A Will-Do List

Coaching, Disciple, Will Do No Comments

I was sure I’ve talked about this before – – some things are just worth repeating.

One of the things I’m considering using this blog for is my “Will Do” list. Now why a WillDo and not a ToDo? Maybe you can think of it as a MustDo list. These concepts and lists have different purposes.

For example, in the time management system called “Getting Things Done” (GTD by devoted fans, and the rest of us…) the idea is to put everything on your list to get it out of your head and on to paper. Then you spend your time prioritizing and deciding whether that was hair brained, an errant dream, or a vital task that must be accomplished.

I’m not looking for something like that. That is an all encompassing tool. I would like a comprehensive system. But there is no system that works if you don’t run it. And for me, consistency is lacking so any system will fail when you don’t crank the handle.

However, I do still have things that need to be accomplished in my life. Hmm, authorizing my newly issued debit card is on the list since the gas station doesn’t believe me when I say I have the new one while I’m trying to convince them to “just use the old, expired one for now.” There’s also that little issue with one of the taxing authorities, they’re looking for about a hundred bucks and some form from 3rd quarter of 2010. And they probably won’t wait forever… Things still need to get done.

Enter the “will do” list. It is a list that contains items that must be done today for the day to be considered a success. So how would this list work?

  • It would have to be a short list.  You couldn’t put everything that pops into your head on this list, there are only so many hours in a day.
  • It would have to be specific.  “Work on my book” doesn’t fly,  “write 200 words” would, or “review chapter structure” would if even just a cursory glance is enough.  (Helpful tip, sometimes even just saying “open and review outline” sounds simple and an easy throw away task.  But once you’ve gone to the trouble of opening it, you might as well work on it for a little while.  It’s a great way to trick yourself out of procrastination.  Or, as I like to call it, overcoming static friction.  Inertia works both ways, staying at rest AND remaining in motion.  I know that’s hard to believe with our friend friction around, but it’s true!
  • It has to be a closed list.  This means you have to predetermine what’s on there.  You have the list laid out and you say “Go!”
  • It has to be reviewed.  Now there is an amazing phenomenon that just putting the list down and never reviewing it will get at least 60 – 70% of it completed – that’s been my experience at least!  Could this be the “Law of Attraction” at work?  Don’t get me started… another time.  But “testin’ and trackin'” is the only way to incremental improvement.  If you don’t review, that percentage will remain at it’s 2/3 success rate (not bad, but lots of room to improve.

It’s that last point that this blog might come in handy for.  It would be the accountability that pushes for a review.  Of course this may mean that there has to be two posts – one for the list and one for it’s review.  Is that really true?  Could I just post that the last WillDo list has been reviewed and that be enough?  I’m still thinking about this one.  How can a blog be used as an accountability partner or tool?  Have you got ideas on this?

What Makes A Habit

Disciple, Learning, Observations No Comments

So now the weekend is here. I have family visiting, this is a busy, packed day ahead. All good reasons to take a break – or set a standard for a periodic Sabbatical.

The rules are – there are no rules. Hmm, that seems scary or intimidating to me.

In trying to develop foundational habits, when do you make an exception? I can think of two times. 1) When you must and 2)When you decide it’s OK to.

1) Don’t get so wound up in trying to start something that it becomes an obsession. For some an obsession is good – they might call it a passion, or even a hobby. But I have a compulsive nature, obsessions can steal away from essentials in life and also create an imbalance. Gaining a balance in life is important to me and so I temper my desire to “get up and going” with something with the desire not to destroy current initiatives or even relationships.

On the other hand, there needs to be a big enough desire, a big enough push to overcome the inertia of doing nothing that there should be no, er, few exceptions to the rule. The question has to be asked, “Are these circumstances that cause me to miss doing what, when I step back and think it through, I really want to be doing? Or, it this life’s surf crashing against my plans and I need to decide if my plans are valuable enough to build up a resistance?”

