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Originally Posted by SpiralOcean View Post
You have some excellent writing skills bigcloits and have introduced some new thoughts for me to think about.
Thanks, SO! What a rare sentiment in a forum. Usually people are too busy flaming to offer compliments on writing skills. I’m touched and, as always, impressed by the congeniality of the OF user community. Groovy, dude.

Maybe it's our subconscious throwing up resistance at us.
I agree, something like this must be happening. For instance, I’ve long known that signing up for a weekly class is the kiss of death for whatever it is I’m supposedly going to learn. Something about making a commitment is paradoxically corrosive to my commitment. It is simply a matter of time — usually 6-8 weeks — before I begin to resent and avoid it. Fitness clubs rely on this psychology, of course: if everyone who bought memberships actually showed up, they’d be over-run. ;-)

Something similar, but much more granular, must be happening with the halo effect. Each previously defined action is a commitment that I resent having saddled myself with, and my rebellion is self-distraction: the halo effect. Not just having brainstorms (that part’s okay), but indulging in them.

“Sure, I could do the tasks that I’ve already defined,” goes my mind. “But where’s the fun in that? Let’s work on this sexy new idea!”

Sexy only because I hadn’t already thought of it and made it burdensome and tedious by putting it in a list.

Or if I want to respond to an email that is going to be a lengthy response I'll respond instead of putting those actions into the system and continuing to process the email inbox. (take this post as an example)
Or mine right now. ;-)

There must be several things going on here: the siren song of the organizational process itself; avoidance and resentment of our own commitments; the exaggerated importance of things that are right in front of us, and so on.

I routinely fool myself into thinking that I can complete a halo action in less time than it would take me to manage it in the system. Ha ha ha. This is pure nonsense. I can add anything to the system in seconds, and manage most of them easily within existing contexts and projects! Yet somehow I rationalize that it’s better to work on a halo task as soon as it occurs to me, thus both completing the task and avoiding any organizational overhead, conveniently ignoring the fact that it will actually take, um, about 18 minutes to complete, and thus constitutes a fairly major distraction from whatever I was supposed to be working on.

I find that just putting something into the system to do later, takes away some of the compulsion.
Definitely. If I can actually muster the mental discipline to take that step, much of the perceived priority goes poof. In fact — and this is bloody intriguing — it’s amazing how often I quickly dismiss the halo effect brainstorms when I’m processing my inbox later. Some of them seem downright silly.

Oh dear. See what happens when you compliment my writing? I go and write a long-winded post. Soooo predictable.