For the past few months I’ve been feeling unsettled about my planning balance. Since I only have one major project to focus on at the moment, I had thought that finally I could actually pace myself easily. This hasn’t proven to be the case, as the extra time has merely allowed other things to expand into my immediate consciousness. Things like:
- Maintaining Social Commitments
- Maintaining Physical/Health Commitments
- Maintaining the Blog
- Maintaining Business Relationships
- Creating and Shipping Product
- Keeping the House Clean
- Planning for the Future
I have to admit to myself that the system of “winging it” for the past couple months just isn’t cutting it because, again, I am not feeling like I am making progress. Objectively, I could sit back and point out all the very interesting things that did happen, but that does not address the feeling of falling short. The system that I need to put into place doesn’t have to handle the objective tracking of things I’ve done, though functionally this is what it would appear to be. The real heart of the system I want is what will address the feeling of not being productive.
Of course, there are many approaches to this. David Allen’s Get Things Done is one of the popular ones, and the approach focuses on getting to the point where you can relax. That is, you can trust your systems to tell you the real deal, and when you’ve got information you can actually trust it’s a lot easier to get into that productive mind state. I’m not a GTD expert, but my assessment is that GTD is a mechanical methodology designed to keep your mind optimally aware of what’s going on so you can choose to do that “next action” free from doubt. I can certainly see that following this methodology would work, and maybe I should just suck it up and just do it. What I really want, though, is a system that does a better job of putting my project work in context with my goals. I’d like the system to also remember where I was when I last left off.
As I write, I’m realizing that I’m actually wishing for a lot more than just a task tracking system. I’m really looking for something to provide some semblance of meaning outside of myself. I think such a system would be the keeper of my goals and projects. Additionally, the system would “know where I am” in terms of goals and projects at all times, maintaining a sense of continuity for me when my attention is elsewhere. The two tangible deliveries of the system would be (1) a “map” with a big arrow that says YOU ARE HERE, and (2) the set of tasks that I know will make that arrow move a certain distance. You can see my video game design background peeking through there. I don’t really want to relax. I want to know what I’ll be doing next to move my piece in a direction I like, and I want to have some choice in the matter without having to process everything all the time. The trick is to provide the RIGHT choices along with ACCURATE INFORMATION about where one happens to be in life.
I don’t have any immediate solutions to this, but I’m writing it down anyway so I don’t lose the thought. My first inclination is to revisit the Concrete Goals Tracker and ponder the Task List Creation (you know, the weighed points) process itself.