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'Feel Better' Lists Lifehack

This is a technique that I've devised that's helped me tremendously.

There's a certain state of mind I find myself in sometimes, where I'm not getting any work done, I'm not getting any sleep in, and I'm not particularly having much fun or even relaxing, and, by my definition, I'm wasting time. Basically procrastinating, reading sites, sitting around, it's icky.

So what I did is I made a list over a few weeks of all the little tiny things that contribute to getting me in that state, and the actions I can take to reverse them. My list has a few categories with things such as brushing my teeth, cleaning up my desk, stretching, bathing, organizing a list of tasks for the day, using the bathroom, getting proper nutrition. All of these things are incredibly mundane, but they're very easy to forget, and not doing them contributes to that feeling.

What I do when I'm feeling all nasty like that, or any time I need to get work done, is I flip to that page in my pocket moleskine, then get out a post-it note and copy down all the items that are relevant. Usually there are a small handful of em, and it'll take me about fifteen minutes to get in a nice state where I can approach my work comfortably.

The trick here is that doing any one of those items on the list doesn't do a hell of a lot. But in a ten minute dash, suddenly my desk is clean, I've organized my list of tasks, I've changed from the clothes I've been wearing all week, and I've got a nice cold soda. It feels good, because there's a good chance that most of those things were subconsciously bugging me.

Anybody use a tactic like this? I've found it helpful, thought I'd pass it along.

TOPICS: Life Hacks
nuttdan's picture

Good point, kenzi. There are...

Good point, kenzi.

There are a lot of meta-tasks that we do because it allows us to procrastinate guilt-free because they feel contstructive in some remote sense.

Then there are some that genuinely are constructive, and I think making a list like this is like that. It does help noticably, but it's also fun just to get that productivity pr0n feeling of making a list and crossing off stuff. :)

Slightly unrelated: one thing I've started doing that probably won't integrate well with GTD once I get that going is making a bunch of sticky notes, one task per note, and hanging them on my desk in a line (there's a shelf-like thing that goes above my monitor). That's the day's work, and I can take things down as I do them, reorder them, etc. It's neat, though I can't quite see if it's genuinely helpful for me or not. Anyway, I've put a few not-directly-related-to-school tasks in the queue (chores, etc), which kind of helps to break it up.




An Oblique Strategy:
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