Well right now, I have a wee bit of momentum – for today, my Scriptures are read, oh – I still have some writing to do… I did leave that undone, but my lesson for latter this morning is prepared, and I’m blogging now. So this will be one wave resisted.

2) There are some habits that must be done to avoid physical ramifications (like eating and good breathing, and believe it or not regular vigorous exercise… we’ll tackle that one soon enough), and there are others that have embarrassment as a result – like deciding it’s not worth it to get dressed before heading out for the day. This might not only be embarrassing, but it might end up with civil penalties on most parts of the world.

While all that is true, there are some habits that it may never matter if you take them up or not. Writing is a great example. Many people don’t write. In fact many people give up reading anything longer than the first couple paragraphs of a news story or even street signs once they get away from any formal education. So taking up writing as a habit is definitely not necessary. You won’t physically suffer, you won’t even be embarrassed (unless, of course you’ve gone and told everybody that your novel is coming out soon and they start asking probing questions about the plot, the character, and how your spending that big advance from the publisher – making up fanciful stories to impress your friends is a habit you should get rid of. I’m talking about building habits, not removing them. Some other time).

These “non-essential” habits can make huge differences in your life though. They can break up monotony, they can be a foundation for new achievements and enable you to reach places you couldn’t otherwise (these are the kinds of habits I’m looking to build up here).

These are the habits that might go unnoticed if you don’t start them, but that people will surely notice once they’re established. So can you decide to take a break from them? At your peril! Well, let me back off from that a bit. It’s good to know you can take a break and get back to it. That’s a sign that the habit is engrained and you have developed a patter of behavior or skill. But the danger is the ease at which a building habit can be abandoned.

I guess I’m talking in theory here, but you should be able to hold your plans loosely enough that you aren’t reduced to a pile of tears and disappointment if you miss a day or an opportunity to continue your habit. I’m not there yet. So I will soldier on with today’s entry.

Hmm, can you till it was later in the morning and I was trying to hold two conversations while composing this? I can. See you tomorrow.

Tomorrow I want to talk about “To Do’s” vs. “Will Do’s”

A Devotional Life Sets the Tone

Disciple, Learning, Spiritual 2 Comments

A few questions for myself. If asked:

Do you pray? Answer: Yes, I pray often.
Do you study the Bible? Answer: Yes, yes I do.

Oh, that sounds wonderful. But let’s go a little deeper…

Do you pray and study the Bible consistently??  Oh, well, uh, er.  Easier said than done.

I mean, I go on weekend retreats where I’m expending tons of mental energy.  I have visits with family that make a normal routine impossible.  With meetings and activities that I’ve signed up to participate in, life gets very busy.  And I have a personality that tends to be easily distracted.

What does that sound like to you?  Reasoning?  Rationalization?  Excuses?  Maybe a few more questions would be helpful.  Do you clothe yourself regularly?  Yes, definitely, without exception.  Do you brush your teeth each day?  Sometimes more than once!  Do you shower daily?  With a few exceptions, but I would say for the vast majority, yes, regularly.  And do you regularly have a meal?  Um, check my waistline, I am not deprived – I make it to the table … regularly.

So the question isn’t whether a devotional life can be done, or if the busyness of life can be accounted for.  The question is on which list do these activities rest?  So reasoning aside.  Let’s get to taking action!

I have been using Professor Grant Horner’s Bible Reading Method since January of 2011.  I liked the nerdiness of it.  For me it required a spreadsheet to keep track.  You read 10 chapters a day from 10 different lists.  The goal isn’t to deeply meditate on the word, but to read it through and soak it in.  Let familiarity grow and gain insight from the ever changing combination of the chapters as they juxtapose themselves in the daily readings.

This method can take 45 minutes.  The goal is to get through, not to stop and think.  That is what made it difficult.  Not to mention my sporadic participation.  So I fell behind, and what seemed like a good system – and one that has worked better for me than any I’ve yet encountered (or so I thought)… Became a drudgery.

