Some thoughts on productivity

darkzerothree

DunkelNullDrei
Joined
Feb 16, 2017
Messages
400
Likes
277
Degree
1


"Stop starting. Start finishing."

Everyone who has dealt with agile projects knows this phrase.
I have just recently come to the realization of what this really means.

In my life, there are far too many "open threads" (as David Allen calls them) tasks or projects that I have not finished.

And - to my shame - it is often only a few small things left to do.
Which - paradoxically makes it easier to not finish them.

"Ah, it's only a bit to do, I'll do it some other time."

Combine that with a bit of shiny new project syndrome... and you have the mess that is my todo list.

So I am clearing my backlog. How about you?

 

Rowling

Looking for my own path
Joined
Aug 14, 2019
Messages
7
Likes
15
Degree
0
In my experience, focusing on productivity it's often a way to procrastinate. While I'm worrying about improving my productivity, I'm not producing at all.

So when I start to think about it, I prefer to go for a walk and then think again if I need to focus on productivity or merely change some points of my plan.

To-do lists can be overwhelming and hurt your productivity more than help it.

Productivity is a never-ending subject and I think that's the reason gurus love it. It's a kind of obsession that can make you rich if you can write a lot of books about it and convince people that they need them to success.

Some time ago I decided to focus myself in progress more than in productivity. It has helped me to have a more accurate vision of my reality.

Starting is always exciting. Take advantage of this emotion and fuel your work with it.
 
Joined
Mar 19, 2019
Messages
18
Likes
18
Degree
0
100%. I've always hated having things in the background that need to be done. I find I obsess over them and this causes me to be less productive overall.

I was recently pushed in the direction of giving up something which I've been working on semi-passively for the past 2 years. Funny thing is, I wasn't mad or disappointed when I was put in the position of having to stop doing this thing, because for the last 6 months I've been waiting for an excuse to stop.
 

Ryuzaki

女性以上のお金
Staff member
BuSo Pro
Digital Strategist
Joined
Sep 3, 2014
Messages
3,578
Likes
6,720
Degree
7
I think of the brain as a Hard Drive / CPU / RAM combo, and these kind of open loops will eat up RAM like crazy.

I agree that to-do lists can be overwhelming if they're huge. That's why I like the Kanban system (Trello). I have bunch of boards that I'll check in on and store big to-do items, but I'll move the cards to a board called "Current" and only keep 5-10 things on there at a time. That keeps the main to-do list conquerable. Then I re-load it.

But back to open loops, I close them like my life depends on it, and I refuse to open as many as possible. I'm even designing my work now to not have open loops, and where they can't be avoided I keep them as simple as possible so there's no variables and surprises. It just becomes a matter of "done or not."
 
Joined
Jul 22, 2014
Messages
208
Likes
216
Degree
1
If there are things you aren't finishing for months or years on end, they likely were never important in the first place and you played yourself about them from day one. If they can be left unfinished, then they're likely finished and that last 5% is perfectionism creeping in.
 

darkzerothree

DunkelNullDrei
Joined
Feb 16, 2017
Messages
400
Likes
277
Degree
1
I try to kill unimportant things.

In life, there is way more grey areas, though.

hmm... maybe an example helps

One of the open loops is a 3D printed “spider mount” for my USB microphone.
I got the ikea lamp that Im modifying, and the print is half done.

open loop.

Is it important? Not so much
Do I still want to do it? yes

Now I need to start finishing.

Lots of words, but I agree on your central proposition: Removing tasks and projects is the best way.

The agile community has a saying:
“Simplicity is the art of maximizing the work not done.”
 
Joined
Dec 28, 2015
Messages
93
Likes
77
Degree
0
For me, this is how I'm approaching my active projects (at least, work-related projects). I usually set goals but of course, hitting them can be a PITA. With so many unforeseen distractions and fires to put out, it is easy to get sidetracked.

So, what I'm doing is what I like to refer as my "20-mile march". Basically, I simply do something, no matter how small that will take me towards my final goal. The "thing" can be as simple as creating a social media profile, or writing just 500 words of content. Every day, I have to do something that is related to my project goals.

I read a good story about the 20 Mile March from the Art of Manliness blog. Check it out if you don't know the story.
 

mackem

Test, Test, Test
Joined
Sep 6, 2018
Messages
40
Likes
93
Degree
0
What @KevinOH is how I keep moving forward.

Initially I felt this pressure to produce a "full time" output forgetting I was doing "part time" hours. It caused me to stress and hurry out work just for the sake of publishing something.

Seriously unproductive.

The other big killer was planning - I'd endlessly review and replan my project which resulted in me getting nothing done.

This post and this post from @CCarter gave me the kick up the arse I needed. I went away, made a plan that was realistic, helped drive me closer to my goal and kept me focused.

I now know exactly what I need to do each and every week between now and the 31st December. If it's not on the list then it's not getting done unless the main weekly tasks have been complete (because they are the things that are going to feed my family).