Are you ready to start your weekend? Are you taking a long weekend with Gudi Padwa or Bihu or whatever it is you celebrate? (We are, though the holiday is a coincidence — we had planned for a three-day weekend weeks ago, and had been drooling when we thought of it.)
Anyway. While you’re relaxing over the weekend, or as you get back to work on Monday, read these articles on productivity and procrastination, so that you can have a super-charged week. (Or year, if you remember the advice long enough.)
Etienne Garbugli puts together time management tips in this presentation. I especially love these:
Work is the best way to get working. Start with short tasks to get the ball rolling.
Switching between clients/projects is unproductive.
Always know the one thing you really need to get done during the day.
Scott Young advises having separate daily and weekly to-do lists, which is an excellent idea I’m going to start following right away. He also says you work less than you think, and the first step is to log your time and find out how productive you actually are.
And while you’re making those to-do lists, you should have three of them: Ready, Doing, Done. (That’s kind of how our product development tasks are structured, only we have a few more lists.) I love this:
We have a horrible tendency not only as people but as organizations to take on way more work than we can handle, and then to manage that work by volume–and by that I mean by whoever is yelling loudest at the time.
The reason it pays to put off even [important] errands is that real work needs two things errands don’t: big chunks of time, and the right mood. If you get inspired by some project, it can be a net win to blow off everything you were supposed to do for the next few days to work on it. Yes, those errands may cost you more time when you finally get around to them. But if you get a lot done during those few days, you will be net more productive.
Now that’s making me feel better about all the accounting and documentation I haven’t done, and that pair of new glasses I’ve been planning to get for a year now.
He also claims “it may be better to be overworked than interrupted.” I agree: it’s much easier to get stuff done when I’m working in the mood and without interruptions, and then I don’t mind working longer.
Any advice about procrastination that concentrates on crossing things off your to-do list is not only incomplete, but positively misleading, if it doesn’t consider the possibility that the to-do list is itself a form of type-B procrastination. In fact, possibility is too weak a word. Nearly everyone’s is. Unless you’re working on the biggest things you could be working on, you’re type-B procrastinating, no matter how much you’re getting done.
The question to ask yourself, Graham says, is:
What’s the best thing you could be working on, and why aren’t you?
I’ll just leave you to think on that.