Productivity

Last Updated on June 30, 2021

I used be one of those productivity nerds. Then I realized I was just procrastinating.

Productivity systems

GTD did help me a lot though, as far as providing a framework for task management. Getting Things Done is the classic tome on GTD.

However setting one priority is probably what has helped me the most. I wrote this about setting only one priority.

Goal Setting/OKRs

I set OKRs with my team at work. I also set personal OKRs at the start of each quarter. As far as personal OKRs, I generally have an objective creative projects, relationships, and health each quarter.

I like the OKR framework, the structure works well for me personally and professionally. The book Measure What Matters is worth reading if you are lead goal/target setting activities for a team.

Habits

I am a bit fan of the Tiny Habits approach.

My tool stack

I yo-yo between Android and iOS but the Apple watch and airpods are so great that I’m in the Apple camp currently.

Tasks/habits tracking tools

Gqueues. For task management. The calendar integration makes it great.

Bear. I use Bear premium so I can easily sync my notes between devices. The import from Evernote was super easy.

Google Gmail/Calendar/Docs/Sheets etc. The integration and collaboration is just too convenient to not use GSuite. Google photos is also excellent.

Spotify. Premium for music and podcast.

Strides. I use Strides premium, because I like the flexibility to track a basic habit, but also track at different frequencies such as a habit I want to do twice a month.

Website tools

Sublime. I’m still using Sublime as my code editor.

Siteground. Great hosting for all my/my clients wordpress sites.

Health tools

Apple Health seem to be getting better and better.

Zero. To track fasting.

Seven and C25K. For fitness when I can’t access a gym.

Procrastination

The War of Art is the best thing to read on procrastination.

Tolstoy had thirteen kids and wrote War and Peace.

The War of Art

I also really enjoyed The Art of Procrastination: A Guide to Effective Dawdling, Lollygagging, and Postponing.

All procrastinators put off things they have to do. Structured procrastination is the art of making this negative trait work for you. The key idea is that procrastinating does not mean doing absolutely nothing. Procrastinators seldom do absolutely nothing; they do marginally useful things, such as gardening or sharpening pencils or making a diagram of how they will reorganize their files when they get around to it. Why does the procrastinator do these things? Because they are a way of not doing something more important. If all the procrastinator had left to do was to sharpen some pencils, no force on earth could get him to do it. The procrastinator can be motivated to do difficult, timely, and important tasks, however, as long as these tasks are a way of not doing something more important.

The Art of Procrastination: A Guide to Effective Dawdling, Lollygagging, and Postponing.

Create deadlines

I wouldn’t get much done if it weren’t for creating deadlines. Whether it’s promising the work to someone else, or scheduling a presentation, I generally need to find some way to time box the work to create enough urgency for me to finish it.

Mindfulness for productivity

I think a lot about how to be more present, and it might come as a surprise that I attribute a good task management system to helping me be more mindful.

David Allen says

The mind is for having ideas, not for holding ideas.

Having a trusted system where I record tasks frees up psychological ram -so I can be more present. I wrote about good task management for mindfulness here.

“The big problem is that your mind keeps reminding you of things when you can’t do anything about them. It has no sense of past or future. That means that as soon as you tell yourself that you need to do something, and store it in your RAM, there’s a part of you that thinks you should be doing that something all the time.”

Getting Things Done

To help his clients eliminate distractions, Acheson started off by having them write down everything that had their attention, large and small, professional and personal, distal and proximal, fuzzy and fussy. […] “Dean sat me down and had me empty my head,” Allen says. “I’d done a lot of meditating and considered myself highly organized, so I thought I already had my shit together. But I was blown away by the results. I thought, Look at what this does!

Getting Things Done

I am often reminding myself

I am mindful not mind-full.