The Path Less Followed

Last Saturday morning, approaching the mother of all hills at the end of West Bay Drive, Dan, Dan, The Transpo Man posed a question. Why did our small group become runners?

I detailed my personal fitness journey in the early days of the humble blog, but I’ve continued to think about the question during recent solo efforts.

I suspect we’re runners because we inherited above average self-discipline from our parents. They modeled it day-in and day-out in myriad ways separate from running. They woke up early. They went to work. They dedicated themselves to their work. They saved their money.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we run at 5:45a.m*. The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. We were fortunate, our parents were Redwoods.

*except Saturdays, when we ease into the day and start at 7:30a.m.

Not Sure

What’s the optimal timeframe for “To Do” lists, a day, a week, a month, a year, a lifetime? I’m not sure. A day seems far too short, a year and lifetime unhelpfully long, unless the list is filled with BHAGs. For some people it’s all about the week ahead and the Sunday p.m. planning is key.

Maybe the optimal timeframe boils down to the nature of the “to dos” on the list. The vast majority of mine are of the daily/weekly variety and that’s probably why I get stuck in “tyranny of the urgent” mode. Of course it feels good to check off “clear my inbox,” “read papers 2.1-2.4,” and “call X back,” but only on the surface because it’s frustrating not to make progress on weightier, more meaningful medium and/or long-term projects.

If I subdivide my “To Do” list into daily, weekly, and monthly subsections, I predict I’ll still get stuck in the daily thicket. I’ve read some productivity lit and I think I need to breakdown my medium and or long-term project-related “to dos” into numerous small, specific “to dos”. I should also take more time to “plan backwards” by figuring out when I want to complete the medium and long-termers and then determine what intermediary steps and related deadlines make the most sense.

Truth be told, determining the perfect timeframe and wording my “to dos” with greater specificity probably won’t result in a radical increase in productivity. For that I think I need to combine improved “to doing” with greater self discipline to read and immediately act on email once in the a.m. and once in the p.m. Right now, there’s too much email water torture going on.