While away in Montana, I had some time to think about getting things done (lowercase), and how much of my time is lost to general frittering, conscious work avoidance, and watching the ‘tubes all crazy magpie-like. Upon returning, I’ve seen a couple of posts from Merlin Mann at 43 Folders which have started to crystallize some things.
(1) Neal Stephenson’s argument that writers write. As Mann reports in the first part of a series about effective time use, Stephenson believes–and rightly so–that long, uninterrupted blocks of time (LUBoT) are critical for writing long, uninterrupted blocks of novels. Like, four hours or more. And, being attached to the Internet in any fashion (via any number of distracting applications, social and otherwise) will forestall the “uninterrupted” part of the equation.
Now, I don’t have long blocks of time. With kids and the day job, they’re just not there, and I have to chunk up my projects into tiny, fragmented pieces. And, in some ways, I wonder if this contributes to number of projects that I’ve got on my plate, as each of them has micro-states of success built into them. I can feel like I’m getting somewhere on a project when I can parcel out a two-hour chunk. However, it’s not lost on me that novels benefit from LUBoT, and I’ve been trying to figure out how to get those back.
(2) This morning’s post on 43Folders about Outcome-Based Thinking might be the solution. Mann distills the issue down to this equation: I need to $FOO because I want to $BAR. It’s all about Next Actions. Which validates what I did accomplish yesterday, which was to list the remaining Recto chapters to be done in PSYCHOBABEL and give them names. By doing so, they now have Goal States, and I can apply the $F00->$BAR OBT to them.
And now, forward movement again. Anchors up, and off we go.