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The window of dread

hood, fabio
Today I had three projects that I was absolutely dreading. They were boring, confusing, frustrating, interminable. So I grit my teeth, forced myself to set up at my nice standing desk, and started a 15-minute task switching timer. By the end of the first 15 minutes, I was really into task #1 and reluctant to stop. By the end of the second 15 minutes I was actually having fun with task #2. By the end of the third 15 minutes I hated task #3 slightly less than I had before, and decided to stick with it so I could get it out of the way sooner.

I was pretty sure that some combination of those three things would happen. This is what happens about 75% of the time, once I finally got down to work.

It took me about 10 years to learn that. Followed by 10 years of knowing it, but not being able to overcome the subjective sense of dread. I'm not quite done yet, but I've got the dread down from months to hours, and that makes a hell of a difference. My life is so much cooler than it used to be.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
nfnitperplexity
Sep. 2nd, 2013 05:18 am (UTC)
Yay for time-boxing! That paired with Getting Things Done is the secret to how I, uh, get things done.
inhumandecency
Sep. 2nd, 2013 01:59 pm (UTC)
I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on timeboxing. I'm trying to figure out how to balance systems that focus entirely on how much time I spend on a project (and end up rewarding junk hours just as much as productive ones) with systems that focus on goals and deliverables (and can become demotivating if a goal ends up requiring much more work than I expected).
nfnitperplexity
Sep. 2nd, 2013 07:25 pm (UTC)
I use time-boxing because procrastination is one of my vices. Doing wasteful busy work is generally not one of my vices - I have always been strategically lazy - so I don't feel the need for a lifehacking solution to address it.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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