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08 Jun

Are you doing what you later will want to have done?

Datum: 2011-06-08 16:50

Keep­ing track of what you have to do is one thing. To then actu­al­ly do the right thing once you are doing some­thing, is anoth­er mat­ter entirely. 

To be com­plete­ly hon­est, wouldn’t you also con­fess to hav­ing spent time on some­thing you in hind-sight wish you hadn’t invest­ed your time in? 

It needn’t be that you have lost your­self in some kind of net ser­vice (for instance one that starts with F, ends with k, and has a b in the mid­dle), it might as well be that you are doing rou­tine tasks which sim­ply need com­ple­tion, that are not very inter­est­ing, but which there seems to be plen­ty of regardless. 

Sud­den­ly you have wast­ed a lot of time on some­thing triv­ial which you would rather have spent doing that one task, work­ing on that par­tic­u­lar project or that ter­rif­ic idea. 

Wouldn’t it be nice if you made use of and man­aged your time bet­ter as to avoid regret­ting how you spent it when it is already too late? You would then feel that you were pro­gress­ing with the tasks you tend to post­pone. And well, you wouldn’t just feel as if you were, but you would actu­al­ly get them done sooner. 

You could and would feel more at ease and con­tent with your­self, since you are doing what you should when there is time for it.

An extra­or­di­nar­i­ly sim­ple trick

A sim­ple trick which has been sur­pris­ing­ly effec­tive in my life is to occa­sion­al­ly ask myself if I am doing some­thing at this very moment which I lat­er will have want­ed to have done the most. 

Per­haps it sounds ambigu­ous, but in a lit­tle while you will be able to look back at this present moment. You will then either think I real­ly did some­thing valu­able and use­ful with my time” or you will think Oh no, why did I spend time doing that, when I should have … instead?”.

So, if you can already imag­ine what it will feel like lat­er when you look back at this moment this is use­ful when you need to pri­or­i­tize amongst dif­fer­ent tasks. 

If you hap­pen to be one of those who tend to loose your­self in the type of activ­i­ties you lat­er regret involv­ing your­self in, this might be just the cure for you.

Do this

Think of a way which makes it easy for you to remem­ber to from time to time dur­ing the day ask your­self Am I real­ly doing what I lat­er will want to have done?”

This could for exam­ple be:

  • That you write the ques­tion on a note which you post on the com­put­er screen, so that your eye catch­es it when you look at the screen
  • That you cre­ate a bitmap image with the ques­tion on it, and then use this as you com­put­er desk­top background-image
  • That you get one of those mouse-pads where the out­er lay­er is a trans­par­ent pock­et in which you can put a note with the ques­tion on
  • That you write a small script so that a few times a day, at ran­dom times, a win­dow pops up on your com­put­er ask­ing you the question
  • That you write the ques­tion on a strip of paper which you paste with scotch tape onto the pen you use the most
  • That you write the ques­tion on the front of the notepad you car­ry with you to meet­ings and which you usu­al­ly have lay­ing about on the desk
  • That you write out the ques­tion in some oth­er loca­tion of your choice where you with­out effort will see it a few times a day

Take a break or give some­one a call?

Per­haps you per­ceive this aspi­ra­tion to do the right thing at every giv­en moment as some­thing very stern or as a some­what forced oblig­a­tion. Do you real­ly have to be so effi­cient all the time? Couldn’t you just be allowed to be your­self, like a nor­mal person? 

Of course you should be your­self. And if you do the right thing at the right time, you will have more time to be pre­cise­ly that. Also, the right thing to do right now does not nec­es­sar­i­ly need to be some­thing super-effi­cient or require effort, but it may very well be that what you lat­er will want to have done was to relax and rest in the present moment. 

Take a break might be just the right thing to do right now. Or, per­haps the right thing to do is to give that one par­tic­u­lar­ly unpleas­ant client a call?

Regret less

If you pose this sim­ple con­trol-ques­tion to your­self once in a while, you will not have to regret any­thing later. 
You will make sure to have done what you would want­ed to have done the most, so that you can ini­ti­ate more things than you oth­er­wise would have. If it turns out that you still regret not hav­ing done a dif­fer­ent task, you will at least have exert­ed your­self to do your very best.

What is your trick?

What is your trick to not wast­ing time on triv­ial mat­ters? Tip me and oth­er sub­scribers off by leav­ing a comment.