Next Steps: The Foundation of Making Things Happen
***Please note: This post is cross-posted to my new WordPress site, Executive Dysfunctions, which will be the home of my ADD-management work. This site will continue to be updated with posts related to my minimalist-inspired journey, but will likely be phased out over the next few months. Please follow me at the new place!***
In the realm of time management and productivity, I draw inspiration from several outside sources. In terms of developing a consistent system, I have adapted some of my recommendations from David Allen’s Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, an organization book geared toward business professionals that can be (mostly) translated to any and all areas of life. Although it is definitely written from the perspective of a highly privileged, upper-class, able-bodied, educated, heterosexual, white American male, this book is an anomaly among mainstream organizing approaches in that many of its tools can be used by people with ADD and other executive function disorders.
Big Picture: Find a Better Job
What has to happen first?
/ \ \
Interview for Jobs Update my resume Search for Available Jobs
What has to happen before any of these can be done?
-> Determine what kind of new job I want
From here, my next action will vary, depending on whether I choose A or B:
For example, when you call Bob for a reference, he may tell you that he heard of an opening at this great new web organization, or say something that brings to mind a key point for your resume. Even if nothing more than the intended reference comes out of the phone call, you have already broken down your goal enough to easily extract a Next Action from your brainstorming; this becomes more intuitive as time goes on (and, as we translate this concept into a system, you’ll have a master list to refer to when you feel “stuck”).
This means that almost as soon as you reframe your approach to the traditional “to-do” list, all the hours you used to spend painstakingly outlining your step-by-step plan of action will be completely unnecessary - a thought both scary and liberating. Scary because you have to give up the (erroneous) idea that you can know and control exactly what will happen on the way to your goal; liberating because you will quickly find that you have a lot more time to devote to doing your goals rather than planning them.
What is the Next Step you can take toward your current goal?
(Next post: An overview of the system.)
Quick Update and Teaser!
Hi! I’m still alive!
I didn’t realize just how long it had been since I updated here. After the first few weeks of not posting, I admitted to myself that I have indeed taken on too much this spring, and the blogging simply has to take a back seat temporarily. This will change in the very near future - roughly the time when my classes end in May.
The hiatus has not been unproductive; I have used it to gain a sharper focus for the content of this blog, and if I may say so myself, it’s going to be awesome! There will be purging, yes, but so much more! Thus, the teaser:
As a work in progress, my greatest challenges have not been those usually addressed by minimalist blogs - reservations about parting from stuff, limiting beliefs about my potential, fears of dreaming big. While those have been minor obstacles, I’ve surmounted them with ease thanks to the existing literature (see links below). My major issues revolve around certain special needs, and I’ve come to realize that the same ways in which those affect my life academically and financially also impact my progress in this minimalist journey toward a better life.
As you may already know from the erratic format of this blog (and certainly do if you know me personally), I have ADD - not the “ha ha, I’m so scattered it’s funny” kind, but the genuine medical kind that derives from structural and chemical anomalies in the brain. Thanks to modern science, which released a plethora of information about the exact nature of this disorder in the first few years of this century, I have an asset now that I didn’t as a kid: understanding.
I’ve spent the past two years actively creating the structures and supports in my life that my brain does not naturally possess or produce. As a result, I have progressively increasing sustainable life-management practices and decreasing stress levels. I’ve made order of my disorder.
Over the next several months, I will apply these tools to these big plans I’ve been on about for so long, document that process, and turn it into instructional material - news you can use.
Among these features will be:
- Executive Functions: What They Are, How They Work, and What to Do if Your Brain Doesn’t Have Them
…as well as reviews of helpful literature, links to outside resources, interviews with experts in the field, and other fantastic things I haven’t even thought of yet!
- Man vs. Debt: Meet Baker, his wife Courtney, and their adorable kid, Milligan. They’re currently RV-ing it around the US helping average people look their financial demons in the eye and stare them down. Baker is also introducing a new venture, You vs. Debt, which will offer free and purchasable tools for winning the staring contest.
- Zen Habits: Leo Baubuta is a father of several who has found peaceful, independent living through minimalist pursuits. His e-book, The Simple Guide to A Minimalist Life, is an amazing resource for anyone looking to apply minimalist principles to their life - be that paring down your knick-knacks or preparing to live out of a backpack. Also, if you use this link to buy it, I get a cut! Yay!
- Ev Bogue used to teach people how to be minimalist, but he’s recently upgraded to teaching people how to be superhuman. His Minimalist Business is an invaluable resource for entrepreneurs who want to keep their overhead low to zero. I haven’t read Augmented Humanity yet, but if it looks like an interesting read, go for it. Again, ordering either of them through my link gets me a commission - wins all around!