Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Bluffing The Time Ninja

My new time management trick: pretend I'm already an expert at choosing what to do. That I always know the optimum way to spend time; and I'm always doing exactly that until inventing the next optimal task. I appreciate the positive-feedback, self-reinforcing-illusion loop:

  1. The better I do it, the more I believe in it.
  2. The more I believe it, the better I do at it.
Even while playing some bit role, of a sucker doing something I couldn't argue my way out of fast enough, I tell myself "The Ninja Knows" and pretend it's what I decided to do. Gullibility is a boon sometimes. Another example, the ninja says writing this blog entry will invest more ownership in the tactic. Rationalizations, party of two or more, your circular table is ready.

This is now the leading candidate for displacing the time management strategy I've been using for decades:

  1. Berate myself for wasting time until I work harder (at something blameless)
  2. Blame others for distractions and for not helping, or for helping poorly, at least until they leave me alone (this works eventually)
  3. Avoid and agonize over unfun undones, then do them with inner melodrama, then seek sympathies and distractions as if deserving them
The best part of bluffing the time ninja is I no longer have use for stress or resentment. I'm actually kinda serious, I've been practicing this for about forty-eight hours now, and it is actually kinda working. Use your inner ninja.


tz said...

oh I'm all about the inner melodrama...only because I'm too old for the outer drama...I leave that to the kiddos

thanks for stopping by my blog!

Gwen said...

This makes total sense to me - I am certainly most productive when I'm doing a chore I am good at so why not convince myself I'm good at all of them to make them more enjoyable? Good one, Bob Stein!

Bob Stein said...

tz - how nice of you to comment back. I'm inspired by and envious of all the traveling & activities you do with your outer-drama kiddos. Keep snapping those photos.

gwen - this plodding ponderer, who admires and is in awe of your abundant energy and enthusedness, is sure eating up your endorsement. And I like your twist: pretend you're good at every chore you do. Instead of a fraud trying to hide my buffoonery (how I usually feel), I can pretend to be an expert being clumsy with style.

C. said...

My inner ninja-ette likes to adjust her uniforms so they pinch in places they shouldn't but best accentuate her goodies. This is very distracting, so I've decided that this strategy may not work so well for me as it does for you.

Instead, I find my inner Yoda.


C. said...

PS -

The Village.

Two words.

Freaking fabulous. :)
You have good taste in movies my dear new blog friend. Very good taste.

Jocelyn said...

I guess I'm going to need to know how Hour 49 went before I can settle on opinion about your three-prong strategy.

Bob Stein said...

Dragonfly Yoda: By all means dress for comfy. Pleased to meet yet another layer of you. A favorite movie about self-mastery is Ghost Dog. I hope we never run out of movies with which to banter.

Bob Stein said...

Jocelyn, how marvelous you are to give me another reason to make it work: to impress you. No, no, I honestly don't mean that sarcastically at all. Nor that! Oh darnit.

I abuse all my motivational tricks, much like antibiotics: by neglecting them as soon as symptoms disappear. I got a lot of dismal chores — scratch that, fun chores (thanks Gwen) — done with taxes this week. So during the 49th to 149th hours, it worked! But then I got blogsided, so it's time to feel the ninja again.

And your reason is almost as good as my hope to never again need to release ... my inner Wanker Beast.

Gledwood said...

Your self-reinforcing illusion loop "the better I believe in it..." probably contains more than a grain of truth as you know...'s like if you're doing something new and it seems to come easy and you like it; chances are you are good at it!!

Mona said...

I am invoking my inner Ninja to feel pity for a certain humidity besogged paper precipitation victimized poor person; and I pontificate to persuade the Provider to pause his perpetual perspiration so that his performance and productivity is not impaired. ( Amen)

There...I hope that is sympathy enough for you bob!

You need not be shy to rush to the aid of flailing legs; its too good an opportunity to pass by!!

Ah! yes, I like the idea of bluffing the time Ninja! Actually he is a sucker for bluffing! I've been doing that for years now!

And you have been using it for "decades"? how long since have you been fooling the Ninja? Since you were Ten?

(chuckles) that ninja sure must be a dork!

On a 'normal' note: I think it is a very good method to establish a crazy work strategy for yourself, as long as the means are harmless to yourself and others around you. Such means would justify your bottom line ( no puns intended) even if you get your limbs all knotted in the process.

Bob Stein said...

Gledwood, your excellent point makes me wonder if there are two kinds of skill, inner and outer. Inner skill from the point of view of the doer (ease, like) reinforces outer skill from the point of view of the world (competence). No wonder the world treats them the same, but they are really very different.

Mona you are such a whimsical wit, and a perspicacious pith. Now I don't have to be shy when I comment on your blog. Minor correction: the thing I had been doing for decades past is disparaging and distrusting myself, i.e. stress. Perhaps I was never ready to Bluff The Time Ninja until I had earned as much plausible hubris as I have today.

Jocelyn, I feel compelled to compulsively confess I have fallen off the wagon. Just 4 days of "vacation" and with all the followup, catchup, I'm all slumpy, slothy again. But like so many self-help strategies when it doesn't work I can claim I'm not doing it right. The Ninja shall yet arise again anew from the undone detritus.

Mona said...

Still bluffing the Ninja I see ?

Hope the humidity has sometimes does tend to get within you & befog everything...

Mona said...

I think that he got so deeply buried in the paper work that he cannot see the Silicone Valley ( no puns intended ) anymore....:D

Creative for Hire said...

Bob! Hello. Thanks for your comment on the C4H blog. I remember you from assembling Claire's going-away-to-Korea book; you wrote an excellent letter.

I love the concept of the Time Ninja and intend to employ it tomorrow in the cubicle. Thanks.

P.S. ffffound rocks.