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.)
Update - I’m Still Here! BRB…
Minimalism has gone on the back burner as of late, due to a combination of a reading-heavy semester and some physical health issues that have impeded my typing abilities. Thus, the blog has been neglected. I apologize for the lapse and hope you all will bear with me until I get back to it regularly.
My major setback has involved problems with my joints, particularly in my hands and shoulders. After about two months of debilitating pain and mobility problems, a couple of blood tests, and a lot of frustration, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia last week. Good news is that it’s not progressive and is treatable through minimal drug therapy and increased physical activity/yoga/stretching; bad news is they don’t know what causes it, so it’s not curable. The effects on my hands have meant that despite my better time management this semester, I still got behind in all my classes because typing was so unpleasant.
At any rate, I’m getting treated, already feeling better, and will return to regular blogging once the semester is over (first week of December).
Until then, a brief progress report:
*In terms of stuff, I have successfully located the one jacket to replace all six others, along with one pair of all-purpose boots and a pair of versatile athletic/casual shoes to replace my 10+ pairs. I’ve also begun gradually scanning photos and journals onto an external hard drive to keep what I want for posterity without the bulk of the physical items.
*In terms of time commitments, I’m still struggling with the inhibited executive function of time management that is part and parcel of my ADHD, but I’m getting much better. I’ve found and implemented some strategies that are helping on a micro-level at work, and am working on implementing them at the macro-level in life. I have pared down to 5 major commitments + 1 general category: Relationship w/ my fiancee, Care of my dog Jack, Work, School, and Youth Group advising; plus the general category of social interaction. I’m still trying to determine how physical well-being, maintenance of my home environment, and short-term projects/to-dos fit in all this - but I’m somehow managing to keep better (if not perfect) track of these than I ever have before!
In upcoming blog posts, I will share with you:
* My strategies for minimizing stuff and commitments without getting rid of that which you actually want