Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Ready For Anything: Chapter 7-- Priorities Only Function at the Conscious Level

Lots of folks confuse bad management with destiny.

Kin Hubbard

Speaking of "open loops," those projects that require more than one next action to close, Allen opens Chapter 7 with a reminder of how deleterious they can be to one's "psychic RAM."

Allen says that when things of secondary importance stay there, and aren't constantly reviewed and updated, we lose track of them.

Then there are they are, double-demanding our attention, threatening to three alarm, to ICU. All because we "didn't have time" for the secondary.

Now they're all we have time for, and everything
else is secondary.

Allen says: "This syndrome does not self correct--it self perpetuates."

The reason, Allen suggests, is that current thinking in organizational management is very "ABC." While he acknowledges that certain projects have a greater upside, and so deserve more time and effort, the down side remains: we tend to ignore the less important entirely, until we can ignore it no longer.

That's where the "Someday/Maybe" file comes in.

We all have responsibilities, in the form of ongoing projects that need completion to move the well-being of ourselves and our loved ones forward.

But we need to remember the importance of PROCESSING our responsibilities at least daily.

Remember, first we COLLECT: brain dump all projects / open loops.
Get 'em all down on paper/word doc.

Then, we PROCESS to the level of immediacy.

The "Someday / Maybe" file is where we put open loops that we may want to act on, but DO NOT NEED to act on today, or even this month.
Things that may, in fact, fall away, to be superseded by others.

Simply put, no "right here/right now" commitment.

"Someday / Maybe."

Allen says:

If it's on the projects list, you need to decide next actions equally on each one and review the status of each regularly. It's okay not to take action on them, as long as you know what the action is and as long as it's a conscious choice. But most people avoid involvement because they don't stop to think what the action is and then miss countless opportunities to move it forward before it morphs into crisis.

Allen uses the example of needing new tires: "either you do you don't." There's not much of a slope there.
Problem is, a decision like this one on tires too often will go from "not needed" to "desperately needed."

The difference between an effective and an ineffective approach to this open loop is the difference between "Call tire store for prices" and "Call AAA to fix blowout."

That's why my car has an appointment with my mechanic to check its timing belt.

In closing Chapter 7: Prioriites Function Only at the Conscious Level, Allen concludes:

Clarify and define all the outcomes you've committed yourself to accomplish, small and large, and the actions required to move on them. Then you're ready for the real efficiency game of getting them all done as soon as you can, and feeling okay about how it's going with each one.

What lies in our power to do, it lies in our power not to do.


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