Monday, October 26, 2009

Getting Things STARTED vs To-Do Lists

by Dr. Neil Fiore, author of The Now Habit and Coping with the Emotional Impact of Cancer and Awaken Your Strongest Self

Start times: Use a schedule to list Start and Leave times and appointments rather than creating an overwhelming list of things you have to do.
• Avoid "I have so many things I have to Get Done."
o Remember: “done,” “finish,” “accomplish,” “deliver” are all in the imaginary future. Your body can’t get there so these images create anxiety -— stuck energy trying to get into a nonexistent future place.
o Keep Starting. The last time you start is when you’re finish. Don’t worry about finishing. Your new deadline is seeing what you can get started in 30 minutes.
o Deadlines in the distant future will keep you anxious and don’t tell your mind and body when to start. Back-time from the deadline to create a 3-dimensional path back to When, Where, and on What you can start.
If you benefit from the structure and organization of To Do Lists then you might have four lists:
1. Personal life: 3-5 things you don’t need a list for such as daily contact with your children; your spouse; your body, health, exercise; and Nature, breathing, meditating
2. Top Priority list—no more than 3-5 items that you start on every day. Know when you will start on AAA priority; followed by AA or BBB. These are the bottom line activities that will change your life, keep your job, and may take 40-1000 hours to complete.
3. Low Priority, C-level tasks. For these tasks a list is useful to clear your mind so you can focus on top priorities and as rewards for getting started. They might include: Put gas in the care on the way home; buy milk; pay phone bill or hire an assistant; fix the garage door; or empty the closet. This is a list that is looked at AFTER starting on AAA projects. This is also the list of activities you may choose to Let Go of – a “Things I want but can’t afford or don’t have time for now.”
4. Procrastination/Retirement List: things to put off until I’m retired and can consider at my leisure, if I choose: Learn Swahili, Salsa dancing, to play the piano, or write a book. This is your Guilt-Free Play list of things you don’t have to do now. Feel free to procrastinate and day dream on these projects.

©2009 Neil Fiore, PhD All rights reserved. Permission to reprint is granted provided this copyright and contact information are included:
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