Monday, July 07, 2008

Prioritizing by Anxiety.

I see what he's getting at although I'm not entirely convinced.

Obviously No Free Lunch tells us that no "prioritize-by-X" strategy could be appropriate to all circumstances. (Including the FIFO algorithm of Mind Traffic Control).

Because of this, the less time wasted imagining you can specify priorities in advance, the better. Because the only time you can assign priorities is when pulling things out of your queue. To the extent that "anxiety" helps you identify the most urgent to do now it's useful. But Andre does recognise that anxiety (like most *emotional* indicators) is pretty ambiguous; it might be that an item makes you anxious exactly because you *don't* know how to do it or even what you *want* to do about it. So, even choosing to address it now, doesn't mean "doing" it now, it may be a signal to cancel entirely.

Still ... it's to good if it helps you reduce anxiety overall. Perhaps not if you start to *cultivate* it as a priority-identification mechanism.

BTW : MTC works on the opposite theory, assuming that it's easier to know which items you can definitely postpone, than it is to know which are most urgent ... so at least it helps you clear the former out of the way. Nevertheless, what this post mainly reminds me is that, now I'm up to around 200 items under Mind Traffic Control, even MTC is breaking down for me.

Or rather, it's missing something. And I'm starting to wonder if that's the "someday/maybe" bucket. Originally I assumed that "3 months in the future" was more or less equivalent to a someday/maybe ... but I'm finding that that's not the case.

I'm scared to push things so far ahead, even for things I have no idea when I'd get round to. Because there's always the possibility that I might get inspired to try them tomorrow. I need another queue to get things out of the way, but from where I can bring them back, if inspiration strikes.

Opinions anyone?
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