A First-Pass “Attitude Guide”

A First-Pass “Attitude Guide”

After having the insight that it was my attitude that was playing a major role in my levels of productivity, I’ve been thinking a lot about what this meant.

The result is a distillation of important goals, their contributing projects, task qualification, and task unsticking on a single sheet of paper.

Attitude Guide

Attitude Guide

I’m not sure exactly to call this, so for now I’m calling it an “Attitude Guide”, though it might be more of a compass. It started by just putting all the ideas from the soc onto a piece of paper, so I could have it next to me for the week to look at; I figure that something might come to me.

Looking at it now, it looks like a sorting key for the stuff that’s on my mind. I think if I stare at it a lot while I’m working, it might help me keep focused on the important stuff.

Let’s walk through it!

Status Goals I realized that I’ve been afraid to really say I want to become a certain kind of person that is recognized for having done something cool. I’ve talked about it before, but it takes effort. It’s hard to declare one’s intentions ahead of them, because it makes you vulnerable to criticism, ridicule, and second-guessing. No one likes that! But really…I do want to have the feeling that I’ve made it work, and if I’m honest with myself that is “status seeking”.

I could have renamed this to “strategic goals” to cover my butt, but I think I need to make this statement, as crass as it sounds to my ears. And because I’m making the statement, now I need to back it up through action.

Each Status Goal has three metrics. If I do something that matches one of those metrics, then I know I’m contributing to the goal. If not, then maybe I should rethink what I’m doing.

The reason I chose these two goals is because I would like to figure out how to create products that people like. They are money-focused goals, because I’ve neglected this aspect of my life. I’ve already been blessed with good friends, a lot of inner work to gain self-knowledge, and a flexible skill set. Now…what can I do with this to make something cool that we can all play with? That’s the challenge!

Projects Next are the PROJECTS area. The idea is that the projects I “should do” fall into one of these categories, because they contribute either to the status goals or help maintain personal balance. The areas listed here are based on the insights from apportioning the day and the master vantage point from 2009.

The combination of the Status Goals with the Projects create focus + direction, which helps me think of things I can do.

Priority Now, I actually have little problem thinking of things I could be doing, and the result has been that I’ve often felt overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices. This list is designed to help me figure out which of all the possibilities on my mind would yield the most bang-for-the-buck.

The list is a mixture of different initiatives that are currently important to me. It’s worth going through them line-by-line:

  • Continuous Motion – Important because maintaining continuity in effort on a project means it will get done.
  • Time to Money – Ultimately, I’m measuring success of the status goals in monetary terms, which this term reminds me. Which is, I restate, is just a small part of what’s important to me.

  • Product Release – Creating something for public release is a second measurement of success. This isn’t necessarily tied to money. Making anything is good news, as far as I’m concerned!

  • Business System – If there’s something I can do to make the business part of my life run smoother, by outsourcing or automating processes, then it’s worth doing. If I can do anything to help me see my business state more easily and clearly, that’s worth doing too.

  • Best Practice – I want to do things well, and it’s particularly important for the two status goals. Establishing best practices not only makes the creative work go more smoothly, but it gives me something to put up on the website to let other people know that I have them.

  • Multiple Benefit – If there’s a task that will enable multiple tasks to proceed, that’s a win.

  • Not Research – I already do plenty of research, which includes the blogging and exploration I do on a daily basis. That’s fun for me. This term is here to remind myself that PRODUCTIVE tasks, when it comes to doing status goal-related projects, are the ones that count.


p>Unsticking Now that I have the tasks right in front of me, selected and prioritized, I actually have to do them. And that’s where I often get stuck. These are the two methods I’m using to get through them currently. Doesn’t hurt to remember them, so I put them here.

Integration with Other Tools

I think the role this document plays in my workflow is to help remind me what’s important, and how to get moving. I am hoping it eliminates some paralysis in my decision making.

What it doesn’t do is maintain the list of projects (I’m using Wunderlist for that currently) or provide pacing/scheduling (the ETP is probably the most applicable tool I have).

One weakness: while the “Attitude Guide” helps select projects and prioritize tasks, it doesn’t help manage them. It also doesn’t help plan the order that the projects are best tackled. I think this could be as simple as borrowing concepts from SCRUM and doing a SCRUM sprint.

And what about tracking progress? Is it necessary? I think at least logging the achievements during the week would be good, using a simplified Concrete Goals Tracker might work. No idea yet.

Next Steps

So I’ve printed this thing out and am staring at it right now. I need to use it to make a very lightweight plan, and start moving on it.

Although I spent a lot of time distilling everything down, I think it was a necessary refocusing. I tend to need it periodically. The real trick will be keeping things simple and agile so I don’t get bogged down too much.

I’m also very aware that I haven’t addressed the concept of attitude at all in this guide. I approach it indirectly by providing ways to achieve certainty, which for me is a driving component of my personal motivation. The development of a positive attitude independent of certainty, though, is still something I’m thinking about.

We shall see what happens!

If you’re interested in examining the document further, you can download the PDF and print it out.


  1. Marissa 12 years ago

    Link to the PDF requires a username & password?

  2. Joe 12 years ago

    The pdf requires a login

  3. Author
    Dave Seah 12 years ago

    Oops! Should be fixed now. I was logged in and didn’t see the popup!

  4. Roy Francis 12 years ago

    About giving yourself too many decisions, I’m right there with you. I generally have 30-45 library books checked out in the desparate hope that whichever I groove I find myself in, I’ll have a book on hand to process/glean through.

    A bit of a rabbit trail, but I thought you might find an article over at the NYTimes interesting – it’s a discussesion about decision fatigue, and how overwhelmed we get when we have too many things to decide.

    I like where you’re going with this, and I really appreciate how you process out a road map to bring order.