The ActionLogr App is the Antidote to To-do Lists!
ActionLogr is totally different from a to-do list application, because action logs are not nagging reminders of all the stuff you haven’t done yet. Instead, Action Logging celebrates the achievements that you have actually accomplished, building up day by day.
Anybody can benefit from starting to use Action logging, and it can also offer you a real rescue remedy, should you need one.
Action Logging rescues you from the tyranny of to do lists
Start Feeling positive about your progress
Get more done by measuring success rather than failure
Become better able to evaluate the impact of past actions
Enjoy your work and activity more by getting things into a positive and meaningful perspective
So what’s it all about, this Action Logging?
The idea of Action Logging started a couple of years or so ago, when I got fed up with list of things I needed to do but wasn’t getting done. I set myself the goal of simply doing something each day, never mind priorities, just get something done so I can feel better about myself. I would then record what I’d done in, in order to focus on the positive. There was a secondary purpose to the action log as well, and that was to be able to look back on the actions taken in order to see if they had had a positive effect on any outcomes, later. So the philosophy behind Action Logging comes out Action Research, and reflective practice. The phrase “accentuate the positive” also comes to mind as a slogan that ActionLogr is based around.
Anyway, I was blogging about Action Logging as well as doing it, and attracted a few fellow travellers who seemed to really benefit from the rescue method I was advocating. “You may have saved my life!” was just one genuine remark! Since that time, I’ve returned to action logging occasionally, and sometimes pointed other people to the resource on my blog. The reactions have encouraged me to do more with the idea, which seems to be original and above all helpful to people. But that’s enough about me.
Why should you use ActionLogr the Action Logging App?
There are plenty of apps and systems out there for organising to do lists, and for some people that may be all they need to keep themselves feeling productive and on top of things, but I’m concerned about another group of people entirely. We all know that modern life on the internet is full of distractions, interruptions and potentially huge time wasting activities. And we are only human! Could it just be that for some people, reorganising the priorities and carefully setting up lots of lists and tasks could be a displacement activity itself? What if the very systems which are meant to be helping you to keep on track, were actually becoming absorbed into the relentless barrage of calls on your time, and offering a way to fool yourself into thinking you are doing something useful, when all you are really doing is shuffling ideas around inside an application, rather than acting upon them?! That would be a supreme irony, but you know, I couldn’t help noticing a slight feeling of accomplishment every time I added a new task onto my ever growing list of things to do. As if just the fact of queuing it up in there somehow was already part of the battle won, so I could relax again, happy in the knowledge that I’d just taken some kind of action, and could now switch back to messing around unproductively again! But adding an item to a to do list isn’t really an action at all is it? There’s a measure of self deceit going on with this kind of list making habit. As if writing down a shopping list could somehow save you from needing to go outdoors and visit the shops!
While other people may have considered this irony and smiled to themselves, I decided it was an important insight that needed to be acted upon. If to do list making can turn into a displacement activity itself, not to mention the demoralising effect an impossible list of tasks for the time available can have on the personal morale, then why do we just shrug, acknowledge the paradox in the situation, but just carry on? I decided that enough was enough. I would stop making lists of all the black clouds hanging over my days and instead I would focus on the positive things. The things that I actually did manage to achieve during that portion of time which is genuinely productive.
I turned my desperation into a radical plan for change. I gave up managing to do lists completely, and instead started to make a short and simple list each day to document all of the items that I could have crossed off my list if I still had one. I called this new system Action Logging, because I wanted to be very strict with myself about what constituted a genuine step forward. Taking action is the key to making any kind of progress, and it’s important to be very clear about what constitutes an action towards any of my goals.
All I can say is that it works. It really works!
The greatest fear perhaps, that might hold anybody back from taking the plunge and ditching the demoralising to do list making, is the fear that some important task will get forgotten. That horror of horrors, you might spend all your time completing silly little irrelevant tasks to put on your Action Log while leaving the urgent stuff undone. The good news is that your mind simply won’t let you do that. If anything is really that urgent or important, then it will be tend to keep popping up to remind you one way or the other. There’s really no need to postpone getting started while you shuffle and reshuffle your to do list first. And how well was the to do list working for you anyway? Did you get all the things done or did you spend even more time later in the day looking for items that you can move from one day to another, kicking them further into the future and feeling a mixture of guilty and relieved about that?
Tracking only the concrete actions taken after they have been completed has two major positive effects. It makes you feel better about the progress that you have been making and it encourages you to get much more done indirectly, as opposed to beating you around the head with all the jobs still hanging over you. You only have the number of hours that are available and the energy that you can apply, so isn’t it better to use them to at least accomplish as much as you can rather than stress about not being able to cope with the impossible?