Eat That Frog! (don’t worry, it’s not a recipe)

Two children at a festival in a Japanese Shinto Shrine.

Two children at a festival in a Japanese Shinto Shrine.

I’ve had a great weekend. Toy Show, Festivals, a party, dinner out, dinner in, and movies. Oh, and fresh veggies. I love my farmer’s market!

Twice a year I reassess my goals and plan my steps accordingly. I’ve been managing my time for over a decade with David Allen’s GTD (Getting Things Done) techniques and have never missed a deadline, never swung way off plan. I started this blog after writing my goals for the first half of 2014; photography, as you all know, quickly followed. I couldn’t have budgeted for them either way, Β both have taken up much more time than I would have anticipated — and that’s a good thing as I enjoy both.

 

A screenshot of my brainstorm. Within is the larger picture, a snapshot of every goal I have which I flesh out in my scheduler.

A screenshot of my brainstorm. Within is the larger picture, a snapshot of every goal I have which I flesh out in my scheduler.

So here are two pics to give you an idea of what I do. I brainstorm (Mindjet) and put EVERYTHING from my finances to when I’m going to clip my nails in my scheduler (OmniFocus). I prioritize my brainstorm, but not my scheduler. I have specified dates and times when something needs to be finished and I do what comes up without prejudice to my goals. What needs to be done, needs to be done. Then in June and December I look at what I’ve been able to accomplish and where I want to go next.

Detail of a few points. The arrows connect like things. There are more arrows, but for ease of viewing I've turned them off.

Detail of a few points. The arrows connect like things. There are more arrows, but for ease of viewing I’ve turned them off.

I’ve budgeted myself one hour per day for blogging, with allowances for reading on the train when I have down time. The goal is to begin translating my blog into Japanese by year end, in effect having two blogs. The time is interchangeable with my next goal.

I’ve also given myself one hour hour per day to work with my photos. I also budgeted time to watch videos from Lynda.com and read a few books for understanding photography. I’ve decided to orient my summer and fall holidays towards photography and will travel around Japan for three weeks in August to build up my skills (and have fun). When I sit down in December I’ll think about what I want to do with photography (and blogging). Then readjust. That’s my process.

This is a snapshot of my OmniFocus, the program I use to contain my ambitions. It is minutely detailed. The right is where I input information which helps me set clear targets. Before the computer version I used to use the file cabinet version with 31 daily folders, 12 monthly folders, 3 yearly folders, and my Someday/Maybe and Inbox. Several companies I've worked with over the years use the same system.

This is a snapshot of my OmniFocus, the program I use to see and work towards my ambitions. It is minutely detailed. The right is where I input information which helps me set clear targets. Before the computer version I used to use the file cabinet version with 31 daily folders, 12 monthly folders, 3 yearly folders, and my Someday/Maybe and Inbox. Several companies I’ve worked with over the years use the same system.

There’s a wonderful book from which I give my juniors copies from each year. It’s called Eat That Frog! and it’s filed with a score of concise key points to help you achieve. (I sometimes read passages from it when I need to self-motivate.)

Going through the circle purifies you, protects you from the challenges in the coming year. Here, the little girl needed coaxing from her mother to pass through. We can all use a little coaxing from time to time.

Going through the circle purifies you, protects you from the challenges in the coming year. Here, the little girl needed coaxing from her mother to pass through. We can all use a little coaxing from time to time.

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28 Comments on “Eat That Frog! (don’t worry, it’s not a recipe)

  1. Like the shot of the kids πŸ™‚ But well, motivate myself. Like being lazy. haha oops, did I say that out loud.. Thanks for following my blog! πŸ™‚

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    • Lazy’s fine. We each have our temperaments. There’s so much I’d like to do in the day I’d put in for a 36 hour day if I could. πŸ™‚

      Like

  2. This is amazing. I can’t believe you have not missed on details. Do you have days when you cheat on the plan… the lazy days ☺

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    • It’s not really a plan so much as part of my life.

      Think of it this way: We all have dozens of things we’d like to do. It could be buy a house, get married, travel, see a movie, catch up on books or tv.

      What I do I put all of that down into my scheduler, aka calendar. When I have free time I can click a tab which list all the things I can do if I have free time. If I’m at the office I can click that tab and see all the things I can do at the office.

