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Unpacking the anxieties on your TODO list

Writer’s Block, Geek-Block, and Procrastination

I like this practical, tactical approach to “cringe-busting” a list of tasks that you’ve been procrastinating. Basically, you write down each thing you want to do as well as the anxiety that’s kept you from doing it.

In the action column you can write big goals or tiny little tasks. Your aim is to end up with at least one task small enough that you can get on with it.

In the anxiety column you can write big over-riding fears, or small concerns, problems, worries. Your aim is to get down to at least one problem that is small enough to be solved.

Both Actions and Anxieties are fractal in nature, recursively-composed of smaller and smaller versions of themselves. Identifying the components is the true battle for the mind-locked geek.

Seems like this exercise (especially when extended with something like “The Five Whys”) could be a great way to smack yourself out of a slump, as well as gain a little insight into the greatest hits of your particular hang-up jukebox.

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Rockster's picture

If you haven't read Robert...

If you haven't read Robert Boice's research on procrastination and blocking, you should. His research subjects are academics, and back in the good old days (when I had the summer off!) it was one read of his research that made my teaching ratings go from 5/7 to nearly 7/7. Why? Actually, I forget...

but I'm pretty sure he showed that successful academics "lived in the moment," while unsuccessful academics were never in the moment (remember the professors who hurried through their lectures even though 1/2 the class was asleep?). Here's a link to an online version of one of his books:





An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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