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September 5, 2003

September 5, 2003

"It's the constant and determined effort that breaks down resistance,
sweeps away all obstacles."
-- Claude M. Bristol
I am always looking for new and better ways to combine the principles that I teach in my books and seminars. Here's one which I am finding very effective. It is designed to reduce the areas of your life and workwhich you are resisting or procrastinating about.

This is a list based method. This may surprise you if you have reaD my books because you will know that I am not a great fan of To Do lists. This is because they have a tendency to grow uncontrollably.
So do remember to keep your list well-focused and keep weeding it.

Here's how the method works.

Start by writing out a list of everything you have to do.

Then mark each item out of 10 for how much you are resisting it.

So, if it's something you can hardly bear to think about, give it a score of 10. If it's one of things you tend to do anyway, especially when you are avoiding doing something else, give it a low score. Write the score you have given each item in front of it.

Don't get too obsessed about what score to give something. It's usually best to do it as quickly as possible and write the scores down straight off the top of your head. Your list might now look something like this (yours will probably be much longer of course):

6 Phone irate client
5 Re-organize vehicle files
7 Tax Return5 Clear e-mail backlog
4 Find missing invoice

Look down the list for the item(s) with the highest score, which in this case is 7. Work on each of the items with that score in turn. In this case, there is only one item with a score of 7, the Tax Return. Now if you've given your Tax Return a score of 7, you have probably been procrastinating about it for quite some time. So say to yourself something on the lines of "I'm not really going to work on my tax return now, but I'll just get the file out." Then work on it for as long as you feel capable of doing so. Perhaps you will only get the file out. Perhaps you'll get the file out and then do quite a bit more. It doesn't
matter. What matters is that you do something.

When you have done as much work as you feel you want to on the Tax Return item, cross it off the list and re-enter it at the bottom of the list. Then re-score it for the amount of resistance you are now feeling towards it. Usually you will find that the score has dropped, because the highest resistance is almost always to taking the first step. In this case we will assume that the amount of resistance you
feel has dropped from 7 to 6. So the list now reads:

6 Phone irate client
5 Re-organize vehicle files
5 Clear e-mail backlog
4 Find missing invoice
6 Tax return

Now continue in exactly the same way by tackling the highest scoring items first. In this example these would now be the two 6s, "Phone irate client" and our old friend "Tax return." You may succeed in crossing the phone call off the list altogether; then once you've worked again on the Tax Return for a bit you will re-enter and re-score it.

However while you were working on these two items, you remembered that you need to get your passport photo taken. So you added that to the end of the list and gave it a resistance score. In this case, we'll say it's a 3. So the list is now:

5 Re-organize vehicle files
5 Clear e-mail backlog
4 Find missing invoice
3 Passport photo
5 Tax return

Now do some work on each of the 5s in turn, and once again you will probably find that their scores fall by at least one point as a result. So the list will now read:

4 Find missing invoice
3 Passport photo
4 Re-organize vehicle files

4 Clear e-mail backlog
4 Tax return

The result of using the list in this way is that the items which you are resisting most in your life are systematically tackled bit by bit. As the resistance to them falls, other items can begin to be tackled. And very important: gradually your resistance to everything you have to do falls. When you started work on this list, the average resistance score was 5.4, but now it has fallen to 3.8. Procrastination caused by resistance is very draining. The lowering of the average score represents a considerable unblocking of energy which becomes available for all your work.

At the beginning of each day, rewrite the list and re-score it. Don't be surprised if many of the scores have increased overnight. What will it be like when you reduce your resistance to everything to virtually zero? I haven't got there myself, but I'm looking forward to finding out!

Mark Forster, The Time Freedom Coach
Copyright Mark Forster, Coach, 2003
Procrastinators, take heed! This may well be the answer you have been looking for to get things done. This is a fun way of working through the To Do list. And for those of you who like to cross things off the list, you can do it with minimal effort.

In my simplyEffective course, we teach a strategy called: "Leading the Horse to Water." You simply focus on doing whatever part of your intention is easy and comfortable to perform. When you get to the first hard bit, you have a choice -- if you decide to carry on and do more, fine, if you "stop at the water" but decide not to drink, that's fine, too.

This week, as you return from summer vacation and the To Do list length grows, play with it (remember summer fun). Make those items you are resisting move on the list. Tackle those items you are resisting to whatever point you want and see what you can accomplish!

Find out how you can be more successful in our 45 minute free coaching session.

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