Daily Form: Remembering the Why

Daily Form: Remembering the Why

I’d spent quite a bit of time yesterday reviewing and reformatting the task list for the week. It was not a task I relished doing by itself. I’m reminded, though, how the mere addition of the points to the tasks added some structure to what I was doing. I also realized that there’s some underlying motivation that isn’t captured by the current system.

Let’s have a look at yesterday’s form!

Monday's Form First notable: a 30-point day is the highest yet. I may have been a little too generous with some point assignments, but that’s OK. Even if I allocated too many points for small tasks, the point is that the task got done, and they were useful tasks given my grand plans. Toward the end of the day, I even looked for some easy tasks to maximize the points for the day.

Second notable: I re-introduced color. It’s a hassle to apply in some cases, but I’m finding I like the at-a-glance sweep it gives me of how much effort went into what silo of effort.

There is one inconvenient element to this system so far, which is that I don’t have a portable way to log what I’m doing or note the times I’m spending on what silo task when I’m away from the computer. This is where I could see an iPod or Android app filling in the gap, which pretty much guarantees that I will start working on a digital version of the system at long last. I want this badly. Another option is to get cracking again on the portable version of the Emergent Task Planner; I’d finalized the design for the Mini ETP back in December with the help of my awesome testing group.

Tasks versus Being

I had an epiphany yesterday about the sheer number of tasks I’m tracking. What keeps them from feeling overwhelming is that they are in 5 silos that represent areas of my life that I want to improve. It provides focus. However, I haven’t actually put effort into defining how I want to FEEL about all this. There is a point to all this, but I haven’t written it down.

When I’m in the project definition phase for my work, I sometimes throw in a “how do you know it’s working?” metric into the specification, making sure to include both quantitative and qualitative metrics. For example, a quantitative metric for my own website might be “increase page views per visit”, indicating that I’ve made navigational improvements that pique a new visitor’s interests. A qualitative metric would be someone telling me that they loved browsing the site, and found lots of things that they found useful; this would be followed by a feeling of happiness on my part.

This in mind, here’s a crack at defining a few such metrics for using the MGT.

MGT Quantatitive Metrics – The MGT is a quantitative tool. It creates an arbitrary-but-meaningful point-based system. I can see what gets done and get a sense whether I did more or less from day-to-day and week-to-week. I haven’t said, though, what I want to see MORE of in each silo. Off the cuff, I’d say it breaks down like this:

  • THE BLOG – More engaged readers, more opportunities to connect with people, more like-minded souls to jam with.
  • THE WORK – More revenue to support the blog and the projects
  • PRODUCTS – More SKUs generating passive income, to support the blog and the projects, so less time is spent working and more time can be spent pursuing new things to investigate.
  • LIFE – More quality of environment, security, and peace of mind!
  • HEALTH – More energy, more strength, more hotness for the ladies!

MGT Qualitative Metrics – I think this is about who I want to be. Up to now, I’ve been preoccupied with what I needed to do to create a sustainable, pleasant life. But deciding who I want to be is more about how I want to relate to other people, which is the key to creating a community of choice and, I conjecture, a sustainable and happy lifestyle. So let me think of how I’d like each segment to project outward. In a sense, this is about my values:

  • THE BLOG – Delight, possibility, inspiring people, empowering knowledge! The sheer amazingness of the world, and the people who help make it that way. Plus, lots of interesting food and technology that you oughtta know about, and maybe use in your own quest!
  • THE WORK – There’s a right way to do things, and we’ve got to consider qualitative and quantitative approaches in our design. Sharing information is better than hoarding it. Thinking and communication is an essential part of the work.
  • PRODUCTS – Your tools should never be ugly. Form follows function and is beautiful. The details matter. The materials and the way they are used matter. Subtlety is beautiful. Boldness is exciting.
  • LIFE – It’s good to take care of the homestead, so you can have more people over, and you can be less stressed-out and distracted overall.
  • HEALTH – Having strength and stamina is frankly wonderful, and it opens up all kinds of doors that you didn’t imagine. Being strong and healthy is the best gift you can give yourself as you enter middle age.

I’m not sure if it’s necessary to find a place for these musings in the MGT design, but I want to remember the WHY behind them. They may be worth turning into actionable points as well if behavior modification is warranted. The one that I most need to focus on is conveying delight, possibility, inspiration, and empowerment. I did a better job of it 3 years ago, I think, than I do now.

So that’s the news for today on the MGT.


  1. Avrum 12 years ago

    David – you asked about Tony Robbins OPA/RPM system… you provided a good summation with this:

    “What keeps them from feeling overwhelming is that they are in 5 silos that represent areas of my life that I want to improve. It provides focus.”

    O(utcome) – What outcome would make this day outstanding? P(urpose) – Why do you want this outcome? A(ction) – What actions will help you achieve this outcome?

    His shtick: it doesn’t matter what actions we take (most systems focus on actions i.e. gtd), so long as we hit our Outcomes. I agree with this. When I was a card carrying member of GTD, I’d end days with many tasks done, but with an overall feeling of: “Meh”.

  2. Sue Thomas 12 years ago

    Another way to say the OP part of OPA — what Purpose(s) am I focusing on today, and what Outcome(s) would support it/them?

  3. Family Lifeboat 12 years ago

    Maybe something to add just under the title is a “What’s the point of all this?” section. It could be a goal or intention or image of the future, just something that gives the whole thing a reason for being. 7Habits has you go thru the your-own-eulogy exercise, which is helpful but doesn’t really give much help to the daily issues. Maybe something in between in the 1-10 year range. I don’t know.