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After I blogged how I was feeling (was it last week?), I realised that you tend to be ready to talk about things when you feel like the tide is finally turning. And truthfully, I have been starting to feel like I am dragging my sorry arse up out from the pull of the abyss. Basically I got stuck into actioning my management tools – and they are these tools because they work. And they do. Every time.

I feel better about myself when I feel productive. So when I feel like I’m struggling, one of my personal management tools is to look around and find low hanging fruit to get some quick productivity runs on the board. Things that might be included in this is easy housework – putting on a load of laundry, which leads eventually to getting on top of the laundry. Likewise the dishes. Or clearing off some surfaces and tidying up parts of the house. Or my handbag. Or running a bunch of errands that are easy but I’ve been procrastinating on so they feel so very hard. Answering email. Filing. Etc. Basically, my management tools are all about faking it, til I make it. And this one is about making myself feel like I am useful and achieving things.

So two Sundays ago I was thinking about the last time in my life that I felt like my to do lists were organised and productive and actually felt like they were assisting and not hindering me. It was back when I was in postgrad and a friend of mine and I developed the Red Tick List System. It worked on a monthly timeframe for goal setting and you’d sit down and figure out the big picture goals you wanted to have done by the end of the month. You’d pick say 10 big things. Then you broke each of these down into all the tasks and subtasks that you needed to step through to complete the goal. Sometimes the hardest thing about achieving big goals is seeing the way. Like “write an essay on 19th century italian wines” might actually require you to read up on the subject first. And that requires you to find the reading. And then do it. Etc.  So the sitting down and breaking each largeish goal into the steps to get there is sort of a planning exercise in hiding. When you finish you think “oh look! Now I have a plan!” And then, a broken down list of small tasks (google “19th century italian wines”, go past liquor shop and buy samples, visit library etc etc) become much more enticing to pick off one at a time, especially if you like multitasking as much as I do. But the thing about the Red Tick List System was that for each thing you completed, you got a red tick and then when you hit a certain number of ticks, you got a prize. Oddly. I am all about the rewards (others would say differently about me).

So I decided to bring back the Red Tick List System. But work it on a weekly time frame to start with. And with rewards for 70% completion of list and then full completion of list – a good list will mean you get about 70% of it done so I never really expect to hit 100%, but you never know!

Compiling my list was revealing in and of itself. Firstly I discovered why my lists weren’t working – I had too many! I never referred back to any. I never updated. And I just started new ones. So it took me some time to compile all the to do lists I had floating around, that I could tell. And I decided that the most important thing is not the stationery but the constant consulting and updating and so on. So I just threw everything into a small ring notebook. A different page for different lists – I have Things I want to Do now I don’t have Swancon, Moving House, Crafting, Twelfth Planet Press, Galactic Suburbia etc etc. Anything I want to keep track of gets its own page and a small post it marking it in the book. And one page for the Red Tick List System. And at the end of the week, I transfer what is left over from one week’s to the next and rip out the page. And I constantly consult and update pages and then will rewrite and remove older lists. Keeping the whole thing familiar and current.

I tried to keep it to 10 largesish goals and then a few quick runs on the board like errands etc.

But I really struggled with what the rewards would be. Last time I used things like buying yarn or Body Shop products. I tried to have those on here this time but I don’t know if I just don’t want things like that anymore or if it’s more, moving and seeing all the crap I have makes me reluctant just now to acquire more. I really and truly struggled with rewards (like a $15 reward basically). In the end, I went with coffee. An odd thing but … I discovered my favourite coffee The Five Senses, has a website that you can buy from so I don’t need to wait til I’m up in North Perth next time. And I can finally sort out my coffee issue at work (buying coffee every day at $4 a pop and adding caramel shots to it because the coffee is so foul when we have an espresso machine in our office and if I liked the coffee, I would not add sugar to it. Been meaning to stop being lazy about this for a while.) AND if you check out the site, they have a bunch of awesomely looking blends and single orgins that I don’t think you can buy in the store. And OMG! I fell in love with the Ethiopian – Sidamo Reserve (Ok. fine, its because you can only order it on Tuesdays) AND the cleanskins AND the Single Origin of the Month (Tiger Tiger used to feature these and I loved trying them out when I worked in the city).  AND this is an spoiling myself without it being junk food thing that is perishable and thus not recluttering! It’s a Win Win Win Win.

But see, I’m not that nice to myself. I’m in counselling for that. For four years now. And so I had on my list Pack House. As one item. And there we are in my place on the weekend, madly packing the house, C and I. And he turns to me and says, “How many ticks do we get for this?” (I love that man) and I said, “Well, firstly you don’t get any and secondly, one.” Yup. For three days straight of about 18 to 20 hours of physical labour, and lots of emotional torment, I got one lousy tick for the week. Sigh. I came in 5 ticks short of the reward this week (had to get 19, got 14) but decided to cut myself some slack and get the reward anyway. I’ll report in on the coffee when it arrives! SO EXCITED!



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