Liquid List

One funky monkey.
If you've been following The Happy Homunculus this week, you may see a trend emerging. Monday, we looked for activities that naturally produce a state of flow.  Tuesday, we changed our perspective to get in the zone for a daily duty.  Yesterday, we used a physical activity to tap into the flow state.  So, what is the trend? Flow can happen in almost any situation, it just takes a shift in perspective and the right conditions.  Today, we're going to exploit the principles of Flow to morph our soul-crushing to-do lists into a game that makes the very act of accomplishing things a flow experience.  Tell your homunculus to buckle its seat-belt.

As I've described before, tasks that get us into the zone are characterized by well-defined goals, immediate feedback, and reasonable challenge.  These are broad requirements that almost any activity can meet with a little creativity.  To extend this thinking, if individual tasks can produce flow, why can't the task of accomplishing all our tasks do the same?

Today, let's approach our to-do list with the goal of getting in the zone for the whole workday.  In order for this to happen though, we need to tweak our list to make things flow a bit better.

Liquid List

Task: Modify your to-do list to be compatible with the principles of Flow.

Info: You want your each item on your to-do list to be a well-defined task that provides a reasonable level of challenge.  What does this mean?  If the first item on your to-do list is: "Be awesome." That probably isn't going to get you into the zone.  Break the task up into individual tasks that each provide a nice, self-contained flow activity.  So, instead of "Be awesome" you could write 1. "Read chapter one of 'Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience'", 2. "Complete the Daily Mind Game at The Happy Homunculus.", 3. "Brainstorm next steps to being awesome".  Each one of those tasks is well-defined, provides the immediate sense of progress, and is self-correcting in terms of level of challenge.  Rewrite your whole to-do list with these requirements in mind.  Then start working!

Goal: Make it a game: 1 Metacognition Point per completed item.  Earn at least 10 MPs to win the game.

PS. I think for many of us, breaking big tasks into easy, little ones feels like cheating or laziness.  It isn't.  It's being smart and tailoring your to-do list to your Monkey 2.0 brain.  Don't make things harder on yourself!

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