The Action Machine Diary, Day 2

by JL Beeken on 8-15-2010

The Action MachineI got up late and did not make a list for The Action Machine before I started my day. That was a mistake. Just winging it, this is what happened:

- Carbonite backup has been running slow lately. Instead of comparing the importance of this issue relative to other tasks for the day, I clicked the Maintenance timer on and wrote to their tech support. I got back an answer which I answered with an obvious next question and it went downhill from there. One canned response after another including, ‘Due to the complexity of your issue please phone us Mon-Fri.’ More time wasted on email but at least I can see where it goes.

On the 5th response I got an answer to the question from a second support person. Not that it made any sense but there it finally was.

Much later in the day, I got a 6th response from a third support person saying that files are deleted 30 days after they’re deleted from my computer. OK, that makes sense except it’s not actually happening which was exactly my question many hours before.

A more ruthless time-manager would have cut this idiocy off at the knees after the second email. How can it possibly take six emails to not answer a two-part question? Of course, I was well over my 1-hour limit for ‘maintenance’ again. Reality begins to set in. This is a course in Where Has My Life Gone? and How To Get It Back.

- 15 minutes scheduled for updating READ ME files. These are notes to my executor and power-of-attorney. They constantly go out-of-date as my life changes. Not something I like doing, hence their inclusion on the Action List. Fifteen minutes a day could make mincemeat of this task. Once I’d overcome inertia by scheduling it in I got totally focused and worked 45 minutes until distracted by a drink of water.

Different than standard time-trackers that just count time, The Action Machine manages your time and focuses your goals. You set an amount of time for a task and then do it. You’re able to adjust the set time for a task either up or down while you’re in the midst of it. You can do this in full view of your other timers and make an intelligent decision about whether that’s a reasonable plan or not.

The Action Machine

- Physical Exercise schedule. I walked out the door and headed off in a random direction for five minutes. Then I turned around and came back. No need to make it complicated. All I need for this is my house key. And maybe not even that, depending where you live. Not only have I now knocked ten minutes off my exercise schedule, my brain is recharged with oxygen for whatever comes next. Optional: also carry a small voice-recorder with you. If you have any brilliant thoughts while you’re out (that can happen) you can record them.

- Spent a few minutes creating a new Action List, breaking a large project down into smaller Actions. That’s Step 1 in actually getting it done.

- Had a nice supper of mostly broccoli (not scheduled)

- Watched educational videos for an hour. The only reason I got this done was because I added the timer for it. Otherwise, I would have been back checking my email. Or something.

At 9:17 PM I still had 20 minutes left on my Exercise timer. If it hadn’t been for the timer, this would not have registered as even a vague thought. But The Action Machine has already become a Voice of Authority. (And it was only Day 2.)

I finished my exercise time.

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