I need to start with a confession. This week I have had a massive productivity fail. I had lost control of my projects and was trying to work on all of them together which was leading to achieving nothing.
The first step in the reboot was recognising this was going on. For me I was getting so stressed I asked to meet up with a friend so that I could have a general moan about the state of the world. But when he asked me what I actually wanted to talk about, I was able to connect the dots in my head and say out loud that I was drowning in work and needed to talk it through.
Rather than wait for for this meet-up, I thought I would look for inspiration in the productivity blogs I’ve been reading. I’ve been a productivity geek for a couple of years now, since reading this article in Wired. One of the few posts I have bookmarked since then was this article: The Art of Finish. On its original reading it had been interesting as I’m great at starting projects but lame at finishing them, but it had never stuck except as something to come back to. This time it resonated in a deeper way as the criticism of GTD were now meaningful. The structures it recommended were something I could incorporate into my own work patterns. Most importantly it offered a route forward.
So to cut a long story short I went through my project list, picked out 8 of the most important and time dependent projects and pushed the rest into the holding pen. I came up with hard completion criteria so that I would know when I was finished and I wrote it all down.
Since then not 18 hours ago I have been tempted many times to look at work on projects out of this list and internally been able to say no to myself. I’ve been able to declutter my mind to focus on real steps forward. I feel like things are achievable again.
So today when I actually meet my friend the conversation can be about solving actual problems and not a confused moan about life.