Then I had another epiphany.  A cousin of mine (once removed, technically) started posting on Facebook that he was reading a daily reading from YouVersion.com I went and checked it out.  It’s pretty nice.  It has online Bibles and reading plans and it encourages you to share what your doing through Facebook or Twitter.  It’s not quite there yet, it takes about 5 clicks on their site to get to where I’m ready to read.  But it’s worth supporting (I gave them a link, as you see).

I found old Prof. Horner’s reading plan there.  So I signed up and got started.  I  didn’t make it too far, maybe a week?  Before seeing that a new tool doesn’t make a habit happen – the activity does.  A new pen, or a new laptop, doesn’t make you a writer – writing does.  That sage advice aside, I wanted a plan that was not fighting against me.  I wanted to study God’s word, not just read it.  So I started looking at other plans.

And that’s how I got to this post this morning.  I came across a devotional plan that I was introduced to back in 2003, or was it 2005?  I’m not sure (I should probably research that for my future biographers…).  But I remember Pastor Dean sharing his discovery with the elders.  It is the Life Journal Reading Plan from Pastor Wayne Cordeiro (he’s in Hawaii, how can you not praise God when you pastor there??).  But I’m on the plan and I want to share it with you – or at least share what I like about it:

  1. It is a plan for study, there is a daily reading assignment.  From the reading you focus in on a verse or passage – called a Scripture.  Then you write out an Observation and an Application of that scripture.  And finally you have a Prayer regarding what you’ve studied (and you write those four segments in a “Life Journal” S.O.A.P. << cleaning up an ungodly life 😉 ).  So you end up having a commentary in the Bible written by you!  That’s handy.
  2. There are only 4-5, or so chapters each day.  Much smaller and manageable.
  3. The plan completes the Bible in a year, so you don’t get the variety.  An a given date you will always be reading the same grouping of chapters.  But that gives an advantage too…
  4. It’s something you can share!  You can do together!  If, for some reason, you decided to join me – we would be reading the same verses each day.  If you saw me today you could say, “Ah Paul really polished it off there at the end of 2nd Corinthians, didn’t he?”  We’d smile, we’d wink, and maybe we’d talk about what impressed us today.  We could even share our journal entries and have a little impromptu study… I really like that possibility.

So with those reasons, I’m chugging ahead.  Join me if you like.  Who knows, I may even get a paper Journal and write with ink or something.  Now I’d have to be pretty inspired to try some kind of craziness like that!

What do you think?  Join me?  Not joining me?  Skeptical that I’ll keep up?  Tell me so in the comments – I love being motivated to create life changing habits … and when I’ve made it we can look back and comment that “I did it all … just to spite you!”  << that’ll be a post for another time.

Reviving an Abandoned Outpost

Disciple, Learning, Will Do No Comments

This site has been left to it’s own devices since I was in the hospital a year and a half ago. I’m thinking about re-branding this place, adding some curtains and changing the direction.

I need a place on the web to just splatter random thoughts. A public-private partnership (that just sounds so good… I think every endeavor should have a public-private partnership. It just would be so integrated) between hopes and dreams and actions and plans. The name is snappy, the URL is short. It definitely doesn’t roll off the tongue. It’s also not something you could give a shout out to on radio or in a podcast (hint, hint). But that’s not the intention. This is a place that you either “run into” by searching for all kinds of weirdness – or I let it slip to you that it even exists.

It’s an illusion hiding right in front of your face. It’s there in your browser, just one click away. Well, that’s the big idea.

So what kind of things am I expecting to go here?

