Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task. ~William James

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Life Management 101--Just Don't Do It

This Tuesday feature will continue to draw on Laura Stack's Find More Time:  How to Get Things Done at Home, Organize Your Life, and Feel Great About It for the next few weeks.  In Chapter 3, this week's subject, we consider  "Mastering the Third Pillar--PERSONALITY."  Five more pillars, and chapters to go.

As it turns out, "Personality" is one of the weaker supports in my productivity structure, as measured by Stack's Productivity Quiz--the strongest of my four weakest.  (Interested readers can take the quiz, on Stack's website, by clicking here.)  As I read this, it doesn't mean that I have a lousy personality, but rather that some of my "behaviors, habits, and choices" need "adjust[ing] in order to support [my] desired direction in life."  That seems apt.

My disappointing score on Personality resulted from my responses to the following quiz items, elaborated in Chapter 3.  I rated each quiz item on the following scale:  1) to no extent; 2) to a little extent; 3) to some extent; 4) to a considerable extent; or 5) to a great extent.  My responses are in red.

To what extent do I . . . 
  • Control perfectionism, realizing that some things are good enough.  [2]
  • Refuse requests when appropriate.  [2]
  • Ask for help when I need it.  [2]
  • Avoid procrastinating on what I know I should be doing.  [3]
  • Know and honor my energy levels throughout the day.  [2]
  • Communicate clearly to avoid confusion and rework.  [2]
  • Consistently meet and usually beat deadlines.  [2]
  • Focus on completing one task before getting distracted by another.  [2]
  • Maintain a positive attitude.  [2]
  • Stop trying to please all of the people all of the time.  [2]
No surprises here, really.  Perfectionist.  Can't say no.  Trouble delegating.  Procrastinator.  Too frequently working to exhaustion.  Communication difficulties.  Never met a deadline I didn't. . . well, almost never met a deadline.  Task overlapper.  Princess Negativity.  People Pleaser to the nth.  Isn't that why I started this blog?

But what am I supposed to do about all that?  It may just be my dreary late-December mindset, but all of the advice that Stack packs into this section on personality issues related to productivity, or the lack thereof, seems to me to consist of variations on the word don't.  Just don't be a perfectionist; and don't procrastinate, multitask, be negative.  Just don't be the kind of person that has all these traits that get in the way of living what Oprah calls "your best life."

To be fair, Stack offers lots of practical advice, and it isn't her fault that I've spent a lot of my adult life searching similar volumes for the answer, so that almost none of it is new.  So I'll keep reading.  Maybe it will be like meditating.  I'll just put in the cushion time, or in this case, the page-turning and idea-processing, and over time some change will seep into my bogged down system.  

Next week, Pests.  Not vermin, but distractions, interrupters, and other such roadblocks.  In the meantime, I'll keep trying to have a different, better, more productive personality.

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