In case anyone of you didn’t know already, I am an unrepentant slacker. Not the cool hipster who whistfully sits in Starbucks and whiles his time away listening to a mixture of Michael Stipe and Dizzy Gillespe; no, I’m the other type. I’m the type of person who will commit to 43 things, and feel crappy about doing none of them. I’m the guy who will write a list of things that I want to have done, and then go do something else altogether. I’m the guy who will do exactly the thing that I shouldn’t be doing in spite of all of the other cool things I should be doing. There’s some form of psychology working here that I haven’t quite figured out; some rebellious little child inside of me that picks the one thing that isn’t good for him in a sea of goodness. But, that’s a story for another time.
I’m a student, and sometime practitioner of Getting Things Done, which is a great system for getting things off of your mind, and has helped keep me engaged with things that would have otherwise kept me in my rebellious phase. Unfortunately I’ve been a little easy on my lists lately, and have kept things that have obviously lost their meaning over time, and things that I probably will never do, despite every good intention to the contrary. So, when I did a recent review of my lists, I came across an item for my Poor Man’s Cam program. It’s lay fallow for a while, despite having a patch submitted from a guy for over a year. I continued to sit on his patch, until I got so fed up with looking at the items on my list, that I moved it to my “Someday/Maybe” list. (For those of you who aren’t GTD-savvy, the “Someday/Maybe” list is just a place to store ideas that may have potential value, but you have no defined next-action on them, like “Climb Mount Everest someday” or “learn the banjo”). There, the project was moved, and I was satisfied again.
But I really wasn’t. There was a small piece of me that thought that wasn’t the right place to park this. Part of me knew this was probably a half-hour job that could be finished and completed with no effort at all. The next day, I took that patch, and within about 15 minutes had releasable code. What was funny/odd to me was prior to moving it to my “Someday/Maybe” list, it wasn’t even a blip on my radar – I didn’t even see the action in the sea of other actions. But, when I moved it, suddenly my mind took over and decided it was time to make it happen.
Looks like I have a bit more work to do to make my next-actions lists work better for me in the future.