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NA list resistance

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  • NA list resistance

    For some reason I have a resistance against doing those things on my NA lists. It seems like I can come up with things I can do that are not on that list and I like to do them more than those NA list items.

    I think the reason is that from the moment I put something on that list I have to do them, they become work. When I come home I prefer to be as free in doing what I want as I can be. Having an item as NA feels like I'm extending the work period.

    Anyone has this same resistance against the NA list or has tips on overcoming it?

  • #2
    I don't think anyone enjoys doing the dishes. But most people enjoy having a clean kitchen.

    With the possible exception of bills, many home items can be put off more or less indefinitely as long as you are willing to tolerate the squalor that not doing them creates. If you have a patient significant other, you may not even have to suffer the consequences, as their lack of tolerance for crud may drive them to fix the problem for you. Certainly lack of attention to a household is unlikely to have the same immediate consequences that lack of attention to a job can.

    That doesn't make it a good idea, of course.

    Fundamentally, it's like any other form of procrastination. Break it down into manageable pieces (are they really NAs?) and reward yourself for doing them.



    • #3

      Put the fun things on your NA list, too. Even if you think of something fun to do that'll only take a few minutes, add it to your NA list, do it, then remove it from your NA list.

      You're still Getting Things Done, even when doing things not on your list. If you make your NA list an integral part of doing everything, you'll be reminded of the less-fun things, too, and be more likely to do them.


      • #4
        I think I understand - Sometimes tracking in such a complete way does seem a bit like drudgery. I think this is good feedback, though. If most of your actions are things you don't want to do, it might open the door for re-evaluating why they're on your lists! That's the higher-level payoff of GTD, and it's also scary. (Interestingly, a peer of mine actually suggested that some of the folks who fail to adopt this work are doing so because it's intrinsically empowering and therefore threatening - it takes away the ability to say "it's not up to me," "I can't do anything about it," "I'm overloaded," etc. I definitely need to think about that!)

        I agree that having "fun" things on your list is crucial. Although there are times when it's great not to be working the system. I call this a "vacation," and you might choose to have one every day!?

        Good topic.


        • #5
          Originally posted by mephisto View Post
          Anyone has this same resistance against the NA list or has tips on overcoming it?
          I definitely have the same resistance from time to time. I feel your pain . In addition to the great points offered by Katherine and Brent, let me suggest several ideas:

          Consider if the stuff on the list is still "fresh". Maybe those items really are part of someday/maybe projects an ought to be moved off the list?

          Keep reviewing those NA regularly and looking at them. Sometimes I find that I just do them because I'm sick of looking at them. Also, sometimes I'll find that during a weekly review that I've already done them during the week, so it great to cross them off and get credit.

          You may also want to consider a "procrastination dash":

          - Don


          • #6
            Don beat me to the 43 Folders Dash suggestion, but I can at least second it. It's a good one for getting through a lot of little annoying things that clog up your lists.

            One other major suggestion is habits: if you can institute a daily habit to do a bit of whatever-it-is, you'll be able to do it without noticing. Check out zen habits for lots of ideas.

            An idea that usually works is to try doing your domestic drudgery routine in the morning rather than the evening. This uses the "Eat a live frog" theory: you get it over and done with first thing, so you know the rest of your day will be better.

            If they're regular things, you might put them on a checklist/routine list, rather than your NA lists. There's lots of ways of working around something like this, but the first step is, as most folks say, working out why you're responding like that: different problems demand different solutions.

            If all else fails, take all of them except one off your NA list for the time being, and keep at it until you do that one. This might help. This might also help (both are from Leo at zen habits).


            • #7
              Good suggestions.

              I'll clarify my problem regarding putting fun things on the list. When I put a fun thing on my list, it (feels like it) becomes work and I don't like to do it anymore.

              Thanks for all answers.


              • #8
                Originally posted by mephisto View Post
                I'll clarify my problem regarding putting fun things on the list. When I put a fun thing on my list, it (feels like it) becomes work and I don't like to do it anymore.
                That's not necessarily a problem, unless it's harming your commitments to other people. You might also need to be more diligent about fun things that depend on physical fitness or motor skills: being a good tennis player is more fun than being a bad tennis player, but you can't get or stay good unless you play regularly. But in general, there's nothing wrong with substituting one fun thing for another.

                Depending on the fun things, you might want to keep a separate category of lists: Restaurants to visit, movies to see, and so forth. That way you keep track of ideas you've had without adding the "must do" connotation of the NA list. You might also think about blocking out fun time as a calendar item. That way you make sure the time is free, but don't necessarily have to commit to a particular activity in advance.

                Last edited by kewms; 09-08-2007, 11:12 AM. Reason: expand and clarify


                • #9
                  Originally posted by mephisto View Post
                  ... from the moment I put something on that list I have to do them ...
                  It seems to me that you view the NA lists strictly as "work", so you avoid putting anything fun on those lists; this reinforces the idea that your lists represent work, which only further entrenches the idea that the lists are only for work. A vicious cycle.

                  Building on what Katherine suggested, how about creating a completely separate system for the fun stuff? Buy yourself a snoopy notebook and use crayons to keep the lists. OK, the crayons may be a bit much, but the idea is to make your fun lists, well, fun. Keeping them completely separate from your "work" stuff will help create some cognitive distance from your work lists, but will still allow you the benefits of GTD. These lists should be approached from a "could do" instead of a "must do" perspective.

                  Eventually, I think you'll get sick of maintaining two separate systems, but will not want to give up the benefits of having everything out of your head. At that point you'll be able to combine the two systems, and the emotional leap between work and fun won't be nearly as great.

                  Personally, I would be cautious of only capturing a subset of your stuff -- it can only compromise the trustworthiness of your system.

                  Best of luck.
                  Last edited by jknecht; 09-08-2007, 08:09 PM.