      I set my system up so that I get reminders, for example, that Friday X movie is opening, or that the sheets need to washed. If my sheets are clean I defer it to the next Friday and go to the movie instead.

      So it’s not like I’m doing something. Rather, GTD puts all the things I can, want to, and should do within view so I can make the best use of my time on any given day.

      Do I just crash out with cookies on the sofa and vege? Yeah, of course. But I usually look to see if there are any comic books I’d like to read, TV shows I want to see, or people I’d like to phone first. πŸ™‚

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      • Now I get it. I thought you fix a date and time for everything.
        This is much easier.Prioritizing makes sure we don’t miss out on things. Well done πŸ‘ I am almost inspired to start with the scheduler.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. The more I see this method about, the more interested I become! I will definitely check it out! πŸ˜€

    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post! I do like to plan, but I sometimes find it becomes a procrastination tool in itself, especially as it’s really tempting to make increasingly complicated organisation systems or add steps (eg jot it all down, then order it, then number it and…!) I read Steven Pressfield’s Do the Work a couple of weeks ago and found that really helpful. Even if I am procrastinating like mad about a short story I want to write. Oops!

    Like

    • For me it’s all about having all I want to do in once central place so I can see it.

      The GTD system (and I used to use the paper and folder system) is great because you have things organized by context. If I’ve free time, these are things I can do; if I’m cooking, these are things I’ve been wanting to make; etc.

      Maybe it’s because it’s part of my routine but I don’t make it complicated. Just a moment ago I was answering email. Part of my process is when I send something out I make a note (in OmniFocus) to check back for a reply by x date. It’s reflexive for me.

      So when’s the first draft due on your next short story?
      πŸ™‚

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  5. This is an AMAZING lesson in organisation and goals! πŸ˜€
    I have definitely started writing things down more, but I’m one of those people who tend to drift, goalless, through life (perhaps for all the wrong reasons, or just laziness).
    I definitely need to sort myself out πŸ™‚

    Like

    • If you’re into it, download the torrents for the books and software, set aside a weekend and have at it. Even if you don’t keep it up long-term, you’re life will get sorted out short-term.

      For me, it’s about having all the possibilities at my finger tips.

      For example, yesterday I went through Tokyo Metropolis and TimeOut Tokyo and put in all the interesting events that are up and coming for August. If I have free time, all I do is open iCal and a list of things to do comes up. I’ll add to it when Tokyo Walker comes out next week. πŸ™‚

      Never bored. πŸ™‚

      Like

  6. That’s some brain you’ve got there! My husband used to be a planner like that only it was done on a chalkboard, then a white board. πŸ™‚ I on the other hand, keep everything in my head where nobody can see it. I just go and do.

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  7. So how much time do you schedule for working on your schedule ? I used to have a wonderful software called The Brain that was for mindmapping; they started by offering it for free, and nearly a year later (by which time one had used it like anything) they required it be paid for. I never used it again.

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    • M.R. you should just download a torrent and get it for free. Mindjet is about 500USD. OmniFocus for the computer is, about, 60USD. One is for companies and the other is for individuals, so I did pay for the (much) less expensive iPad OmniFocus to support the company but no way would I pay 500USD.

      Oh, I update my OmniFocus weekly, inputting things as they come along. The very first time took me about four days to do — time well, well spent.

      I would think you’d need something like Omni Outliner to write your next book. How did you outline your previous book?

      Like

      • I didn’t. It was stream of consciousness – and I must tell you that such is the only way I can write !
        I wonder if that means I’m no writer in the true sense of the word …?
        We shall see, for the two weeks following Friday. πŸ™‚

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      • You are every bit a writer, you’ve written a novel, dear! You are the Jac(quelling) Kerauac of Oz.

        There’s an expression I like, “ten people, ten colors”. One type of writer uses index cards, another uses stream of consciousness, and other still a different method. My only worry is when you stop blogging to write your next work.
        xo

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      • Steven, my lamb, upon whom I dote for your honesty as well as your beauty, we are talking of two weeks. Tell me: how long did you disappear from my ken just recently ????

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      • Oh, don’t worry, so am I. And I’ve had a shitload more time to develop it than you have. [grin]
        XO

        Like

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