About the 7 - - So, some of the things I learned about myself as a 7 are that I have a hard time following through with things usually because my brain is looking forward to the next thing I can try that might bring enjoyment or excitement. I am pretty easily distracted. I love learning about new things and can be legitimately researching for something I need and get pulled into 542 other things that catch my attention and inquisitiveness on the way. My "sin" is my desire to acquire - experiences, things, knowledge. Some of those sound worse than others, but ultimately it can be problematic because I use this acquisition to try avoid feeling and dealing with pain. It is all fascinating.
Somehow knowing that this tendency to be distracted and scattered is part of what makes me me makes it something easier to deal with. It had been driving me crazy more and more lately, and somehow finding the source of it has given me new energy to try to curb it a little. I don't want to get rid of it all together, because it's part of who I am, but I do need to put some reins on it in order to live more fully into my calling and family.
So, with that background last night I wrote out a plan for "productivity" that I'm going to try. I know there are all sorts of systems to read up on or buy into. They sound great. But let's be honest, there's no way I'm going to be able to keep my attention on a book telling me how to pay attention. It's laughable. So, I'm writing my own and I'm trying it this week. I have done VERY minimal reading about Pomodoro that I liked, so that certainly has bled into my thoughts and plan somewhat, but otherwise I'm sort of piecing this together on my own.
Here are my "Productivity Principles" I'm trying this week in no particular order:
1. Only sign into email twice a day (likely 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.) and answer or compose emails for only an hour each time AT MOST. This might mean making more phone calls to try to cut down on stupid email time.
2. 9:00-9:30 is for making my daily to-do list and making sure it includes the reminders that are already programmed on my phone. Part of making the to-do list is prioritizing the order of the events.
3. Set non-negotiable times for things that need to happen away from the church building (hospital visits, other errands).
4. Use Pomodoro 25 minute work periods and 5 minutes "rest" periods to work through the list. This even applies to the 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. email hours.
5. Facebook and internet use are only OK during the 5 minute rests, except for when it comes to sermon prep days when I hit the preaching blogs and FB groups. This is going to be hard to navigate, but I'll try it out more tomorrow.
6. This is sort of based on a Pomodoro thing - - When an interruption has to occur, I will need to decide immediately if it's time sensitive enough to deal with on the spot or if it can just be added to the list in an appropriate spot. If it needs to be dealt with, I've got to not let myself get derailed by it entirely so I can come back to the plan.
7. I've got to try to keep a clean office.
8. One thing at a time. If I think of another thing that also needs to be done, write it down, and prioritize it a the next break. One thing at a time.
So that's the plan for a little while. I'm going to try to work it and tweak it and see how it goes. Some of it seems ridiculously normal for the rest of the world, but for me it's going to be new.
A question I have for which I am seeking input, particularly for minister-types, but maybe there's more overlap with other vocations than I'm imagining - - How do you decide "what's next"? What helps set your priorities for the day or week? A couple criteria I'm sort of bouncing around right now that relate to my 7-ness and some growing edges I need to work on:
1. Is someone else waiting for me to finish my piece so they can do their piece?
2. What tasks will help me make and nurture personal connections with other people?