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the action “halo effect” Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
One action ... becomes 12 tangents.

It amazes me how often I act on something that’s due with the intention of returning to OF soon to choose something else to do that’s due ... but I get side-tracked by action in question, and I end up doing a dozen related actions instead of returning to OF.

I call this this action “halo effect”. Every action seems to be surrounded by a swarm of undefined semi-related actions. They may simply be the next actions for the parent project (which I can certainly get caught up in), but what makes the halo effect so interesting is that it is downright amazing often the tangents are completely original ideas. What is all this stuff that I hadn’t previously captured?! It creates the impression that defined, captured items in OF are the tip of an iceberg.

Working, in short, generates and inspires new actions. Which is great in some ways, but also makes it difficult to make headway on the actions that were already defined ... and there are always plenty of those.

I don’t really know how to control the action “halo effect.” Here’s one idea: regard every action as a source of inspiration for other actions, and instead of doing them, try to aggressively capture them instead.

Anyone have any other ideas for reining in the “halo effect”?

Last edited by bigcloits; 2008-12-08 at 06:16 AM.. Reason: typo fix
 
It depends.

If the actions are truly next actions for the project in question, then I keep chugging away at the project (unless I know there are more important projects waiting).

If the actions are truly tangential, then I use QuickEntry to throw them into my OF inbox. If I'm not at the computer, I'll jot a note or leave my self a voice message. It's taken me a long time to develop this discipline to not follow the tangents. I'm still not great at it, but I'm getting better.

I think treating actions as brainstorming triggers would be fine as part of a weekly review. But if I found myself doing that instead of completing actions, then I would be very wary of falling into to the sinkhole of managing my system instead of living my life.
__________________
Cheers,

Curt
 
I like your 'halo effect' term. I've felt the same thing when trying to do an action.

Some of the things I've tried is: put the tangential actions into the inbox while I am working on an action.

Another workflow I've tried to help me stay on task is: develop a widget that doesn't let me work for too long without bringing the task that I've said I'm working on, back in front of me.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpiralOcean View Post
I like your 'halo effect' term.
Thanks. I felt clever when I thought of it. It’s nice to feel clever for a moment.

Quote:
Another workflow I've tried to help me stay on task is: develop a widget that doesn't let me work for too long without bringing the task that I've said I'm working on, back in front of me.
I think I would find myself ignoring that just as readily as I ignore the voice in my head that is trying to tell me the same thing. :-) I totally understand the impulse, but I can also predict how I will fail with that approach.

I have a sneaking suspicion that there’s actually a fairly deep problem here, and that Guru Allen would tell us that a bad case of the halo effect is a symptom of generally inadequate capturing. Really, if we’re getting significantly distracted by many new, novel actions that were absent from the trusted system just that morning ... how complete can our system really be?! How good a job can we possibly have done of anticipating what we want to do?

Could the cure for the halo effect be a good dose of brainstorming and harvesting?
 
It's possible that the capturing wasn't complete enough... but I feel this is just a part of the process. Sitting at your computer, brainstorming what needs to be done, a person will not be able to successfully capture and detail everything that needs to be done.

When a person begins moving forward on something, that is when the real work is being done. When all the things that the person didn't think of before becomes apparent. And new ideas about different projects become apparent.

It would be a waist of energy for me to be worrying that I haven't brainstormed enough. You brainstorm until you have no more thoughts, and then begin working. As long as the mind is kept clear. How do you know when the mind is clear? When it is clear. If another thought shows up, then capture it.

Now there are different projects that I have done in the past and know what it takes to do those projects. Those I can plan better.

Quote:
Really, if we’re getting significantly distracted by many new, novel actions that were absent from the trusted system just that morning ... how complete can our system really be?! How good a job can we possibly have done of anticipating what we want to do?
I don't agree that a trusted system means you have to capture and plan everything out before you start working on something.

A trusted system to me means: you trust the system to tell you the things that need to get done when they need to get done. You trust the system that when you capture something it is in your system. And you trust the system because you have everything in the system, not just work items, or just home items, or just some projects. Everything is in the system. Then you trust it. Your brain isn't thinking I have a list over here and a list over here and a list over here.

The biggest part of OF that I do not trust is:
bringing up parent items when I have completed all children items for me to either complete or add more children to.
 
One other point,
I don't agree that having all those thoughts is a bad thing, which from your perspective it seems like you think the halo is a bad thing.

To me, it is a form of the brainstorm. It's great to have more ideas while working on something else.

The problem occurs when I am distracted by those ideas instead of sending them into the inbox.
 
 


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