Flibbertigibbet Continued

US Marine Corps Senior Drill Instructor Staff ...
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Back in Focus

Well I’m back in focus and ready to talk about how I struggle with focus each day. I am pretty good with two hour blocks of time so long as I can shut the door and block the interference. For a time I can apply my attention with laser focus and get things done. Beyond the two hours, it gets dicey. My mind will begin to wander. By and large, though, on a day to day basis I am pretty good with a prioritized to-do list. Where I break down is on the long haul.

Important but not Urgent

I think it is Stephen Covey that talks about categorizing tasks in a quadrant with one axis representing urgency (non-urgent to urgent) and the other representing importance (non-important to important). The priority should be the important things and particularly the non-urgent important things because they are what you need to get where you want to go and if you are not careful, these will always get deferred by urgent and non-important things.

Look- a squirrel

This is where flibbertigibbetry takes me down. It is like trying to calm down a hunting dog when he sees a rabbit. Those urgent tasks always get my attention. The phone. The email. Once those unimportant tasks get my attention, there is no end of additional followup’s.

I need a good system

I haven’t found a good system to transfer the urgency and passion of my long-term goals into weekly and daily to-do lists that help control my higgledy piggledy moment by moment tendencies. Granted, the best solution would be an iron resolve and strict discipline but I don’t see that coming any time soon. The second best would be my own personal drill sergeant to keep me in line and focused. Well, maybe not. I would be willing to settle for a planning system that takes long term goals and translates them into monthly, weekly and daily plans. Maybe I have to create this myself. But maybe there is a tool already available.

Got any suggestions?

Flibbertigibbet is a great word to say. But I’d rather stop making higgledy piggledy decisions and being one in order to take charge of my life. Anybody got any ideas that they use to keep on track?

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{ 5 comments… add one }
  • Heather February 12, 2010, 12:06 pm

    Hey Ralph!

    Up until recently I was following much the same system… but I’ve recently switched to using a timer and setting it for 15 minute intervals.

    The premise is that when the timer goes off, you take a five minute break, set the timer again, then absorb yourself into your task. Seems to be working for me so far, though sometimes (if I’m in ‘the zone’) I’ll continue working through it anyway.

    As for email etc; use filters in your email to take all new messages away from your inbox – then you don’t see them coming in. Phone, I have no idea on, but I hope something here helped.
    .-= Heather´s last blog ..Something This Blog Always Needed =-.

  • Ralph February 13, 2010, 8:33 am

    Those are good. I do need to control the time I spend on potentially endless tasks. I am still looking for a way to link daily actions to long term plans so that I make progress.

  • Heather February 13, 2010, 8:45 am

    You and me both… think linking long term plans to daily actions is something you have to figure out for yourself though; unless I’m way off here it’s going to be different for each person.
    .-= Heather´s last blog ..Something This Blog Always Needed =-.

  • Eleanor Edwards February 16, 2010, 1:05 pm

    Hi Ralph,
    Sorry for reading this so late. The last few days have been bonkers!

    Have you tried checking your email just twice per day (say lunchtime & just before home time)? Same with Twitter or Facebook if you use them. It doesn’t matter what your long term goals are. You still need to give less priority to email then you are currently.

    Another thing I learned from Tim Ferris is to get all major tasks done by 11am. On a good day, I like to get tomorrow’s posts done by 11am but this depends on ideas and how the day pans out 😉

    If it’s software you’re looking for, I don’t know of any that does what you talk about but be sure to spill the beans if you find it.
    .-= Eleanor Edwards´s last blog ..Egging me on? – Dr Egg’s Blog =-.

  • Ralph February 16, 2010, 4:55 pm

    Eleanor,
    If I could get major tasks done my 11, what would I do with the rest of the day? I do try to get my priority items done first. The trouble is those important but no urgent items that keep getting deferred.

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