Being a scanner means consistency looks quite different - but not impossible, as it may seem. (Image source Digital Buggu on Pexels)
If you're a scanner (or you suspect you may be), the "normal" rules and advice won't be as helpful for you. There may be some limited success in any given process, but in the long run it probably feels like nothing works. This can be extremely soul-crushing, as non-scanners often judge the failures as character flaws.
Getting The Gears To Work Together
Barbara Sher has plenty of strategies in her book, but she leaves a lot of room for creative freedom (as she must!). Many types of scanners have extraordinary bursts of productivity and then suddenly reroute to something else. This could be an equally intense focus on a completely new, unrelated project, picking up an old project collecting dust, a passion for learning instead of doing, or a host of other seemingly ADD attributed distractions.
But scanners don't have ADD (they can, but it's not synonymous). They just have different mental rules, is all.
So when experts say to plan, set goals, develop habits and be consistent, scanners shudder in embarrassment. Because we've tried. OH, how we have tried. It just doesn't seem to work for us.
What DOES Work
It's likely to be a little different for everyone, but there are a few general strategies you can build from. The first step, though, is accepting the burst of productivity for what it is; stop trying to change it. You can't change your nature. You can work with it, but only after you've accepted it as-is.
Once you have come to terms with your scanner-ism, you can start using that time more wisely. For instance, every article this week I finished in a day. Using Weebly's scheduling function, I took my burst of productivity and ran with it - yet kept the project consistency of this site intact. Another suggestion is to group similar interests if you tend to cycle. I've got three websites for this purpose, because my interests can be lumped into three major categories: success, entertainment, and spiritually focused self-improvement (which isn't nearly as religious as it sounds). Each one becomes a repository for new projects that are easily categorized under one of those subjects.
If you must try to change your nature, then do so in small ways that make a big impact. Use a visual task board with a generous deadline to monitor your projects. You want to get something done in the next month? Make a chart listing your recent and current projects and their tasks. Look at it daily, but let yourself work on whichever one seems best in the moment. Chances are, you'll complete at least one of them by your deadline.
And then there's time limits. I personally don't like those, because they are too restrictive. Deadlines are fine, but time limits are too small. If I want to take the whole day and work on one thing for 8 hours, it's not going to be very effective to limit that to 1 or 2. That's too much to work against. But there are other scanners that would absolutely benefit from scheduling a bit of time every day for everything. Just remember to schedule rest, breaks and relaxation in there too.
On that note, I hope you have a fantastic weekend! Look for the review tomorrow at 9a!
As I begin this anew, I know only one thing: that I know nothing. Learn with me, and together we will figure this out.
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