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making n/a list appealing?

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  • making n/a list appealing?

    At this point looking at my N/A lists makes me very distressed and anxious. I recall that a fundamental concept in GTD is making your list appealing (not that life is all play and no work, but your lists are taking you were you want to go). These lists just remind me of huge amounts of undelivered committments from me to others and vice versa, and I get clutched in indecision. I even find the tasks on them conufusing (as in looking at an item and having to ask myself "What did I mean by that and why was I doing it?"). My instincts tell me to:
    review my list of focus and responsiblity, cull and re-define my projects, and re-align my n/a lists. Would like to hear what other people have done that got them back to working from the lists to get things done.

  • #2
    For me, regaining focus comes about by seeing what the act will do for me in terms of the final outcome...if it makes my life easier (espeically in the long run), then it is worth doing. In the heat of battle we don't always see that 'payoff' and thus, hesitate.

    Which soon makes for stale lists.

    PS. One can also choose to drop something entirely; life is fluid and situations change on a dime. What made sense yesterday may not today.


    • #3
      I think I am answering my own query as the response above has shed some light on what makes a particular N/A list appealing or unappealing. Mainly, it seems that an appeling list is one that can guide you through the completion of something that is an extension of your "core" values.

      Here are some of my thoughts, what do you think?

      An appealing list is:

      1. Clear: It is easy to follow because the actions are clearly stated and do-able in their contexts.

      2. Current: the actions are "fresh" and they relate to currently active projects.

      3. Connected:You see how they are related to or aligned with projects and goals.

      Lists might be more appealing if the date of entry is clear, project association is clear, time-urgent items are identified.

      A list is unappealing when it is:

      1. Difficult to use to get something done because
      too many actions are mentioned or implied in a particulat itme, or the verbs are vague or the action as described would really have to take place in more than one context.

      2. Dependent actions have not been teased apart (a listed N/A is dependent on a previous action that is either is not done and not listed to be done).

      3. Stale: The N/A items have been on it so long time they are becoming background noise, their relevance has been lost.

      4. The N/As refer to overwhelming or distasteful but necessary projects that you cannot get rid yourself of and bridges to these projects have not yet been built.


      • #4
        Meg Edwards

        In her article "Are you attracted to your to-do list?" Meg Edwards has some good ideas on this topic.