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Do It Tomorrow and Other Secrets of Time Management Paperback – November 1, 2008
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About the Author
Mark Forster is full-time life coach. He frequently runs workshops and seminars specialising in time management.
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The other thing I loved was his whole lizard on a rock analogy, and how a lizard on a rock is just responding to life events (danger, I'd better move, tasty bug, I'd better stick out my tongue and eat it) This was just the right pep talk for me at this point in my life. It suddenly made the whole idea of having goals, large and small, critically important to me. The lizard might live to a ripe old age and be perfectly content, but I really recoil at the idea of being so reactive to the world. And yet, all these goals I had ten years ago, I haven't got any where with them because I haven't actually worked on the goal.
Finally, he talks about how people THINK they need will power, and the ability to force themselves to muscle through their tasks, but actually they need to design systems that are effortless and that support them in achieving their objectives.
Anyway, this book combined with Getting Things Done by David Allen can really transform your life.
There is no magic to improved productivity. You have to do the work. No system will do the work for you. But there are experimentally validated, proven tricks for getting oneself motivated to do things instead of procrastinate. Forster is a master of these tricks and he lays them out in clear, simple language in his book.
The key insights are almost laughably simple. So simple, it's all too easy to reject them as childishly simplistic. But they work if you give them a try. And if you have substantial, difficult, and complex goals that still remain to be accomplished, you owe it to yourself to give Forster's method a test.
The fundamental fact of human nature that underlies Forster's system is that we crave completion. Forster criticizes conventional to-do lists because we can add new items to them throughout the day, impeding us from ever completing them. Forster's solution is to create a list of items to do tomorrow, and then draw a line under those items. If you complete everything above the line, you've succeeded.
Of course you never know exactly what will come up tomorrow. Things are going to demand your immediate attention and you will have to do them as well. But those new things are things you add below the line of the list you made up yesterday. As much as possible, you try to avoid doing today incoming new tasks that came in today. Your goal is to complete today all the items that you wrote down yesterday for today.
You can't imagine how powerful a motivator it is to complete today's list until you try it. The mind does crave completion. If it's getting near the end of the day and I still have a few items remaining on my list, I will move heaven and earth to get them completed. If there are still two hours left in the day and I am almost done with my list, I will complete those items. Then I will spend those two hours doing whatever I want. Maybe I'll do some more work. Or maybe I'll goof off. If I choose to goof off I will do so totally guilt-free. I know that I've done what I've set out to do and I know that I deserve the time off.
I've been following David Allen's Getting Things Done system for more than five years. I have found that adding Mark Forster's list-making system to Getting Things Done has been a boon to my productivity.
The author recently retired from a career in time management counseling and study and to me, that says he's not experimenting here; he knows what and whom he's talking about, and any unproductive ideas were killed off long ago so only the best survive here. The ideas that stood the test of time and became knowledge, not promise.
How do I judge success? For the first time (I'm 54) I tidy up my office at a sensible hour and go see my wife, with no lagging or nagging feeling that I'm behind, overworked, overburdened or procrastinating. I feel fine. I will always be grateful to Mark Forster for this book and how it taught me how to feel fine.
Half a year later I asked my boss and the staff I supervise if they've noticed any change in my work. Each one said my judgment calls are much better, and how can I do so much? I told my boss I've only been working 9-5 M-F this year (most in our company work very long hours). He asked me to try and teach my staff to do the same. Ever heard that from an American EVP before?
Good luck to you. And don't rush; keep this book around your desk for a few months even after you've read it because some passages will help you even more later.
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