Faux Productivity

Mangoes. Lubao, Pampanga. 2007.

Since the beginning of the year, I’ve had this habit of keeping a list of things I need to do. My little “To-Do List” comes in many incarnations; it used to be short notes written at the back of a gas station receipt, though now it has transformed into an electronic text file that I keep and update in my gmail account. Briefly, tasks were also self–addressed emails so I have no reason not to miss them.

But now there’s problem.

In the past few weeks, I’ve tried a combination of my task listing techniques. Unfortunately, it only leaves me with an inbox full of unread messages and a text file exponentially growing with the list of things I need and want to do. This goes for all personal projects and goals as well as work–related deliverables — I can hardly put the right effort to finish them all. It seems I’m now in the business of making a task list, instead of actually completing tasks.

I’ve taken the suggestion of saying “No” — declining and not doing tasks that aren’t absolutely necessary. Somehow, it works to a certain degree, but still not good enough. The “now mentality” also fails me miserably I think I could qualify for the world’s greatest procrastinator award, if someone actually gets to making one. Tomorrow.

Are there any productivity tips you can share to help?

9 Responses

  1. We all want to do a lot of things, but end up doing things that we really like doing. It’s just a matter of time management and not being in love :p Kidding! I mean, not being distracted so much.

    But seriously, create a routine, finish the productive things first and do only the entertaining activities when you are done with the essential stuff. Identifying your objectives and goals also helps a lot in prioritizing things. :)

  2. I keep a table on paper or one a spreadsheet. 1st Column is the task ranked based on priority. Columns 2 onwards are the dates (day, week or month are all of them). Then I set deadlines for each and I also indicate which tasks are related to the other , ie task 2 cannot begin before task 1 is completed. One look I can see what things I have to do, what are the critical steps, and I set a deadline. Useful also if you have several projects. :)

  3. Ano kaya kinalaman ng manga sa productivity? Hehehe.

    Anyway, I have the same problem as you. I’m trying a lot of things and none seem to work so far, so I can’t help you. Hehehe. It’s a good thing that we’re not allowed to do work stuff outside the office so compartmentalizing work vs. personal to-dos is quite easy.

    I have a huge text file on my home PC containing to-dos for my personal projects. I have my to-blog list on my cellphone. I have my calendar at the office. Kalat-kalat pa rin. Hehehe.

    One thing I’ve realized is that there is never enough time to do all the things you want to do and so some sort of prioritizing is in order. It also helps to not worry about things that you’re not doing and instead focus on the task at hand.

    I’m not sure if I’ve helped or not. :p

  4. @Aileen: Well, I’ve never been known for good time management nor focus; passion and madness, maybe. ;) I’m focused when I’m in love! Hahaha.

    My problem is that I tend to think that all things I do are essential, because I’m passionate about them.

    @Juned: I’ve tried the pocket notebook approach and I’ve got lots of them with nothing on it, or notes I can hardly recognize at all. Hehehe. I’m quite effective with the task listing part, it’s action part I’m miserably failing on.

    @Eugene: Masarap tignan yung mangga eh! Hahaha. Having too much plans and ideas can be a bad thing, sometimes I wish I don’t think as much as I typically do. I guess it’s better to have a huge list and accomplish some of them than have a small monotonous list you always seem to accomplish.

    I’m the type who advocates the “dream big” philosophy to living life. ;)

    @Danny: I’ve been reading on GTD for a few years now though find it’s implementation too hard and complicated. Maybe I just have it wrong?

  5. I feel you, man. Self-mailed notes hardly do the job for me because I end up wandering around the Net while checking my mail. I’ve made a bit of progress using notebooks/planners pero minsan hindi ko maintindihan sarili kong notes.

    World’s Greatest Procrastinator Award? I could give you a good run for your money on that one! That is, if I make it to the contest deadline if ever there is one. Haha…

  6. Trebs, destiny na natin maging late sa lahat ng bagay… Hehehe.

    karl, mahirap yang low–info diet, imposible yan sa akin!

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