind; get it onto paper or your computer – all in one place so you’ll know where it is, remember where to find it and make it easily accessible. This is what Mr. Allen refers to as the collection bucket.
Second, we decide what to do to make progress on the collected item – what to do to bring the thing to completion.
Third, after deciding what action needs to be taken per item, keep your reminder(s) on a regularly reviewed system. My choice is my computer, because I can make changes as I add things to the list, take action on the things and check it off as it’s completed. I can print those things each day that need to be completed on that particular day and keep it in my planner as “my daily projects.” Then, at the end of the day, I’ll check off what action has been completed and move on to the next action or thing on the list.
Let me see if I can make a list I can actually complete. My problem is I tack on all these things that need to be done in one day, then I become overwhelmed and don’t even want to view the dang list. I’m going to take baby steps with this, as I know myself well enough to start small instead of scaring myself away.
The process of managing action, not time: It’s “what you do with your time, what you do with information, and what you do with your body and your focus relative to your priorities.” Identify those actions that need to be taken on each item on your to-do list or each item in your inbox. It’s not that you don’t have time. We make time to do whatever it is we need to get done. No more can we use that lame excuse, “I don’t have time.” You make the time if it’s important to you. And you cannot manage time. You manage actions. You can’t do a project. You can only do an action related to it. I think Mr. Allen is on to something here.
Ok, today my main actions will be (1) to go through my head on the items I know I need to do today and in the coming weeks, get it off my mind and onto my computer “to do” list, then (2) defining each action that needs to take place to reach completion or “done,” then (3) take action on each thing. If I have any spare time between completing those actions that need to take place today, I’ll manage a stack of papers in my in-box and do the same.
Some people have a daily motto or mantra of “One day at a time.” Mine is “One stack at a time.” Ah! I can feel the stress peeling off already. I think.
Make it an awesome Sunday. If you want to share what you got out of this chapter, I’m all ears. Love ya! *hug*