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

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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.

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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.

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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!

Writing and productivity links

[Productivity] serves the same psychological role that busyness has always served: to keep us sufficiently distracted that we don’t have to ask ourselves potentially terrifying questions about how we are spending our days.  – Oliver Burkeman

Why time management is ruining our lives

Zen To Done (ZTD): The Simple Productivity System

Tim Harford — Article — Three great books about getting the important things done

Ritholtz: Why I Write – The Big Picture

The Benefits of Writing

Why I Love Writing About the Markets

Productivity is overrated

Productivity is important for being successful. But its role in this endeavor is often blown out of proportion. Some of the most accomplished people I know are incredibly disorganized. They work at the last minute. They stay up all night. They constantly scramble to find what they’re looking for. But they still get it done. Other accomplished people are incredibly organized. What gives? The truths underlying this reality:
Being productive does not make you accomplished. It does, however, make being accomplished less stressful.

And:

The key to really getting ahead has nothing to do with productivity. From my experience with successful young people (and, as I writer, I have quite a bit of exposure to this crowd) what you need, put simply, is a drive to keep working, with a laser-like intensity, on something even after you’ve lost immediate interest. Tenacity. A grating thirst to get it done. These are the precursors of accomplishment.

Dangerous Ideas: Productivity is Overrated – Study Hacks – Cal Newport

I think these observations are very true. I’ve been following the How I work series on Lifehacker and one of my own observations is that it’s rare for any one to use any elaborated productivity systems. The most popular to-do systems are simple pen and paper, a document on a computer or a default reminders/notes app.

In efffect a productivity system might help you a bit but it’s not critical to delivering results and achieving success.

Break from the average

If you want to get an abnormal amount of work done in a day, cut out the distractions you allow.

If you want to break from the average, you have to be willing to do the things others aren’t willing to do. You have to be willing to say no to distractions. You have to be willing to do the hard work of analyzing your ideas. You have to be willing to adopt a growth mindset.

How to stop being normal and break from average

Do less and achieve more should be the daily mantra. It’s impossible to keep up with everything. Better to stick with selected few and constantly refine it.

Closed ended list of projects, daily actions, daily routines, weekly goals. are great tactical ways of putting the do less achieve more into practice.

Random by nature?

Biological systems are generally hacks that evolved to be good enough for a certain environment. They are far from pretty top-down designed systems. And to accommodate an ever-changing environment they are rarely the most optimal system on a mico-level, preferring to optimize for survival over any one particular attribute.

The Need for Biological Thinking to Solve Complex Problems

Improvised solutions are typically those that last longest…

Visualising tasks

board isn’t any sort of technological or design breakthrough in visual tools — it’s not going to win a place in the Museum of Modern Art — but consider how elegantly it communicates the two critical pieces of information that anyone needs to know: when the work is supposed to be done, and whether or not it’s complete.

How Visual Systems Make It Easier to Track Knowledge Work

This is quite compelling concept and one that I’ll be actively looking to implement as I think greatly simplifies tasks management and provides quick overview of where things are at.

What to do with a paper notebook

In an earlier post I shared couple links which outline why you need a paper notebook. Now that hopefully you have one I’ve listed few more posts which will give you an idea what to do it and how to use it.

  1. Keep paper notebook
  2. My first Baron Fig
  3. An Illustrated Guide to Using the Sh*t Out of Your Notebook
  4. How to Use a Simple Pocket Notebook to Change Your Life
  5. My GTD “Get Things Done” Moleskine Setup

Obviously these reflect other people ideas and circumstances to make the paper notebook become part of your every day carry you need to find your own uses.

Experiment, test and refine.

Why you need a paper notebook

A lot of people I admire and follow and learn from use some sort of notebook of regular basis.

These posts came across my radar recently I thought it would be worth sharing them as they nicely show why it’s worth having one.:

  1. Why Should you always carry a notebook

  2. Why I keep a paper notebook and you should to

  3. The Manly Tradition of the Pocket Notebook

I’ve been carrying a number of notebooks for last few years and experimented with different formats. I found that pocket size works best when it’s relatively thin say 40-60 pages tops and used for quick capture of ideas on the go. The larger size (13 x 21 cm / 5 x 8.25 in) works better for notebooks with more than 100 pages and suits to planning and writing.

These are my observations you best bet is to try and see what works for you.