December 30, 2005

Why do I get ideas for blog entries and essays during the 30 minutes or so I have between the reading of newspaper and the shaving->train dash each morning? And why is it that in the last 90 minutes of the day at work the barriers to accomplishing a stack of Next Actions suddenly fall away?

Is this just a bizarre 'when Eric can get time structured' thing? Or is there a better explanation?

One element, I think is that this is a matter of constraints focusing my decision making. Jason Fried (and the 37signals crew in general) have spoken about embracing constraints as a way to focus corporate activity. David Allen, with his 2 minute rule, focuses ones attentions in the organizing process to those things that would clutter other, later, goals.

And yesterday in the Times, in a column about New Years resolutions (and I'm not unmindful of those!), Nobel economist Thomas C Schelling's idea of preconditions crossed my radar. In essence (for those who can't get to the column online), one or more parties set boundaries and posts on a commitment before a final decision is made. So a legally binding treaty ostensibly binds future Presidents, and on a smaller scale similar pre-decisions can be used in our personal lives.

There's more in Schelling's work and in the column. In particular, the Times points to the essay Ethics, Law and the Exercise of Self Command (pdf).

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Posted by esinclai at December 30, 2005 03:36 PM |
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