Just Seven Things

Exploring why and how we do what we do, and how we can do it better

Archive for the tag “Happiness”

See /Do /Tag for Happiness in the Moment

So I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while. I’m pretty certain that I haven’t because it feels like it contradicts a lot of the things I’m constantly striving to achieve: focus, planning, constancy.

First, an attempt to define something. I’ve referred in previous posts to the feelings of resistance to task completion. Particularly those tasks that are either poorly defined, difficult, overly time consuming, unknown/new etc. I personally feel this resistance in the middle chest/ upper gut as a kind of heaviness.

I have posted on a number of occasions about my attempts to overcome this. Normally the approaches/ techniques I have explored have in most ways been medium/ longer term in the sense that they involve planning/ mental approaches/ chunking down the steps for the task completion etc.

What I have begun to explore more recently is whether there is a certain category of resistance that this approach does not work for. Let’s call it ‘in the flow’ resistance.

There appear to be certain thoughts, tasks or actions, usually relatively minor in nature, that my other-than-conscious throws to the surface of consciousness for my attention. Often I can immediately tag these for later action in a task list. These thoughts(actions) behave like most other non-planned-for creativity: as soon as they’re captured in a trusted system they go away from my mind, and don’t weigh on my chest to be handled.

However, there are certain actions that appear to sit there on my chest and refuse to budge. They create this ‘in the flow’ resistance. It feels like someone else has made a decision that, regardless what else I was consciously planning – or, indeed, regardless of what my initial conscious response is to the action raised – this is the thing I should do. Right here, right now.

The interesting things are:
1. If I don’t do them immediately, the resistance that I can sometimes get (as described above) is felt – often very intensely – even though it is not something I had consciously raised
2. If I do take the action, it feels as though I get disproportionate reward. As though I didn’t realize how important it was to me internally until it was done
3. The actions are very often things (for me) which relate to commitments. To myself and others. As though my other-than-conscious is reminding, but refusing to go ‘on to snooze’

How Does ‘Just Doing It’ Help with Prioritisation and Make You Happier?

I wrote a couple of days ago about how the only way you’ll get better at managing your time and productivity is to ‘just do it’.  Just take the time and do the task. Don’t prevaricate or procrastinate. Just start and do what you can in the time.

I am noticing other things about this approach:

1. It focuses you on what you have to do ‘aid’ the removal of prevarication. There are the obvious things which I have written about before: making a shallow on-ramp to the task by thinking about the required very next steps when you accept the task/ project (a key element from David Allen’s GTD system – see Blogroll). Using game play to lighten the weight/ onerousness of the task etc. etc.

2. At a more general level it requires you to assess the types of things that you’re interested/ passionate about doing. Because you get into your momentum of ‘just doing it’; be they back to back 5 minute, or 30 minute slots, you start to focus on the things that slide through the easiest.

When I was taking notes today, I ended up using phrases like ‘lubricating’ the tasks. Reducing the resistance. It’s all about achieving a flow of activity tied bound by the way in which it makes you feel. It’s the opposite of feeling resistance to task after task. Obviously, you then have the practical challenge of clearing as efficiently as possible the things that you don’t enjoy (of which we know there are lots in your average day). However, taking this approach you get a bit into the mode that you do before going on holiday. Suddenly you crank through things because you are positively drawn to getting them out of the way so that you can get stuck into your back to back low resistant, well-lubricated enjoyables…

3. It significantly aids your prioritisation. I think a number of things are at work here:

– in an obvious sense, the more you do the more you are able to see what’s important. When you sit there with a list you’ve not got into anything to see where a lot of common actions may be bound (e.g. the thing that’s going wrong in the process/ the major project that hasn’t been done)

– It cuts through the crap. The achievement of outputting and actioning and starting different activity going shifts the weighting on a flat/ static to do list. You want more of the big impact things to increase this feeling of achievement

– Your decision-making is improved. You know what is giving you relief/ payback and start to find the red herrings. The things which until you get into them seem important, but aren’t.

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Specialisation and the Power of Focus

Dart by Asif Akbar

Dart by Asif Akbar

I had an excellent MDHub100 work group today. The work groups I think of as being most like AA for CEOs and MDs. A place where you can relax in the company of trusted peers and share your deepest, darkest issues.

It was attended by Paul Feist from Feist Hedgethorne and Zoe Porteous from Boutique Communications. Most ably facilitated again by Fi Shafer from Omega Blue.

A lot of the conversation was about business specialisation. I was arguing that specialised businesses – those with a niche focus – had a number of advantages:

  1. Enforced creativity: you have to innovate products and services to maintain a strength and grow revenues in your chosen niche
  2. Ability to cross-propagate best practice and ideas across clients
  3. Continually increasing expertise/ knowledge in the area
  4. Reduction of noise/ thrashing in switching focus between different areas. One industry/ one niche = one focus
  5. Ability to act as a forum for industry interaction (roundtables/ seminars etc.)

Read more…

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