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Archive for the ‘Organization’ Category

Quote of the Day: On Procrastination

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“The thing that is closest to your soul is the thing you’re going to avoid the most. The thing that will tap into the part of you that has not yet come to the fore but wants to be expressed, but you’re so afraid of it — you will absolutely find every single thing in your life to avoid doing that.  And that… there is no trick about that. You just need to be aware of that. I think the awareness is somewhat curative and if you’re really aware that the things you’re going to avoid the most are the things that are going to scare you the most, that you might actually have to show up if that thing actually worked… That’s only going to be addressed by your wilingness to step up to the plate.”

David Allen, Getting Things Done guru, in a podcast interview with 43folders.com‘s Merlin Mann, discussing procrastination; ideas taken from the book The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

Written by Allen

October 10th, 2006 at 2:42 pm

Link: How Never To Reach Your Goals

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Achieve-IT! lists ten methods for making sure that you never, ever reach your goals. I think that these “tips” were supposed to be funny, but I couldn’t find my way to the laughing for all of the crying I was doing. I’ve consistently done every single one of the items on this list for years.


8. List why it’s impossible – Now we are getting into the mental game of failing. This is quite possibly your greatest weapon against achievement because it destroys hope and optimism. So as soon as possible, set aside some time to create a long list of how impossible your goal really is. No matter what your target is, I am sure you can come up with plenty of reasons why it’s impossible.



I’ve been reading and thinking quite a bit about my goals (or lack thereof) lately, but sometimes it takes this kind of slap in the face — to have someone hold up a mirror showing exactly how well you’re not doing — to make any real impact.

So excuse me, but I have to go write up some more goals now.

Written by Allen

May 25th, 2006 at 11:29 am

Posted in Inspiration,Organization

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Monkey mind

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Ever have those times when you have so much stuff going through your head that you’re almost paralyzed? Too many things to think about, too many projects to work on, too much to worry about…too much to let yourself focus on any one thing, and so you wind up not doing a damn thing.

Kinda sucks, doesn’t it?

I’m trying to get myself more organized, because I really and truly believe that will help me with my “monkey mind” problem. Not with all of the issues I’m trying to work through, of course, but the more I can organize away and out of my head, the more brainpower I’ll have for dealing with those issues which can’t be cleared up quite so easily.

Today should bring my copy of David Allen‘s “Getting Things Done,” which seems to be something of the Organizational Bible to the geek set these days. I’ve tried putting into practice some of what I’ve learned just by reading other people’s sites and blogs and wikis about the GTD system, but I realized that by not reading the book myself I was just ending up with a half-assed implementation of it. What little bit I’ve done has helped, so I’m assuming that the more I understand of the system and the more I successfully put into practice, the better off I’ll be.

I’m also hoping that the more I can get organized, the more I can clear out of the clogged gutters of my brain, then I’ll be able to focus more, which would be a Very Good Thing Indeed. I have so many things I want to be writing right now and can’t seem to get myself to focus on any of them (a longtime problem for me, believe me). But that’s more of a post for another time…some other time when I can’t focus on work.

What abot you guys…do any of you have any organizational philosophies you use to manage your daily and/or creative lives?

Written by Allen

July 27th, 2005 at 4:33 pm

Posted in Organization

From Anarchy to Organization

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While I certainly don’t consider myself an anarchist–it’s entirely possible that I’m the least anarchic person I know–I found this Flash presentation (via BoingBoing) to have a number of good ideas I can apply to my life.

Jim Munroe knows that being liberated from your day job, whether by your choice or not, can offer an excellent opportunity to work for yourself on projects meaningful to you. But the problem for most people, or at least most people used to the regular 9-to-5 world, is that having no structure in which to work makes work itself difficult. When left to our own devices, we tend to lack direction and have difficult actually accomplishing anything without externally-mandated goals and deadlines. (And yes, you can read every instance of “we” in the last sentence as “I.”) The secret to working for yourself and actually getting stuff done? Organization.

I want to be a full-time writer, but that’s been largely a vague desire to this point–I know it’s something I want to do, but I haven’t really figured out how I want to get to that point. I’ve made some baby steps recently–this blog being one, actually –but those moves won’t get me anywhere without solid organization and planning. Three of the tricks Jim mentions in his presentation seem like they’d be particularly helpful to me:

  1. Write down everything. If you write it down, then you don’t have to spend processing cycles trying to remember it or worrying that you forgot something important.
  2. Break bigger, scarier tasks down into smaller, friendlier tasks. This one’s a big one. I tend to want to jump right into enormous tasks without truly being prepared for them. I want to write a novel, for instance, but don’t want to do any of the necessary prep work for it. Thinking about what needs to be done, writing down each of those tasks and breaking those down necessary as further into small, manageable tasks will make the entire project seem much more doable.
  3. Attach your self-imposed deadlines to coincide with external deadlines. I know that I’m a deadline-oriented person, but the deadlines I create for myself tend to be pretty meaningless and difficult to enforce. If I give myself a deadline that’s connected to something I want to do–for instance, I know that John Scalzi’s accepting submissions for the science fiction anthology he’s editing in October–then that gives me something meaningful to shoot for.

I’m going to try to start putting these ideas into effect and see if I can start making progress on the various projects rattling around inside my head. Too much to do and not as much time as I might like means I need to make the best of use I can of what time I have.

(Whaddayamean playing Knights of the Old Repbulic on my Xbox isn’t making productive use of my time?)

Written by Allen

April 29th, 2005 at 10:59 am