I don’t know, stop asking me


I’m playing around with a “time management” app I used many years ago. It was updated recently and so far I like what I see.

This, after many years of trying more apps than I can count and always coming back to Evernote.

Who knows, I may finally make a “permanent” switch.

But that’s not what I want to talk about today. I want to talk about something I’ve been thinking as I transfer tasks from Evernote to the other app.

As I re-create the projects and underlying tasks in the old/new app, I have to make decisions about them.

Lots of decisions–about which projects should be front and center, which tasks should be “next actions,” which tasks should get a due date and what that date should be.

You have to decide what you want to accomplish.
You have to decide what to do next.
You have to decide when you will do it.

You know the routine.

Because you do, you know how easy it is to get overwhelmed with all those decisions.

It’s why we tend to drift away from what we’re doing and look for a better system.

Indecision causes stress and drains energy. In GTD parlance, unmade decisions (or rashly made ones, I suppose), are called “open loops”.

Open loops nag you and call you names. So you keep giving them attention when you should be doing other things.

If this sounds painfully familiar, I have a suggestion: Decide not to decide.

Decide that you don’t have to make a decision right now and schedule a future “review” date, where you will review the task or project and decide what to do about it.

Until then, you won’t think about it.

Assign a “start date” instead of a “due date”. When the start date arrives, do your review.

When you decide not to make a decision you are actually making a decision. When you become comfortable postponing decisions, you close open loops, gain clarity, and reduce your stress level.

Don’t let your tasks push you around. Tell them to go away–for now.

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The trend is your friend


Some days, everything seems to go wrong. The day is filled with problems or complaints, you struggle to get your work done, you don’t want to talk to anyone or do anything, you just want to go home.


Leave work. Take the rest of the day off.

Go home and lay on the sofa or go to the park and get some fresh air. Get some rest and reboot your brain and come back the next day, refreshed and recharged.

Don’t fight the trend, investors say.

Typically, we don’t do this. When we have a bad day we muscle our way through it. We have things to get done, hours to bill, people who rely on us, so we don’t even consider stopping. But that’s ego talking. Sometimes, you have to give yourself a break.

Many a day, I left the office early and went to a bookstore or for a drive. Or I sat in a coffee shop and read a book or wrote in a journal. I turned my problems over to my subconscious mind and let it figure things out.

And it almost always did.

When I went back to work the next day, the problems were still there and I had work to catch up on, but I felt better and got the work done.

Because I didn’t fight the trend.

But here’s the thing. The trend goes two ways. When you’re having a great day and feel like you can do no wrong, you might want to take the rest of the day off, to reward yourself.

Go eat some cherry cheesecake. Your work will still be there tomorrow.

Earn more, work less