Brida Anderson

Urban Fantasy

Tag: flow

Procrastination Challenge: Free Printable

To help you tackle your projects in a state of working-in-flow (the bliss of it! yuuuum) I created a free printable for you.

It’s based on my Procrastination Challenge which was inspired by Leo Babauta’s Post “The No Procrastination Challenge“.

You fill in the 1-2-3 projects that most need your undivided attention today. Then you’ll decide what you’ll do in the (short) breaks between bursts of concentration.

I included ideas what to do on break-time.

There are two versions for download:

  • with graphics
  • without graphics, to save on ink and bandwidth
Link to free Printable for the No-Procrastination Challenge

Free Printable No-Procrastination

Download free printable

Link to free Printable for the No-Procrastination Challenge (no graphics)

Printable for the No-Procrastination Challenge (no graphic)

Download free printable

Just right-click on the graphic and choose “save file as: ….”.

More than 3 projects?

  • If you have time for more than 3 flow-working states, I’d enter the time for a project as “3 x 40 minutes” or similar.
  • Don’t pick more than 3 projects, it will just make you feel frazzle-brained. (Speaking from experience here ;-)
  • Instead, keep 1-2 hours of working time unaccounted for in the Challenge and tackle the smaller todo’s in that time.

Tip I learned from productivity coach Michelle over at Bombchelle:

Buy a cheap glass frame you like, print out the worksheet and put it behind glass. Now you can fill it in each day with an erasable marker pen and don’t have to print it out again each day. That’s what I’m doing and that’s why I like printables with graphics.

Reposting, Sharing

I’m putting this under a CC license. You can freely repost it, share it, tweak it – as long as you attribute me (Brida Anderson) and link back to my website (www.bridaanderson.com).

Celtic Knotwork graphic by the talented Jay Hagenhoff. (The graphic on its own is not covered by the license.)

Slipping back into frazzled working mode – Procrastination-Challenge Day 3

I’m blogging this days after the fact — due to working in “chunks”. Some days are for blogging, others for working on my non-fiction projects. Lessons learned from the Procrastination-Challenge so far. As you can see in this post.

Brida's Procrastination Challenge


 

Day 3 of the Procrastination-challenge started with meeting three other women for coffee. I’m yearning to get to know more people here in Doha (dare I say: more people who fit my tribe? ;) and I’m always happy to see other adults :-), so that was a much-needed outing.

Two lessons learned from this day for the Procrastination-Challenge:

  • I need the first morning hours for work. Starting when my brain still feels fresh and, creatively speaking, close to the landscapes of sleep/dreams.
  • Starting after 10 is too close to lunch (even if I ignore lunch and only stop working when I have to pick up my kids at 1:30); after 11 is even less productive. Even if coffee-fueled ;-)

How do you feel about that? What’s your experience today, after 3 days of No-Procrastination?

Today, I kept slipping back into my old mode of working. Just because I kept thinking “oh well, I don’t have that much time for work today anyway”. Which was just the usual bull our inner procrastinator tells us – I had ample time.
Several emails from the publishing house flew in about my Mom-Wellness-manuscript which is currently being typeset. They were urgent but not that urgent — still I repeatedly stopped what I was currently working on to answer the small questions in the emails (about spelling a certain word, layout for the index, and such).

After the third email, I never went back to focussed writing. I answered other emails, connected with new friends on Facebook, lost at least an hour commenting and reading in Facebook, researched a new blog platform for this blog, researched how to transfer the blogposts …

New emails in between, more research for silly workflow stuff, like: “how much does a full Adobe Acrobat version for the Mac cost” — because the publishing house had said that the PDF with my corrections didn’t print properly.
Does that sound familiar?

Only because I had worked for 2 days following the No-Procrastination rules, I realized for the first time how frazzled this way of working makes me feel!

You do accomplish a lot of different tasks in one day and manage to get all the urgent, niggly stuff off your desk. But there is no (or: not much) brain-capacity left for really working on the projects that matter. The projects that require concentration and inspiration.
Perhaps a good mix could be 2 rounds of focussed writing and then devoting one hour to such urgent but non-creative stuff each day. (Or more, if you have more hours at the office than I do.)

During the remainder of the No Procrastination-Challenge I’ll keep trying out different rhythms of focussed writing, different projects and urgent stuff to see which works best.

Day 1 – the first Break (Procrastination-Challenge)

First attempt at doing 3 rounds of focused work, with zero distractions. (For the rules I gave myself for this challenge, see The Procrastination Challenge: Day 0.)

I worked 30 minutes until my husband and son fetched me to lunch.

Man, those 30 minutes were hard!

Brida's Procrastination Challenge

My tablet kept beeping with new Facebook comments and messages. We had just heard that our dog had to be put to sleep (we had to leave him with my parents-in-law because he was too sick to travel to Qatar with us), and had, reluctantly, posted on Facebook about it so our friends would know. I wasn’t in the mood to write my manuscript on how to find inner calm — I was yearning to read my friends’ comforting comments  …

But I only had these 30 minutes alone at the clubhouse, keeping an eye on my oldest while he was swimming, while my husband (who’s sick with a severe cold) wrestled with our youngest.

So I ignored the siren call of the tablet and wrote until my family came over for lunch.
My husband left first, putting our youngest to bed for his nap and I followed when he was asleep. Snuck upstairs and wrote 30 minutes more on the project. First chunk of focussed writing done.
Break time.

My rule says:

Do only empowering breaks. I’ll do a 15 minute-break, but without Facebook, Pinterest. I can do yoga, prepare a coffee, water the plants outside.

