List Your Way Out Of Stuckness

You're stuck. You can't go forward. You refuse to go forward. You're procrastinating like crazy.

Here's a list method you can use to avoid stuckness of the kind described above.

Divide a sheet of paper into four areas. Head them up as follows.

 Tasks | Fears
       |
 ------+------
 Goals | Worries
       |
Write as many things down as you can. No one has to read your list. YOU don't have to re-read your list. If you get stuck while doing your list, start again. Your list should be messy.

Do the following in any order:

Break tasks down and down and down. Break goals down and down and down. When they become tasks then keep breaking them down and down, Breaks fears down and down and down.

What's the difference between tasks and goals?

Scale. Nothing else. It's not a hard and fast difference, but it's usually easy to determine. For example, "fly a helicopter" might be a goal, but "search for an instructor in my local area" might be a task.

[Reminds me also of sticky steps planning techniques, take a goal and break it down working backwards to end up with tasks -- GavinBell? 24 October, 2004] [This is a lot like the techniques honed in Allen's "GettingThingsDone ."]

What's the difference between a fear and a worry?

I really don't know. I find that having them listed separately makes the ListYourWayOutOfStuckness technique work better. A fear is something constant - it takes a long time to erode away your fears. A fear might be something like "Spiders" - but a worry might be something it's not hard to overcome in one swift leap - for example "there's a spider somewhere under my desk and I'm worried it might bite my toe". Worries are more like specific day to day things. it's not important to distinguish between them. When you break down your worries and your fears they might either disappear or turn into tasks.


What, I have to think about my worries AND my fears? How about if I make one of them "Obstacles" and the other one "Rewards," just to keep me motivated?

I've seen a slightly different version of this:

 Strengths | Weaknesses
 ----------|-----------
 Goals     | Stumbling Blocks


The X axis is the degree you want or need something, and the Y axis is the scale of it, roughly how big, pervasive, important, whatever. This diagram inverts both scales. Quadrants are kind of annoying for lists though, one tends to run out of space unless they use numbered dots and list them, at which point it's probably better to just list them and give 'em a rough 1-5 scale if you need to prioritize them. WriteItDown is a time-honored motivational technique, and most "inventory" tricks are merely a variation on it.
This seems very much like having a ScrumSession? with yourself. --SamuelFalvo?
Related to. SelfImprovementPatterns. See also NextList, DecisionRoutinesWhenStuck
CategoryEmployment CategorySelfImprovementPatterns

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