Juggling the load – some free advice without the $4 words.Posted: February 17, 2012 Filed under: Education, Opinion | Tags: education, higher education, reflection, tools, workload Leave a comment
I have a list of things written on my wall, which I copied from “How to get things done” – one of my favourite ‘do something’ books. My favourite is:
Renegotiation: How can I achieve something AND make it awesome?
As I sit in my hotel room, at 10:48pm, after a fairly long day spent on planes and in talks, I have a chance to reflect on how I’m managing things. I’ve talked before about OmniFocus, mailboxes and to-do lists but, as always, there’s something else. Fortunately, I have no wish to get you to send me $1000 for the secret and I’m tired, so I’ll keep it short.
I realised that I’m handling things in a very ‘thought into action’ way. I have now assembled my tools, my iPad, my laptop and my phone, so that I can spring into action when I need to with the minimum of fuss. It doesn’t take me 15 minutes to locate something because it’s either in a paper folder or I can find it by searching electronically. This is not just liberating (because I am not bound to my office) but it allows for an immediacy of action. If I need it, I know where it is or I can find it easily. This reduces most problems down to read, think, decide, act, store. Once you take out ‘scrabble around on desk’ or ‘try to remember if you took this home’ or (worse) ‘become immobile because searching is now infeasible’, a lot of things start to look more possible.
It’s much like I imagine zen archery. The arrow is plucked from where the arrow must be, the arrow is set, the bow is drawn, the arrow is released and it flies through the air, inevitably striking the target. If there is another target, I already have my next arrow waiting. One motion, no hesitation.
It has taken me weeks… possibly months… to get to a point where things are working smoothly but it has been worth it. A year ago I would have crumbled under this, especially with the teaching about to start again. Currently, things are working.
If I’m being perfectly honest, and I try to asymptotically (*ding* $4) approach this, sometimes I still miss the odd thing but it’s most likely to be a conscious choice. I can see it coming and I have to work out if I can do it or if I have to push that load off somewhere else. There’s still room for improvement, which is always good.
Looking back at what started this post, I’m now achieving things and, with luck, I can increase the overall level of awesomeness as well.