Except … I was caught in our new guestroom, with only a desk and bed. Couldn’t risk going downstairs to fetch anything (don’t laugh. You parents can relate, I’m sure ;-)

So much for taking a break that entailed yoga, right?
Reluctantly, I did a few hero-pose variations, looking out the window. I heard my back and neck crack softly from eased strain.

Felt my body take a deep grateful breath — I was doing yoga for the first time in weeks, ever since my youngest ongoing illness had started.
The hero-poses eased into a flow of standing postures without a conscious thought from me. Hero, Forward Bends, Twists, Balance Postures of different kinds.
I didn’t look at a watch, so I’m not sure, but I think it was 10 minutes.
I drank a big glass of water and sat down for the next round of working without procrastination.

I had planned to work on the nonfiction manuscript for one more round, then polish my Aetherpunk Western short story for the third round. But because of the grief for our dog and because today (on the weekend) I’ll only have two rounds of no-procrastination writing, I’ll jump straight to corrections.

Seamus, missing you so much. You were a great dog!

seamus_buch_medium

Brida Anderson and border collie Seamus

seamus_wolfrunning

Here you are, a year after we got you from the Border Collie Rescue:

seamus

Day 1 — Go for it! (Procrastination Challenge)

Day 1 of the Procrastination challenge means: taking stock so you can apply the rules (for rules, see The Procrastination Challenge: Day 0).
Take a deep breath and check: What’s on your desk? (literally and metaphorically speaking)

Brida's Procrastination Challenge
Pile it all up, favorite  projects and “grrr, must do this” alike.
Focus on the “creative” projects in your given field. What you always wish you had more time and calm for.

Non-creative projects like inbox-cleaning, bill-paying and such are also better done in bulk, but you can do them anytime, not especially in your precious full-concentration-no-procrastination hour/s.

What’s important? What brings you closer to your goal or dream?

Use helpful tools like Leonie’s Amazing Year-Planner (“Create your Amazing Year”, there’s a biz and life edition), Getting Things Done or whichever speaks to you most to hone your list of Most Important Tasks.

Whittle it down to two or three tasks you will focus on for this week/this month. Make a list.

Two projects for my 3 rounds of no-procrastination

Day 1 sees me picking two projects from the list: Writing on my current non-fiction project “Finding Calm inside Myself” (deadline is end of August, but there’s school vacation for all of August, so the deadline for me is end of July).

And reworking my entry for the Aetherpunk Western anthology (“For a fistful of Feathers”). I got detailed feedback from critique partners and the next round of critiquers is waiting for the improved version of the story.
What are your two or three projects you’ll tackle in today’s 3 rounds of no-procrastination writing?
So, setting the timer for the first (and longest) round of 50 minutes and off we go. (For “rules” see The Procrastination Challenge: Day 0.)
See you on the other side.

The Procrastination challenge. Day 0

Half a million projects on the plate, a small kid who is always sick, with outside temps at 40°C and rising? We’re arming ourselves with Leo Babauta’s no-procrastination ideas, putting on sunglasses and add a tank full of gas. Let’s hit it!
From today till the day our school and nursery close their doors, it’s 7 weeks. 7 weeks with 5 working mornings per week (if no-one gets sick. again. %-) * That’s 35 possible no-procrastination days.I’ve procrastinated my little heart out already today, with Facebook, eMails, blogposts, so this is day 0 not day 1. ;-PSo, huh? What is this?
Check out Leo’s blogpost on procrastination (while you’re at it: his posts on forming good habits are also great).
Back?
Great.
So, essentially what Leo’s post boils down to for me (you might have a different take-away):

What does it mean to have “No Procrastinaton”? Does that mean an unbroken stream of work from waking until bed?

It means I’m going to define things I can’t procrastinate on, even for a minute, and set a time period I have to work without distraction. And after that work period, I get a break.

An example: Let’s say the next thing on my list is to write a chapter of my book. I set a timer for 20 minutes, and I have to start right away, and work without cessation until the timer goes off. Only then can I check email or do any online reading, though I can work longer if I’m in a groove.

That’s Leo’s words. (Source: http://zenhabits.net/procrastinateless/)
Because I don’t have a whole day and several projects, I’ll be stricter with social media.My rules for the next 35 working “days”, based on Leo’s but moulded for my situation, are:

  • List my Most Important Task. I have to pick 1 thing from my “Do this week!”-board for that day.
  • Do it early. As soon as I start my working day, I will write for the chosen project without stopping for 50 minutes.
  • Do only empowering breaks. I’ll do 15 minutes break, but without Facebook, Pinterest. I can do yoga, prepare a coffee, water the plants outside.
  • After fifteen minutes, I do the next writing-bit, for about 30 minutes. I’ll play around with duration of the writing sprints depending on project.
  • Next break. Rules see above.
  • Next round of writing, this time for the 2nd project on my list, for 40 minutes.
  • Break. This time, Facebook, E-Mail, Pinterest etc. allowed.
  • The rest. I now should have about two hours, give or take, left of my morning. Now I’ll turn to the “other stuff” on the board (bills, text feedback, emails) and to household chores.
  • Every day I manage the schedule, will be one token for reward. ((I have a private list set up at Amazon where I add stuff I’d love to have and how many tokens it’s worth. Books, LARP accys, elfish jewelry. Lots of Etsy finds :-))
  • If there’s a “higher force” (kids sick etc.) and I don’t meet my quota, nothing happens. For every day I mess up without external interference, I pay back one token into the stash.
We’ll have to see how it goes and adapt the rules accordingly.
This is based on how I work during NaNoWriMo in November and when I am close to a deadline for a project.What do you think? How’s your battle with procrastination going? Want to join me for a final writing sprint before summer vacation?

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