Productivity in the Workplace (and at home): Doing the work
I was recently interviewed by the Juice on ways that I stay productive at work. I thought that I would write a short series on my particular methods of productivity. This is more of a description of how my system works, there will be very little technology mentioned. If there is interest, I could write a followup for the specific techniques that I use, however, I suspect that such information would be less useful to others than the general overview that follows in this series.
[flickr]photo:173246876(small)[/flickr]And people called the emergency work “do it” and the non-emergency work “defer it”. And priorities were the first system.One of the huge things that came out of GTD for me, was the idea that, if something needed to be done and took less than two minutes, just do it right away. This is the so called “two minute rule”. The power behind the idea is that it keeps the little piddly stuff from building up and distracting you with a huge pile of stress from un-done work.This works well, and is hugely important in reducing turnaround time. However, I have found that the negative here is that it can get you so focused on “cranking widgets” that you never get to the long-term work. See, the idea is balance. In the GTD system, you are to collect incoming work and then prioritize as you go, balancing what needs to be done against it’s urgency, your available resources, and your energy levels. David Allen uses a system of “contexts“, where you store your task items on different lists depending on the resources needed to-do the task. This makes perfect sense as you might have to-do certain things in different places.
Most of what I do is online.
Thus, contexts don’t work for me. I wound up with a handful of tasks that I needed to-do at home (vacuum, wash the cats, cook, etc), and everything else was in a “do anywhere” context. I wound up prioritizing by energy level. If I had the energy to-do a task, I’d do that one. The flaw here is that I tended to-do the easy tasks first, which left with less energy with which to tackle the more important and more complex tasks. I needed to get priorities back into the system.
- Do you know where your employees work?
- Do they work differently in different places?
- Do they work differently at different times?