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A possible explanation for procrastination; plus, here I am, kickstarting my life.

Apparently human beings are very bad at budgeting their time. We assume that we will somehow have more of it in the future. (While we technically do have more time in the future–the rest of our lives–we do not budget our activities over time. We seem to budget them to occur in one day.) Here’s an article in New Scientist about the phenomenon (via Luke).

I need to incorporate GTD principles–and FlyLady principles, and anything that pushes a system for organizing work done over time–so I can start actually working on my life goals. Here are a few of them:

  1. Start my own business.
  2. Learn to speak Japanese fluently.
  3. Invest in real estate.
  4. Live in Japan for at least a few years.
  5. Take a big vacation with a large group of friends.
  6. Attain and maintain my ideal weight.
  7. Become more socially responsible, both by being charitable and by being actively involved in citizenship.
  8. Write a complete, publishable piece of fiction.

I’m doing fairly well with #6 with the help of DietPower. That software has really shown me how organizational tools can help. There are things I want to keep track of that DietPower doesn’t help with, though, at least not in a direct, easy to manage way. I’m thinking about adding a new section to my website, /nutrition, that will house all the information I personally want to track, but I’m not sure about that yet. (Website updates are another thing I want to do, but they don’t really count as “life goals”.)

As far as #7 goes, I was much inspired by some posts Sam made over on a post on WWDN. He basically called for people who were unhappy with the way the country was going to write their Congressmen…not just every now and then, but regularly. Make Congress responsible. As Sam said, “I think “For the People, of the People, and by the People” should be more than just pretty words.” I would like to start staying on top of important issues, and writing a letter to my Congressmen every month with my opinions on how the country is going.

Regardless, to meet all these goals I need to work on some or all of them a little bit every day. I’m not doing that.

I seem to make a lot of posts about things I would like to do, and then never start working on doing them. This is, presumably, because I assume I will have time to work on them in the future. Nice little Catch-22, there. So, rather than end here, I am going to lay out my goals in GTD fashion.

I will create spaces for the following:

  • A “Projects” list
  • Project support material
  • Calendared actions and information
  • “Next Actions” lists
  • A “Waiting For” list
  • Reference material
  • A “Someday/Maybe” List

I will organize whatever materials I currently have into these categories. I will then begin preliminary planning for each project, one by one. I will determine what the “next action” is for every project–what I need to do to keep working on it. If that action takes less than 2 minutes, I will go ahead and do it. If not, I will “defer” it, to either a specific date (if it depends on a certain time) or to “next actions”, which will be done ASAP. (At this point I shouldn’t have anything in “waiting (for someone else to do)”, because this is all me. But you never know.)

I’m going to include short-term projects here too, like “update my website” and “create and follow a system for meal planning”, because these things need to be done, too.

In order for this system to work, I will check my Next Actions list every time I have a chance, and see if I have time to do one or more of them. Every time I check that list and do an action, I will figure out what the action after that will be, and write it down for next time.

Okay! Taking a break for lunch. My Next Action in this process is going to be figuring out what I’m going to use for organization. Robert has installed a GTD toolset into his Outlook Tasks; that’s a possibility. I may, however, just want to stick to hardcopy. I’ll figure that out after lunch.