Using Textexpander in setting outcomes for projects

Positive affirmation

I’m sure that most of the GTD practitioners are aware that positive affirmation really tends to work, not because of some magical properties, but because it helps you as an individual focus on a preferred outcome, rather than be all over the place.

Car accidents

A friend of mine recently took a crash course. A real one. A course designed to help you react in the correct manner if you are ever involved in a crash. I’m making abstraction of a lot he told me but one aspect really stuck with me:

Most people, when about to be involved in a multiple car pile-up, look at the accident they are trying to avoid. This apparently contributes to them hitting the other cars. An expert driver apparently should focus on where he wants his car to go. All other things remaining equal (driving ability, reaction time …) the driver focusing on the way out is less likely to hit the pile-up than the driver focusing on the accident.

Now, I am not an expert driver, and cannot vouch for the relevance of that advice. So while this should not be taken as an advice, and I don’t claim this to be the ideal way to avoid getting in pile-ups, which you really should avoid at all cost, it does make sense. The driver focuses on what he wants to achieve and both consciously and subconsciously focuses on the achievement of that specific goal. In this case, it’s escaping the accident.

A similar approach has been shown to work for any type of higher rates of goal achievement. The Asian Efficiency blog has some great articles on this here.

The TextExpander snippet

I’ve created a textexpander snippet based on that very article. I invoke it through “;outcomes”, but of course you can use any textexpander shortcut you consider relevant. I launch this snippet in the freeform text field of the first action which I enter for each significant project I have in OmniFocus: the “Achieve my intented outcomes” action. It is the last action that gets cleared at the end of each project, and it is the action I check prior to going and doing any action on a project I have not worked on for a while.
Just clarifying my outcomes at the beginning and checking them on a regular basis allows me to ensure that I am formulating the right actions in the context of what I intend to do with that project.

You can see the structure of the snippet in the screenshot below. If you don’t know Textexpander from Smile software, get some more information here.