It’s a new year, so naturally people are regretting all the things they didn’t get done last year, and thinking about all the things they want to get done this year.
A friend of mine messaged me this week and asked me what I think about bullet journaling, and I, ever the helpful friend, said, “I don’t think about bullet journaling.”
Another friend sent me this article making a case for using a paper planner.
I’ve gotten a handful of tweets recently asking me about “productivity systems,” which is funny to me because it assumes I do any thinking at all about productivity. Productivity is pretty low on my list of cares. “Productivity is for machines, not for people,” Jason Fried recently tweeted. “Think about how effective you’re being, not how productive you’re being.”
Some people tell me they have all these great ideas, and they just can’t get it together enough to make them happen. I am envious of these people, because I do not feel full of great ideas. I have plenty of faith in my ability to do something with a great idea, should I have one, but what I do not have is any faith in my ability to actually generate that great idea. I spend almost all of my time trying to have an idea worth doing something about.
Anyways. The best thing I’ve read about productivity is still David Allen’s classic, Getting Things Done. It’s way more Zen than its cover might suggest, and it’s full of little nuggets like, “If it’s on your mind, your mind isn’t clear,” and “Get the ideas out of your head so you can do something with them.” Allen’s advice, as far as a system goes, is: “All you really need is lists and folders.” You need a list of stuff you want to do, and you need a place to put things so you can get to them later. Nothing fancy. I make do with a Google Calendar, Dropbox, a couple of to-do list pages in the back of my notebook, a filing cabinet, and banker’s boxes.
Really, the best way I know to see something through is to get yourself a calendar, put an X in the day’s box after you do your work, and don’t break the chain.
And maybe stop worrying so much about productivity and getting things done. Worry about things worth doing.