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When you’re in a little room and you’re working on something good, you might find something else that you also want to do.

Now, there are two ways to go about that.

One, which I’ll call “fifo”, is to note the new thing and then finish the original thing to the best of your ability.

The second, “lifo” is a good pet name for it, is to just immediately go up and start working on the new thing.

This is something I’ve found myself really struggling with. David Allen (the main GTD guy) has, in interviews and in his books, conveyed some warning words against “lifo”, against always being driven by the latest&loudest at the expense of what you really wanted to do.

I have a relative who’s really good at always working the “fifo” way. She reads one book at a time, she does one thing at a time, her house is sparkling clean.

I’m a mess in that regard, a complete sprawl-brain, SOFA-prone and nerd-snipable. I wouldn’t even get half-way shaving that yak until I’d have to go stand in line in the razor store.

That’s exacerbated by how in the world of programming, because automation is a thing that’s usually worth it, working lifo can sometimes get massively rewarded. Today as I was working on a thing I had dreaded because putting the files that way is such a schlep, I was like “OK, so why don’t I automate it?” and two lines of shell and three lines of elisp later, I can now do the schleppy part of that with one keypress. It literally took less time making the automation than to actually do it by hand one time.

Conclusion: I’ve got to case-by-case it. I want to get away from the lifo-vs-fifo, “Sandra you’re a bad girl for working so much lifo” mindset, and not even have to think of things in terms of lifo-vs-fifo anymore, but, I want that freedom–from–lifo-vs-fifo to be earned, to learn to carefully consider what I’m doing and why; to be more deliberate and less whim-driven.

To choose to do something, and whether I choose to go to a new task or to continue a started task shouldn’t be an automatic no-brainer choice; “lifo vs fifo” and hangups around that shouldn’t be the biggest factor.