Apr 29 2007

The Ultimate Guide to Productivity

Published by at 12:04 am under blogging,Ultimate Guide to Productivity

My friend Alister Cameron has written a very poignant post entitled “If you don’t have Passion and Purpose, Greater Productivity won’t help you!” It’s not a quick, throw away read by any stretch of the imagination and Alister delivers a meaningful message. I daresay there may be an “aha” moment for many readers – there was for me. He begins:

If what you do with the best hours of your day is not also the thing you’re passionate about, stop right now!

Stop right now and confront the cold hard facts for what they are: no amount of effectiveness training, time management skills, productivity tips and tricks or goal setting know-how will replace the critical missing ingredient of your life: passion.

It’s funny how someone else’s words, written not for you specifically, can hit the nail on the head. I’m not talking specifically about what I quoted, but further on in the post. And I’m not talking general horoscope type predictions here, but then again…

Capricorn – April 28, 2007

Your ideas clearly and eloquently express the way you feel, particularly where the more important inner issues lie. You may articulate the things that were only inspirations of the heart, but take care you do not generalize them too much for others, as the only reality you know right now is your own.

Translated: I should take care with this post.

So where to begin?

Ben started it. A meme entitled “The Ultimate Guide to Productivity Group Writing Project“. Ben’s asking for our best productivity tips and, bless his heart, Alister tagged me – perhaps erroneously thinking I might have some peals of wisdom.

Let me say, the way I feel at the moment asking me for a productivity tip is about as useful as asking Britney Spears for tips on sobriety.

My time management skills suck.
I am constantly multitasking.
I suffer from task avoidance (aka procrastination).
I employ management by crisis and
I daresay I suck at prioritisation too – both personally and professionally.

There’s probably a few reasons for this.

  1. Passion (or lack thereof – as per Alister’s post) for tasks that I should do
  2. A selective (I hesitate to say “short”) attention span – exacerbated by the internet world we live in (who created all these damn tabs and windows and RSS feeds)
  3. Perfectionism (you mightn’t see it, but I struggle with it 😉 )

What did I take away from Alister’s post? From his journey to self-actualisation, which Alister doesn’t mention but it’s a journey he’s on, a few things are apparent to me.

  1. I have to clean up the “mess” in my (working) life. This means biting the bullet and doing the things that HAVE to be done. I cannot have “serenity” until I do that
  2. I have to enforce a “sabbath” – not necessarily in the strict biblical sense, but “time out” for Important Things (i.e. family and friends)
  3. I need “solitude”. Time in the shower just doesn’t cut it.

It’s a wonderful notion that we can spend the “best hours of our day” doing what we are passionate about. Perhaps we have the power to change that, but one step at a time – gotta clear the slate first.

At the risk of “copping out” – who am I going to tag? Anybody who thinks they have a valuable productivity tip to contribute.

Oh, I nearly forgot, when am I most productive? When the internet goes down. I get a heap done then 😉

24 responses so far

24 Responses to “The Ultimate Guide to Productivity”

  1. Roryon 29 Apr 2007 at 8:20 am

    I don’t know why you add the cheeky wink at the end, Meg – that is an absolute truth you conclude with.

    Most of the productivity ideas involve finding ways of getting away from the internet. I wonder why…

  2. Megon 29 Apr 2007 at 8:33 am

    Hi Rory

    You’re right – it IS a truth! Why the wink? I suppose it’s easier said than done (especially when you have an online business), and as far as a productivity tip goes – it’s a pretty lousy one!

    Thanks for stopping by :)

  3. […] telling me to check out news.yc – it isn’t helping me concentrate!UPDATE (29/4/2007): Meg’s got a nice post on her blog talking about following your passions, plus setting aside time to chill out and reflect […]

  4. Ben Yoskovitzon 30 Apr 2007 at 4:11 am

    I concur with Rory, that’s a great ending. Of course for me, I’d probably scream and shout at the computer for an hour while the Internet was down, which isn’t terribly productive!

  5. Megon 30 Apr 2007 at 8:42 am

    Hi Ben

    Not to forget spending 45 minutes in queue to the ISP….

    Thanks for dropping in

  6. Alister Cameron // Blogologiston 30 Apr 2007 at 10:24 am

    Great reflections Meg.

    And you’re right… “self-actualisation” probably well sums up the place I’m at. Longing for a sense of convergence between my dreams and my 9-5.

    Agree with all the comments above too. You make an important point.


  7. Anthonyon 30 Apr 2007 at 10:26 am

    The lack of Internet contributing to increased productivity is so true.

    I’ve got an old iBook that’s on its last legs which can only get net access via dial-up. I can’t stomach that for web surfing anymore but I use the little old laptop just clear emails and for writing. The lack of web based distractions while using it is beyond wonderful.

  8. Philon 30 Apr 2007 at 10:44 am

    What I used to think of as procrastination, I now choose to think of as a personal lean-agile approach to life. So Meg you’re not procrastinating, you’re just waiting for the “last responsible moment”. 😉

  9. Kathie Thomas, VAon 30 Apr 2007 at 1:12 pm

    I start to concentrate on writing when the internet is down, as opposed to spending a lot of time surfing and reading – but I need both! As long as the computer is still working…. Great read Meg.

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  11. Megon 30 Apr 2007 at 8:12 pm

    Hi Alister – have to thank you again for that terrific post. I really actioned it today. Also, I enjoyed your pithy post http://www.alistercameron.com/2007/04/27/blogging-in-the-eye-of-the-storm/

  12. Megon 30 Apr 2007 at 8:16 pm

    Hi Anthony

    I “hear you”.

    I see you’re indexing a lot of new Australian blogs at http://blogs.com.au which is really great!

  13. Megon 30 Apr 2007 at 8:17 pm

    Hi Phil

    I like your approach 😉 Reminds me of school!

  14. Megon 30 Apr 2007 at 8:24 pm

    Hi Kathie

    You make a very valid point. “As long as the computer is still working…”.

    Crikey, imagine where we’d be without the pc!

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  16. Dawud Miracleon 30 Apr 2007 at 11:35 pm

    Boy, I wish I could claim the same that I’m more productive when the internet goes down. Since I work on the web for a living, I need the web up. So I’m probably less productive when the web goes down – even with its big distraction.

  17. Megon 30 Apr 2007 at 11:46 pm

    Hi Dawud

    Yep me too (in that I work on the web for a living – NOT this blog, obviously). So I find life without the internet frustrating, as there are emails to be actioned immediately and obviously you require the internet to both receive the emails, and to action them.

    However there ARE certain tasks that HAVE to be done that really don’t require the internet – like accounts, filing, clearing one’s desk, decluttering the inbox (hmm 2473 emails not filed – probably too many).

    Internet outage is the perfect time :)

  18. Ben Shafferon 03 May 2007 at 12:49 am

    I do all my work online as well and you know what I learnt?

    When the internot goes down, instead of putting my feet up and wait for it to come back up, I take out a manual and read. I can not believe how much I learnt that I didnt know before.

    I highly advise trying it.

  19. Dawud Miracleon 03 May 2007 at 3:25 am

    Yeah, I hear you. I usually leave that for the last 90 minutes of my day on Friday.

    I also file daily, do account once-per-week and never let my inbox get over 100 messages. Then, every 6 months I take 5 consecutive mornings and throw away any email message that’s older than 1 month that I haven’t used.

  20. Megon 03 May 2007 at 9:13 am

    Hi Ben, I’ll remember that one for next time – I just have to find where it put them 😉

    Dawud, that sound like a really efficient system :)

  21. Maximising Productivity. - Blog Rumbleon 03 May 2007 at 2:43 pm

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