Spoiler: The answer is, "No, of course not."
But where's the question come from?
After three decades on this Planet, I've only noticed how often I ask that question to myself.
"Do I have to do that?"
It comes in response, ironically, not to really painful and unlikable things like doing one's taxes. (The answer to "Do I have to do my taxes" is: "Yes.")
No, the internal narrative tends to kick in when I encounter good ideas that are heavily on-mission for me and yet would be a hassle to implement.
You've of course seen this behavior in others. There's some field or other that you're good at, and someone asks you advice on how to succeed there, and you tell them, and they sigh.
Maybe they ask it, maybe they don't, but they're thinking.
"Do I have to do that?"
So I've seen other people do that, you've seen other people do that, but I didn't realize until recently that I do that too.
I remember when I first heard about weighing your food being a good idea. I sighed. Do I have to do that? (No, I don't. It's actually not even a big deal to do, though.)
I didn't want to do it, initially, because it sounded like a hassle.
It's not that, though. It's everything. It tends to come in response to almost anything that's a good idea, on mission, and would be a hassle to implement.
But I never noticed I was doing it until recently.
How'd I start noticing it?
Funny enough, two things became the conditions:
1. I actually can't implement anything I come across right now without scheduling it. I'm maxed out. So I have to write down good ideas, operations improvements, whatever, and pick some week in the future to implement them.
2. I finally created a system to track every commitment I've got and project I've got open, that's comprehensive, that I use daily. I built it around Omnifocus primarily, but the tech isn't important -- I could've used anything. I use Omnifocus's inbox to write down stuff that might be a good idea, and review it whenever at leisure.
Where's this resistance to doing things come from?
It must have come as basic firmware for our minds; it must have a genetic component. I see it in all cultures. Take the most industrious and pragmatic people in the world, whatever culture you think that happens to be, and all of those cultures still have resistance to implementing good stuff.
What to do about it?
Just noticing it is pretty cool. It's like I had some food allergy for years that I wasn't aware of, cut that food out, and now I have more energy.
That resistance to implementing good stuff, that "oh man, do I really have to..." --
No, of course not!
Choice. Agency. Choice and agency are good.
You don't have to do anything at all.
(Unless you genuinely want to be successful, that is, and think it'd worth it.)
I'd be very interested in your Omnifocus workflow - would you mind sharing it?
"Time Sensitive", "Commitments" are general folders that get watched like a hawk. I scan both daily, multiple times per day. I write down anything I said I'd do in Commitments, big or small, so I don't miss stuff. Time Sensitive is somewhat obvious.
Next general folder is "Other Admin"; that's less urgent stuff that doesn't fit elsewhere.
Those three "Project Categories" are on top of projects.
On the bottom of projects are "Consolidate / Steward" (miscellaneous gains to screenshot, share, etc), "Icebox" (stuff to do later), "Icebox'd Projects" ( projects to do later), and "Waiting On" -- stuff to check in weekly to see if other people moved on it.
Between those categories, I have all my projects which are getting added/built or subtracted all the time.
Weekly, I decide which ones to march out and close. Then during the week I jam.
I use "Inbox" to dump everything that's not obvious that it needs to be done or not, and then scan that at least a couple times a week to move it to the appropriate place.
I use flags and work from flags more than from setting arbitrary deadlines; I only set a time deadline if it's more-or-less real.
If I was advising someone else, I'd say don't start with so many folders. I'm debating cutting down and streamlining more. I do like breaking up "Time Sensitive" (all of which needs to happen ASAP) and "Commitments", both of those are great. Then "Other Admin" is logical. Some of the folders are the bottom seem like overkill maybe, I should probably tighten that down.
The rest is pretty standard -- clear next actions, use actionable verbs, break things down, etc etc.
Is your system compatible with mobile? Or, do you think it's important that your system be on mobile and your computer in the first place?
Thanks a bunch! I am trying to start using OmniFocus, this helps.
The real key to making it work is to (1) decide what you're going to put in there carefully, and (2) put everything of that class of thing in there, and (3) reliably work from it and give yourself prompts to do so.
If you only put stuff in there randomly or haphazardly, it doesn't get trusted and gets the "dusty attic" feel. So pick what goes in there carefully, but then use it religiously for those use cases. You might need to set prompts for yourself to look at it daily (or weekly, or whatever) for a while as well while it's still unintuitive.
Let me know how it goes.
Yup, I have noticed that it's crucial to religiously check the program and not use other lists. Still getting used to the interface, but I hope that this video series will help: https://vimeo.com/36204296 (MacSparky)
I might have cracked the procrastination nut.
One of the things that's plagued me for years is that a heavy, intense period of doing lots of good stuff is frequently followed by a crash.
The crash partially negates the gains from having a good period. If you put in an excellent, intense four days of creative work, that's good. But if you can't look at your work and projects for half a week afterwards, you negate some of that progress as compared to just slowly, steadily putting in time.
What's worse is that, for me, the crashes tended to be full-on, nothing-valuable-happening. I don't mean not working. I mean nothing valuable. When I'd crash, I'd usually not be reading good books, spending time in nature on the beach, or whatever. It'd be more like getting into high stimulation distraction, where it sucks your time without giving you anything back. Without even recharging you, even.
So, I started looking at how crashes come on.
I had to double, and then triple, check this, but apparently I've never written a post on minimalism before. Then again, I live in an RV smaller than your walk-in closet, so I don't suppose this post will come as a surprise to anyone. Still, it's probably worth writing a few paragraphs about it for anyone who is considering paring down, but has some lingering objections to it.
Back when I was a professional gambler and made a ton of money, I did what anyone with a lot of money would do: I bought a house. My house was about 1800 square feet, which isn't a big house by today's standards, but is quite a lot of space for one person. What I didn't consider was that a house comes bundled with pressure to fill it with stuff.
So I did. I bought tables, couches, chairs, beds, knick knacks, plants, pots, pans, dishes, and four robotic lawnmowers. I converted one of the rooms into a movie theater and another into a warehouse to store all of my stuff. If I wasn't a compulsive shopper, I was at least an enthusiastic one. All the while, I never really thought about the end-game of all this stuff. I knew how to get it into my life, but never really considered how I'd get it out eventually.