Last month I had a good email conversation with Darren Neimke of Regex Blog fame concerning, among many other topics, personal productivity and the factors that contribute to it. Among the memorable tips and suggestions that came up in our correspondence:
- avoid time sinks --- beware excessive television, newspaper-reading, web-surfing, computer-reconfiguration, font-tweaking, etc. (and see TechnoTime)
- set the bar low --- don't attempt a huge sudden change in your work habits (PleasantSurprises)
- focus --- choose topics that are of personal interest to you which that have plenty of "headroom" and open-endedness; don't scatter your energies across too many things at once (TripleThink)
- be cheerful --- see the OptimistCreed, GoodDay, ...
- recognize luck --- when something great comes your way via a fortuitous coincidence, don't let it slip away --- write it down (and see Paul Ammann's comments re luck in UltraMan)
- cross-train --- make maximal use of your investments in time; take results of work in one domain and use them in others; seek principles and ideas which are applicable in diverse areas
- buffer --- take advantage of high-creativity times to build up reservoirs of ideas and partially-finished projects; take advantage of low-creativity times to work on finishing those fragments (MarginAlia)
- play the hand you've been dealt --- don't try to be what you're not, but do accept the challenge to be all that you can be (MyOb)
- persevere --- you will be amazed at your cumulative progress ("After twenty years, even coffee grounds pile up." --- Thomas Boswell, HeartOfTheOrder; and see TooSlowAndTooFast, HeadlightsAndDecisions, ...)
Above all, don't obsess --- and in particular don't get all wound up about short-term visible "productivity" to the detriment of long-term really important things, such as health, family, wisdom, ...
(The early 20th Century books mentioned in ReadingsOnThinkingAndLiving remain extraordinarily relevant, esp. Arnold Bennett's How to Live on 24 Hours a Day and Mental Efficiency, etc. --- see BennettOnLife, BennettOnStoicism, PersonalEnergy, ZhurnalAnniversary2, ... --- as well as Seneca in LifeTimeManagement1 and LifeTimeManagement2, ... )
TopicWriting - TopicLife - TopicThinking - Datetag20040120
(correlates: ReadingsOnThinkingAndLiving, ReallyGreat, OneThirdEach, ...)