KS3 — What’s the first step if I want to use Keeping Score?

Begin the process by taking a trip to the office supply store. Get a pocket-sized notebook, a pen or pencil you can carry, and a spindle. You can also get fun stuff like highlighters and star stickers if you like, but you don’t need them. If you are short of printer paper, pick up a ream.

When you get home, start listing every single repetitive thing you ever do in a notebook. Yes, everything. Think about what you do every day and on most days. (Start with weekdays if your life revolves around work or school. You’ll get to weekends and holidays later.) Don’t list things that just happen to you, or that you really can’t control. It’s easiest to imagine yourself going through the day.

It’s going to look something like this:

wake up
check facebook
check email
play Farmville
brush teeth
make breakfast for the kids
eat breakfast
watch the morning news
get dressed
put makeup on
drive to work
(or ‘drive to kids to school, me to work’ – whatever best describes the single, regular trip you make)
work until lunch
(many jobs allow you to go on autopilot, where someone or something else is dictating what you do)
-answer work emails
(so list only tasks that you are responsible for that you have to remember or make time for on your own)
-work on projects
(don’t bother with the details of a finite project, think about what you do over and over)
eat lunch
surf internet
get back to work
(if you work at home or entirely on your own recognizance, you have to be more detailed)
-draft articles
-post to blog
-search markets
-clean chicken coop
-hoe vegetables
-medicate livestock
drive home
-grocery shop
make dinner
scoop the cat pan
help with homework
watch TV with spouse
(continue listing)
wash and moisturize face
go to bed
have sex (or euphemism of your choice)

When listing your tasks:

  • Use the single column format, even though it’s going to consume many pages. You’ll be making notes in the unused space later.
  • Try to phrase the tasks actively. Use verbs and words like: do, clean, take, etc.

Keep going:

Once you’ve imagined your day(s), go about your life for a week or so. Live through a weekend. Wear clothes that allow you to have your notebook and pen with you at all times. Add tasks and actions that you missed whenever you think of them. Write down social interactions that have a little weight – coffee with a friend, calling your mother, going out with your spouse. Write down time “well-spent” and time “wasted”. Write down have-tos and want-tos.

The stuff  you WISH you were doing:

By now, you’ll be thinking about all the things you want to do that you aren’t actually doing. Starting from the back of the notebook, list all the stuff you wish you did. This is where things like doing yoga, going for a run, reading a novel, and taking a long hot bath go.

Then what?

When you feel like you’ve captured most of the things that you do (and would like to do) on a regular basis, it’s time to assess and equate. You’re going to be lumping some individual actions into a natural group (a routine) and breaking some actions into smaller pieces. The goal is make everything take just about the same amount of time and/or energy as everything else. I know that sounds impossible; bear with me.

TO NEXT PAGE:  Equalize you tasks by grouping & dividing your actions.


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