Archive for December, 2008

Scheduling or Squeezing It In

There are two ways to accomplish a task: sheduling a time to work on it or doing it whenever seems convenient. I am a terrible planner and do usually fall into the second method. Case in point: after a full day without working on this blog I am now writing this post in bed on my iPhone.

Surely this is not the best way to handle a recurring task. For one, I’m reduced to inefficient method of writing this post (the wordpress iPhone app is cool, but still). Second, it would have been easy for me to collapse at the end of the day without remembering to post at all. Third, I’m precluded from tasks that might need more resources (and energy) than I have at my disposal right now.

Nonetheless, I’m certain that doing something imperfectly now is better than not doing it at all. Even an unplanned and ill executed task is a step forward in creating something and strengthens the habit of working on that project.

Still, tomorrow I’m going to make this blog the first item on my list rather than an afterthought. If nothing else at least I’ll know that I’ll have that 15 minutes at the end of the day for something really important like some extra sleep.

Leave a Comment

Priorities

How important is priority setting? So far I’ve been able to work on this blog without any clear priorities. I’ve tackled some kind of task each day, whether it be writing a post or working on the site design or configuring the blog software. There’s been no real scheme to the timing what i’ve done when. So far it’s been enough to show up every day and just do something.

I have a feeling though that this slapdash approach may not work forever. In the future each task may lose urgency and require conscious priortization in order to become a reality. I’m dreading that day.

Truth is I’m not good at prioritization. Getting Things Done appealed to me because it focused on the context for tasks rather than their priority. I’m a project of any complexity or longevity though tasks surely must be ordered. My best hope is that this order will be emergent. That is, I’m counting on this blog letting me know what tasks require attention as the need arises, rather than planning out a long list if tasks beforehand.

All I’m holding myself to is my original mission for this work. I’m going to show up 15 minutes a day to do something, anything, to move this blog project forward. No planning, no priorities, just filling up the page with pixels one fifteen minute day at a time.

Leave a Comment

4 Blockers of Progress

Even in the short time since I’ve started this blog I’ve already noticed behaviors and attitudes creeping up that are getting in the way of this project. Take a look at the four blockers below and see if any of them have bedeviled your progress.

  1. Impatience: Especially at the beginning of a project impatience can be a powerful force. It’s not enough to start something, I want it to be finished at the same time, or at least skip all the work that stands between the present and the future point at which I’ll be happy with the result. Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that the work will end up as expected no matter how much time intervenes.

  2. Distraction: It’s amazing, but even in a single 15 minute period I can be distracted from a task I’m trying to complete. A phone call, an email, a cool website I come across while doing something else – all of these have the power to tear me away from what I’m trying (not very hard) to do. Am I just not trying hard enough? Is the task I’m working on not engaging enough? I’m hoping to find out what’s causing this phenomenon.

  3. Boredom: Any task can become boring, and it doesn’t even take that long. Once boredom sets in distractions become almost welcome.

  4. Judgement: With only 15 minutes a day to work on this blog it’s going to be easy for me to decide that what I’ve created isn’t good enough. Truthfully though, I don’t think more time to work on this would make me feel differently. It’s always easy to discount the quality of your work. I’m hoping to put judgement aside and just continue to show up every day, 15 minutes at a time.

I’m hoping that awareness is the first step to eradicating these blockers or at least decreasing their potency. Nonetheless I’m sure I’ll have plenty of opportunities to communicate how they continue to function as I move forward (in spite of obstacles) with this blog.

Leave a Comment

What to Expect

My method of producing this blog is pretty simple: fifteen minutes of work a day. But what’s the subject of my posts going to be? Short answer: the production process is the subject.

I’ll be posting about what it’s like to be working in this way and what the lessons learned have to say about my other interests such as productivity, technology, social networking, etc. At the core though this blog will be about what it takes to create this blog.

Recursive? Yes. Solipsistic? Perhaps. My hope is that this exercise will encourage me, and others, to overcome shyness, perfectionism and fear and start a creative project, any project, with the smallest investment possible.

Who is there that cannot afford 15 minutes a day to make something new? Surely even a completely failed endeavor is worth a lousy quarter of an hour if only for the value of the project as a learning experience. I’ll be sharing whatever lessons I can take from this blog. They’ll be archived here so I don’t forget them and if they help somebody else out there that’s a bonus.

Leave a Comment

Starting Out

The idea: if Aristotle was right that “quality is not an act, it is a habit”, then habitual work at something should eventually produce a quality product.  

The project: This blog will be the product of fifteen minutes of work every single day.  

The questions: 

  1. Can every task associated with publishing a blog be broken down into 15 minute increments?
  2. Can something of quality be produced in this manner?
  3. What can be learned from the discipline of working on a project for only 15 minutes every day?
  4. Can distraction be eliminated for even 15 minutes at a time?
  5. Will this be at all a satisfying exercise?

Well that’s fifteen minutes down and I don’t know how many more to go.  Let’s see if I can leave this alone until tomorrow.

Leave a Comment