Mapping Your Universe
Sunday, May 20, 2012 Leave a comment
Getting Things Done – 101 part 2
Part of the Taskmaster™ Series
by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Moving through the Ten Tips for Focus & Intentionality:
Prep-Time for Time Mapping
Lets begin by reviewing steps 1-6.
You need to have those firmly in mind to be able to go forward with what we’re going to do next.
1. House the Homeless
2. Name the Game
3. Mise en Plasse
4. Plant and Stake
5. Remember the Cookie
6. Stop and Drop (thanks Maria!)
Go back to read (or reread) Part 1 if you’re not ready to ride after reading those reminders.
As I said in the first part of Getting Things Done – 101:
The use of a Time Map – setting a regular and recurring time in your calendar or datebook where you plan to work on the same task each time – reduces the prefrontal cortex resource depletion that happens every darn time you try to DECIDE what to do.
Interestingly enough, shuffling the deck
- assuming you HAVE a deck to shuffle -
takes far fewer cognitive resources.
Think of it like a commune in your calendar. Every task has a tent, but the community members kind of float from one tent to the other, making sure all of the activities of the commune are attended to daily, weekly and monthly – just not always in the same tent.
This article begins to help you put that “deck” together.
7. Survey the terrain
Work at a desk or a table, and make SURE you have a place to keep the lists you are about to make when you’re not working on them or with them.
You’re going to set your timer for thirty minutes, and glue your butt to your chair until it dings – no email, no phone calls, no FaceBook — no nuthin‘ but you and your calendar, your timer, a piece of paper and a pen or pencil.
It may take a couple of passes to get this part handled, but you’re only committing to the task for a measly thirty minutes at a time, so you can do it – right?! If you’re like me, before you get out the Elmer’s, you probably want to go to the bathroom and ‘nuke a cup of cofffee. Grab your timer while you’re up.
Making your lists
As soon as you’re settled, set your timer for 30 minutes. When it dings, it’s cookie time!
(Do NOT even think about dropping out the cookie or your inner kid will make t-totally sure you will NEVER return to do much at all with your work so far.)
- Begin by making a quick list of the types of activities that have to be done every single day, no matter what: eating (including food prep and enough clean-up to keep the Board of Health away), personal grooming and vitality (bathing, grooming, dressing, exercise and meditation), parenting duties (kid-waking, kid-taxi, etc.), digging out the house (bed-making, dish-washing etc.). List whatever it is that you need to tend to daily in order to feel on top of things at all, not counting sleep, work and getting there and back.
- Now think weekly: laundry and dry cleaning, grocery shopping, house cleaning – the items that frequently get put off until you simply can’t . . . moving right along to classes and meetings, church, kid’s activities – the regular and recurring things you tend to space-out until you have to rush around like a madman, trying not to lose control of your schedule altogether.
- On to monthly: bill paying, house and car maintenance, visiting your great-great-grandmother — anything you do every month, whether it is supposed to happen on a certain day, or whether you’ve got some wiggle-room. (If you’ve memorized the date something must be done, write it next to the item, otherwise, skip that detail for right now.)
- Last stop – yearly: taxes, holidays, birthdays, vacations, vaccinations – whatever. Don’t worry about the dates just yet – just list the items that you need to stay well, along with those that will start World War III (or land you in jail) if you drop them out. (Ahem! – if you file quarterly taxes, don’t split this hair. It happens four times a YEAR.)
8. Boundary the space hogs
Remember, you’re planning a commune, not designing a resort community for retirees.
Nobody gets acreage!
The point here is NOT to engage hyperfocus for most of the members of your commune, and to keep times short enough that you stand a shot at being willing to do the task at all. Most people find it works best to work in multiples of 10. (That’s minutes, not hours, by the way)
Take a quick gander at everything on the lists you made above. If you think something is going to take longer than 30 minutes MAX, break it down into subtasks (coaches call that “chunking”)
Give each chunk a unique NAME. Your inner three-year old won’t be fooled by
“Clean bedroom, part 1,” ”Clean bedroom, part 2″ and “Finish cleaning bedroom.”
S/he’ll balk, I promise.
Don’t agonize. “Make bed, clear floor to sweep ” is name enough for at least one of those chunks, unless YOU need “toss dirty clothes in hamper, trash in garbage bag &
pile everything else on the bed “ to keep you going sans decision-in-the-moment.
AN ADD TRUTH: within REASON,
the further apart you place deciding and doing . . .
the easier the decision is to make,
the easier it is to begin the task, and
the easier the task will seem once you begin it.
NO VOTING. If you need to write it ALL down, you need it. Whether you should need
it or not is immaterial, so tell your bossy loved ones that if they want it done their way,
THEY need to do it.
Likewise, if you can easily stay on track without that level of detail, don’t waste your time listing anything beyond the “hint” that gets you started on the tasks involved in that particular chunk.
Make SURE you can really stay on track without it, however. Don’t let yourself be bullied by some other person’s idea of what you “should” need — I don’t care WHO they are!
Time-chunk mapping for task chunks
Once you begin working on getting things DONE, before you begin a task you are going to set your timer for 10, 20, or 30 minutes, depending on the item, so that you and your inner three-year-old can play a game of beat-the-clock to earn another cookie.
Don’t be the horse that died of thirst on the banks of the stream.
Horse head thanks to free printable coloring pages
Before you are ready to begin work, there are two more points to consider – and the next article in the TaskMaster series will explore them both.
Make sure you’ve got your basic lists ready for the next section – and keep working in 30 minute timeslots, followed by a cookie break. In part 3 of Getting Things Done-101, you’re going to set up some campsites and gas up your vehicle. So stay tuned – there’s a lot more to come!
As always, if you want notification of new articles in this series – or any new posts on this blog – give your name and email to the nice form on the top of the skinny column to the right. (You only have to do this once, so if you’ve already asked for notification about a prior series, you’re covered for this one too) STRICT No Spam Policy
Articles in the TaskMaster™ Series
Coming up in the TaskMaster™ Series:
- Ordering your Deck (Getting Things Done-101, part 3)
- TIME Mapping your Universe (Getting Things Done-101 finale)
- Calendars and To-Do Lists
Wanna’ see how I use this technique?
- Check out COMING SOON (read for process, not content/examples!)
Related articles around the ‘net
- Get Organized Now (Maria Gracia’s site)
- 4 Steps to Organizing Your Life: Creating a Household Time Map
- Mapping out My Time
- Dollar Store Goodie: Timers (ichooseexcellence.wordpress.com)
- Productivity Tips for Business NP Entrepreneurs (npbusiness.org)