I know that it’s always easier to have someone else hold you accountable, in fact that the way it should be. I just don’t have anyone who’s applied for that job at the moment. So this would be the place. I will make statements here, I will lay down markers here. And as they are reviewed – either commenters will hold me to account, or I’ll do it myself in some sort of review process. << oh, a review process... very needed by me. And if I can figure out a way to do it systematically I could share it with others to generally improve the world. Journaling
I continue to struggle with this. I thought that SetOfSail would be the place for this, but there’s a definite theme over there. I might cross post that way, but this would be where the sloppy 1st draft would go and then the polish thought would be shared there. So that wasn’t the place to put a mess like this.

Forbidden Topics
This is the one that will get me in all the trouble, and I know it. I am passionate about things that make people mad – specifically religion and politics. These are the things that people seem the most opinionated about and if you find that a person is on the other side of your cherished opinion, you have a tendency (a compulsion? hmm…) to judge and ridicule someone with a different viewpoint. I’ve been told, by a few, that I do better than most at seeing perspectives other than my own (maybe it’s because I’m a Libra << naw, that's worse than hogwash (what is hogwash, it’s surely got to have some serious stick associated with it…)).

So that being said, I will on occasion explore religious topics from my peculiar, and some would say fanatical, point of view. I will also be talking some political and economic trash. So, this is your warning. If you don’t like that sort of thing or you are afraid that you will think less of me after reading along, then don’t. But I would leave you with this thought on that. If you read an opinionated post on a taboo subject and you think differently of me because of it. Did I change, or did you? I had that opinion before when you liked me, so by reading it you have changed. Is that good or bad? I don’t know if it’s either. But I can say that you have more control over your thoughts and opinions than you think you do. So I would urge you to bring those thoughts front and center and be more self-aware. And if you wouldn’t mind, you could keep on thinking I’m more than the wildly random thoughts I produce. I still think you’re worth hearing from and by your choice the feeling can continue to be mutual.

Yeah, I can get a little down in the dumps sometimes. I am told I can be hard on people close to me. I am often harder on myself. That may show through, but this might just be how I wrestle through and come to grips with myself. So cut me some slack here. Hey, were you invited in the first place? OK, I probably did do that – but if I choose not to respond to every piece of advice understand that I’m not saying don’t bring it, I’m just saying I don’t have to buy it. Are we cool?

If I were organized…
I’ll end with a couple of things that I’d like to conquer daily (yeah, this is heavily influenced by my unfogettable five. Actually, that’s pretty much the list. If I could do that, or use this blog to hold myself to that – things’d be swell.

Let’s just see. (Am I doubting myself already?? )

Looking for a profile pic

Will Do No Comments

I’m too groggy to have the good sense to get my good side. But my new glasses are lookin’ sharp 🙂

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Making the Best of What Is

Will Do No Comments
OK, so I wasn’t super productive this morning. But I did sleep an extra hour or so. That’s a great thing all in itself! And I’ve been able to catch up on some news items and listen to two podcasts. But now I’m a little late for work. Gonna have to hustle. But even in this compressed time, I’ve been able to have some quality thoughts. One of the podcasts hits directly at my new web venture. I’m thinking about linking to it for my inaugural post – not sure about that yet. I’ll have to decide in about 2-3 days though! 🙂

The sun’s coming up, it’s frosty out there. Gotta get moving. My shoulder was feeling good when I got up. But a little time in front of the desk, and it’s tightening up. We’ll see what the day brings. Moving out into it. One week down.

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Oops missed a morning, but not a day

Will Do No Comments
Oh, I was going to send this off this morning – but I was actually working on one of my scheduled blogs. It took a lot longer than I thought. Going after these one after the other may be a bit more than I can manage. I’m still on top of things so far though. Is this going to just be a post about how I was late in posting?

No, I’ll add some news. I actually got my first check that isn’t directly tied to my working hourly – it’s tied to business and profit and percentages and such. It’s not enough to quite my day job but it’s a start and it’s something I want to build on. I want my whole income to be derived from sources such as this. I’ll continue to chip away at that little by little.

