I had a strategic retreat part time over three days of this week. One of the key lessons for me was to keep action lists actionable, and not fill them up with amorphous blobs of undoability. A related lesson was to express multi-year projects as shorter duration projects that could be marked off (for that sense of accomplishment). Eg, I had as a project, “Finish PhD”, but that’s going to take until at least 2011, amd I felt like I wasn’t making too much progress. So I changed it into a programme of work, and expressed the current project as “finish next edition of proposal and submit to Andre” (my supervisor). It felt great to mark THAT project complete on Thursday, and then to set a new project of “Secure Feedback from Andre on Next Edition of Proposal”.
A related example was the project “Write Book”, which isn’t due for completion until June of next year, so changing that one into a programme of work and setting up a project of “Write Chapter 6” felt much more immediate and do-able.
And finally … I had so many projects masquerading as Next Actions. Well, no more. They’ve all been duly promoted to Projects. Eg, I had a project of “Write Blog Posts”, with about 20 things to write about as Next Actions. Duh! Blogging is a programme of work, and each of those supposed actions were actually projects. And that’s exactly what they are now.
It’s no wonder I felt so overwhelmed and turned off by my lists (“repelled” is the word that DA uses).
So after a very flow-state set of technical changes to my system, and a while converting actions to projects, and making good use of the Someday/Maybe list, I’m back on track.
Thank you, David, for giving me a language to figure out the problem and a set of constructs for achieving a quiet heart and mind.