Archive for March, 2007

Candy Tasks

Friday, March 9th, 2007

There’s a lot of talk in our little realm of productivity about handling and managing tasks, but relatively little on prioritizing them – what to do when and why. The Good Book itself talks about prioritizing based on energy and importance of the task, but I like to do something else.

There are some tasks that I really, really don’t want to do. Not many, and if anyone finds they have a lot of these tasks I recommend they find a different job, but if I do find myself needing to do something, like write a dull essay that I just can’t get excited about, or clean the bathroom, or just Leave The Comforting Cocoon That Is My Bed, I find it’s best to couch it between ‘candy’ tasks – things that are productive, that get me where I need to go, but that I really enjoy doing.

So I’ve got some reading to do on Neolithic death and burial for one of my courses – a subject that in and of itself I find interesting, but much of the writing is dull. I really like writing flash fiction though, as you can tell from my other blog, so I like to couch things – I set a target of, say, ten pages, and in between reading these pages I write some flash or go for a walk or exercise or something else fun.

This does entail a degree of scheduling, which I know The Good Book strongly advises against (calendars are for hard landscapes only), but I find that laying out the day ahead in advance really helps quite a bit.

On Confidence

Thursday, March 8th, 2007

So Lifehacker have posted a link to 7 Helpful tips to Immediately Increase Your Confidence, which is a valuable little page that I recommend you all read – if you’ve looked into personal development for very long there’ll probably be nothing all that new here, but it’s definitely worth a look.

I have issues with confidence myself, although it’s rarely paralyzing – I get nervous about granular tasks, like public speaking or occasionally cold calling on the rare occasions I have to do it, but never about wider career spanning issues. These tactics have certainly helped a little bit, but they don’t Immediately Increase Your Confidence – they contribute to it over time, as it takes a while to shift over to the correct mindset.

Those kinds of titles really bother me about self-help, because it sounds like a silver bullet type of issue. You’re not going to wake up one day and suddenly be More Confident, because confidence is a mental habit that you have to wire your brain around and get used to.

Taking Care Of Yourself

Thursday, March 1st, 2007

So Wil Wheaton has made an awesome post on something we all forget to do from time to time, but something that’s dead important: taking time out for yourself.

Being dedicated to making other people’s lives better is all good, but if you don’t take care of yourself, you’re not going to be any help to anybody.

It also reminds me of an important point from The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron – she calls them artist dates, going out and doing something creative and fun, just you and yourself, in order to get back in touch. Kind of like spending time with your inner child.