I posted what I have for an action plan in a forum that I’m a member of. No responses back yet. I sure hope someone does a critique, I could sure use the help. And that’s one thing I love about commenting online. I can benefit directly, but then a number of other people can also benefit by seeing what I did and didn’t do correctly and listening in on the criticism and encouragement I receive. It’s till a little bit too spectator for me, but a lot of people learn that way. We’ll see what happens there.

One more day and this week will be completed. I have another doctor’s visit over lunch today for the shoulder. Eight or so more on the outside before I have my surgery. I can make it that long, I think. I’ll write more in just a few hours.

I’m going to do a little exercise before going to bed – very little.

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Mounting Pressure – Confluence or Conflagration?

Will Do No Comments
There is a sense of vertigo that I get whenever events seem to squeeze in on me. There seems to be a lot of action and motion going on and I stand in the middle of it. The question is – is this the coming together of many streams in my life into a confluence of purpose and meaning? Or is it a wave of fire sweeping up to me to leave me as a pile of ash. The only way to know is to wait and see.

I had a terrible day at work yesterday. The project was to end and be completed now has 2-3 major bugs that have to be investigated, uncovered, and rectified. It was quite a setback, emotionally as well as professionally. So I will have to be putting more mental energy there. However at the same time I’ve been trying to get on top of some consistency in putting up content to the Internet and build a legitimate presence there (er, here?). I have a calendar that I’m holding myself to. I am talking to another netizen who is traveling a similar path about holding one another accountable. And I’m putting web parts and pieces together to provide a stable platform to build a community, or a tribe, upon.

I’m getting some structure to my mornings, which are my big productivity hours before I have to run off to my j-o-b. As usual (for me) too many ideas, not enough action. But this year starts the new era of action. Not starting with a burst out of the gates, but more of the measured stride of the marathon runner. But I see the motion around me, and in me, so I’m turning a rough day around to a positive starting place.

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Managed a Few Steps in the Morning

Will Do No Comments
This morning I was able to start working on my Google Reader account. I was looking at Ed’s list of things for going into 2010. He talked about needing fuel for content. And if I’m going to make this blog calendar thing work – I’m going to definitely need some fuel. So I did started looking for places to get some fuel for content. I’m sure I could make some adjustments, but I already found two articles that caught my fancy – and that was just while setting the feeds up!

I also listened to a 48 Days podcast talking about whether or not it was Godly or a lack of faith to set personal goals. That could be a discussion or a blog post for sure. I wonder if people would take sides on an issue like that? I also listened to some more audio on podcasting and trying to get that under my belt.

Tonight I have a Skype call with someone who may partner up with me for accountability. I know I could sure use it. And I think I’m capable of giving as good as I get. We’ll see about that… Until tomorrow.

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The Week of Blogging

Disciple, Learning, Will Do No Comments
Time to try something new. Time to see about making things stick. Time to inaugurate a new ritual. Time to make the power of habits work for me instead of against me. Time to get going.

It would seem that 2009 was a bad year for writing to this blog. I stopped at the end of ’08 and now it’s late February in 2010! I haven’t decided if it matters much that I have older posts on here from my attempts at getting started as an Internet marketer. I think it’s quaint and if you see the history there – then you know I haven’t decided to nuke them.

Those old posts will stay for now mainly because I want this site to be a bit messy. I don’t want to get all up tight because it isn’t perfect, because I’m not perfect and I don’t want any of my internally voiced excuses to pull me down. It is what it is and I’m going to make incremental changes and improvements instead of trying to “unveil a masterpiece.”

I have created a blogging schedule and we’ll see how it maps out. Basically I’ll be writing something to publish on Thurs – Sun. So Mon – Wed is idea generation time and preparation time. It may be too big of a bite to handle. Maybe I should start small and master just one post a week for a while. Maybe I should get some momentum going.

Or maybe it’s just time to take action, to get started, maybe it is time to try something new.

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