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What are you doing right now?

Apr 27, 2023

Continuing on the theme of things I am trying, loving and keen to share…

Something to try...

Have you ever tried keeping a “Doing Now” list?

If not, perhaps that’s something to do (... now!).

And if you do, you can write “reading Simon’s latest blog on it”

... and 3 Reasons Why

  1. We’ve all heard of a “To Do” list. Mine seems to be perpetually long. Even if I split it into different categories/priorities/colours, I find my mind continually wanders off to all the things on the list I am not doing yet. And then I soothe myself by doing things that aren’t on the list at all (that’s right, ChatGPT, I am looking at you, you bottomless-distraction-in-the-name-of-research you).

    That’s where my “Doing Now” list comes to the rescue. Each time I switch tasks, I write down the new object of my focus eg. “Writing this week’s blog”. Once done, I cross it off and write the next thing. Rinse and repeat. This is much more than a listing exercise. It’s a moment of deliberate choice… what will I do now and, by definition, what am I not doing now? Which in turn requires ruthless commitment and prioritisation.*

  2. In a funny way, I find writing a new item on my "doing now” list is satisfying in the same way as crossing an item off a “to do” list. Not because the task is done yet, but because I feel like I am controlling my focus. This puts me in the drivers seat, which is motivating, and keeps my energy up. In fact, I can’t wait to write down my next “Doing now” item! #smallpleasures

  3. Below my “doing now” list (which you’ll appreciate is not very long… especially if you accept you can only be doing one thing at a time), I keep a list of “The Distractions”. Every time my mind wanders or is distracted by an external trigger, I write the new distraction down on that list. Naming it helps to make it the object of my choice - to put that distraction back in its box - or, if I so choose, to give it some air time. It’s all about choice!

Something to try? Let me know if you do!

* Oh, and just to be clear, a “Doing Now” list only captures what you are literally doing right now. Don’t be cajoled into redefining “Now” to mean this afternoon, today, this week or this quarter. Give it an inch, it will take a mile, people!




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