Saturday, January 13, 2007

open loops

An open loop is, as mentioned some months ago, an unfulfilled purpose, something yet undone. And these tends to bother you -- they will remind you of that which isn't done, they will create stress and restlessness and things like that. The way to make them go silent is to GTD them, which involves three things:

1. Determine what the successful outcome is.
2. Determine the next physical action.
3. Write it down in a trusted system.

Examples of open loops: You've decided to do something, or you've been given some assignment by someone else, or something has just landed in your life and you need to do something about it (an email, a suggestion by someone waiting for a answer) or you have an idea you think is valuable but don't know exactly what to do with. Psychologically it is experienced as something on your mind that won't go away even though you don't want to think about it.

A certain type of open loop is when you get into trouble of some sort. It is particularly open loopy and disturbing to your mental peace if it's a serious problem involving things you fear and things you don't know how to handle. To make that leave your mind requires... well, drugs or loud music or something like that. Or that you come up with a way of solving the problem.

Well, I have encountered one of those big problems now, and it won't let my mind rest. But it helps to some extent to know that I don't actually need to solve the problem completely for my mind to rest. What I need to do is to determine what the successful outcome is, the next physical action and get it into my system.

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