I predicted I wouldn't post this until I changed my prediction.
Once upon a time, I was having trouble getting stuff done. I worked with Elsa, who helped me make a plan.
We thought about possible problems and accounted for them in the plan.
I thought it was a good plan.
But it failed.
But when the plan failed I said, “I’m not surprised.”
I wasn’t. My plans usually failed. Why should this one be any different?
Then I realized my mistake. A good plan might have failed, but it would have failed in a novel and surprising way. This one failed in a predictable way.
That was nuts.
So I started making predictions as part of planning.
Make a plan. Imagine that it has failed. Predict the reason. Adjust the plan.
Lather, rinse, repeat until the probability of failure seemed appropriately low. Not zero, because that would assume perfection. But low, taking into account things I could not control and to which I could not adapt.
I tried the technique and it worked.
I wrote about the success.
Then (predictably) I stopped using that method.
I’m not surprised.
I’ve learned techniques that have been successful and applied them—for a while. And then I’ve failed to continue to use them.
Rarely, I’ve decided not to continue. Most often I’ve forgotten.
How can I forget?
How could I forget something that I’ve worked hard to learn and that’s been successful?
Who cares? I’ve forgotten. I do that a lot. It’s natural.
Here’s a better question: what plan can I make that will keep me from forgetting to use a successful method?
I made a plan. Predicted failure. Revised. Predicted failure.
Finally came up with one that I predict has a high enough probability of success.
Gmail has a feature that will let me write an email and schedule it to be sent at some date in the future. I could write an email and schedule it to go to me tomorrow. I’d read it, adjust it (or not) and send schedule it to get to me the next day.
So here’s my plan:
Get the URL this post will have when it is published.
Compose an email to be delivered tomorrow and a copy to be delivered the following day.
The email will tell me to review this post, to spell and grammar check it and repost it.
The email will tell me to decide what the next day’s email is going to say and what the week-from-now email is going to say.
I will send those emails.
I will then publish this post.
The next day, I will get the email, revise this post, and send the next emails.
Next Sunday, I will get the weekly email, etc.
Dear Future Mike
This is to remind you to read this post, spell and grammar check it, and repost it
This is also to remind you to write the week-from-Sunday email and schedule it.
This is to remind you to revise this email and schedule it for the day after you get this and the day after that and to unschedule any duplicates.
If you see this, it’s done.
Done (update) And done again. With some typos fixed.
Update April 25:
I’ve managed to keep the daily email going. I had one one-day lapse but the next day, when the backup email came in, I recovered. So that worked. And today it’s Sunday and I’ve scheduled my Sunday reminder for next week. Life is good.
Update May 10
We traveled to Denver and in the process, the process fell apart. Or would have. Fortunately, the weekly reminder email was in my inbox, unhandled, until now, when I rebooted the process.