August 4, 2019
When I was in radio, a co-worker taught me a trick for eliminating "ummm" when I spoke.
Step one was to replace "ummm" with "and".
"Ummm" is a spacer that you insert almost without thinking while you assemble your thoughts. It is surprisingly easy to replace "ummm" with "and".
For the most part, you're done. You'll be surprised by how few people notice how often and in what situations you say "and".
On the other hand, it turns out that it is easy for you now to drop these extra "and"s from your speech.
I don't know why. It's difficult to just drop your "ummm"s but if you change them first it is easy to drop the word you replace them with.
I've been trying to apply this approach to the way I manage time as I continue to search for a better To-Do system.
For the most part, it's not the software but how I use it. I've been happy with Omni Focus for years and I am much more productive when I use it.
But there are these long periods where I don't use it to capture all that I need to do and manage my way through them.
Perhaps, I thought, I'll make little "and" for "ummm" tweaks.
Soon after Omni Focus introduced multiple tags I started using a "Today" tag.
I tagged any item I wanted to get done the next day as "Today" and created a list of these items that I could work through.
At the end of each day, I removed the tag from any task I accomplished and evaluated whether it should stay on the ones I didn't to be done the next day. I'd like a metric of what gets deferred and how often - but this workflow is pretty good.
I used to have "Tomorrow" and "Soon" tags to manage the near future but never found them useful.
This week I reintroduced a "Waiting" tag.
I use this when I send an email to someone and I'm waiting on a response. I want to make sure that if they don't get back to me I still have this as an item that has not been done.
At some point it may become clear that they need a reminder or that this will never get done and I can take appropriate actions.
The final tag I've brought back is "Impulse".
So often I have a great plan but then I decide to or just end up doing something else.
I decide to mow the lawn. I find myself lost in social media posts. I meet a friend for coffee.
No judgement on what's important and what isn't - I just want to capture them to see how I spent the day.
I now add them with the "Impulse" tag to show that they weren't something I planned to do. Again, I would like software that helped me identify how much of my day is spent on things like this but I'm really, really, really trying not to write my own software.
The irony is not lost on me that I'm writing a post about habits after not blogging for months.