Components of personal productivity

Plan: Identify what matters. I do this daily, weekly, monthly, and annually.
Act: Focus on and do what matters.
Rest: Sleeping, relaxing, relationships, entertainment.
Think: Let my brain wonder, noodle, etc.
Review: Check in with where I’m at and what I’ve been doing. I do this daily, weekly, monthly, annually.
Move: Get out of my head and into my body. (Moving and exercising is about more than physical health, it is also a huge booster for thinking and creativity.)

A Look at My Hybrid Productivity Method — Using Both Analog and Digital for Task Management – The Sweet Setup

Need more downtime

Downtime is an opportunity for the brain to make sense of what it has recently learned, to surface fundamental unresolved problems. It allows ideas and new projects the space to grow and make better connection.

Stop, Take a Break, And Just Think (The Life-Changing Habit of Thinking)

If you can’t find time for downtime take a look at The Disciplined Pursuit of Less and ask “What is essential?” and eliminate the rest.

Playing with the future

The future never shows up—have you noticed?—it’s always today! But playing with it as a working blueprint can be a remarkably useful tool to see things (and how to do and have them) that you never saw before, right now. The most innovative companies are the ones with the biggest goals.

Getting Things Done®

Anything can expire

Anything that evolves – markets, technology, careers, etc – has to be approached with the mindset that once-great ideas can expire, and when they expire you’re better off walking away rather than attempting to repair them.

Full Reset

Specialist vs generalist vs self-sufficiency

Two quotes I’ve been pondering for a last while:

I think the correct path for everybody else is to specialize and get very good at something that society rewards, and then to get very efficient at doing it. But even if you do that, I think you should spend 10 to 20% of your time [on] trying to know all the big ideas in all the other disciplines. Otherwise … you’re like a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest. It’s not going to work very well. You have to know the big ideas in all the disciplines to be safe if you have a life lived outside a cave. But no, I think you don’t want to neglect your business as a dentist to think great thoughts about Proust.

The Generalized Specialist: How Shakespeare, Da Vinci, and Kepler Excelled

What advice would you give to a smart, driven college student about to enter the “real world”?

“Don’t be intimated by anything. In the vast majority of the professions and vocations, the people who succeed are not any cleverer than you.  The adult world is not full of gods, just people who have acquired skills and habits that work for them.  And specialize – the great human achievement is to specialize as a producer of goods or services so that you can diversify as a consumer.  Self-sufficiency is another word for poverty.

Matt Ridley – Tribe of Mentors

GTD process commit to it or abandon it.

Stop complaining about your stress and your overwhelm! Look outside—the universe is not stress-out or confused. It’s fine. It’s only the way we are engaged with it that creates our negative reactions. GTD is the process we’ve uncovered that creates appropriate engagement. What you’re dealing with at hand may not be easy or fun, but being in the driver’s seat about it moves that experience to a much more mature and effective level. But If you’re not willing to make this process really work, 100%, don’t tire yourself with the pretenses of half-baked solutions. They just add insult to injury, and quite frankly, may not be worth the energy to continue.

Getting Things Done® Get a Grip on Your Process, or Give It Up

Enough information

As countless studies have shown, you only need a very small amount of information to make an intelligent risk/reward investment decision. So the real paradox is that more information leads to overconfidence, which ironically means more information leads to worse decision-making.

It’s really quite fascinating because what reading lots of news does is makes you more comfortable in your decision-making, but it doesn’t lead to better decision-making. It’s an emotional salve.

Ritholtz: Why I Write – The Big Picture

The trick is to know when you found that sweet spot of enough information.

 

Write to figure it out

Daniel Boorstein once said ‘I write to figure out what I think’. It’s a surprisingly accurate quote – until you sit down and put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) you have nothing. Not until you have a coherent work with a beginning, middle and end, AND a justifiable premise, AND the ability to defend it to other people’s attacks, you don’t really know what you think. Writing it out is a very, very different process than just having a half formed idea kicking around inside your head.

Ritholtz: Why I Write – The Big Picture

Accomplish more

Few quotes I picked up from

The Art of the Finish: How to Go From Busy to Accomplished

In fact, I would go so far as to say that the act of becoming accomplished is almost entirely unrelated to being productive

#

If you are productive without harboring this intense desire for completion, you will end up just being busy. [..] You work all day off of your to-do list. Everything is organized. Everything is scheduled. Yet, still, months pass with no important projects getting accomplished.

#

With traditional GTD-style methodology, during each day, you look at your current context and at your next action lists and choose what to do next. It’s easy, in this case, to fall into a infinite task loop where you are consistently accomplishing little actions from your next action lists but making little progress toward completing the big projects.

#

Each morning, look at your project page and ask: “What’s the most progress I can make toward completing this list today?” Your biggest goal should be to complete projects. If you see a way to do it (even if it requires a big push, perhaps working late) go for it. If you can’t finish one, think of the single thing you could do that would get you closest to this goal over the next few days. Harbor an obsession for killing this list!