I’m slowly feeling a bit more productive day to day.
I’ve gone back to the J.O.T. method from “The More You Do The Better You Feel: How to Overcome Procrastination and Live a Happier Life” by David Parker.
It’s dead simple: write the next thing you plan to do, then do it.
It feels a little like taking that to-do list advice of writing some easy things or some things you’ve already completed to get the momentum going.
I’ve gotten to where I’m writing things like “go grab coffee”. And it’s not a Starbucks run, it’s that 1 minute trip to the kitchen to pour iced coffee from the fridge into a glass.
Then I’ll come back and write “open Docs” and then open Docs and then the next thing on my J.O.T. list is “write for 10 minutes”.
It’s really that granular. I understand how it sounds as I’m describing it. But it feels like it’s working.
By the end of a few hours doing this, there’s some satisfaction in seeing that I, in fact, did… something.
Some guesses to why it works:
- You’re checking in frequently so you’re building awareness of where your time is going and you can steer back on course if you’re going on course
- You’re getting tiny tiny bursts of motivation because it’s satisfying to cross things out
- You can write really really easy things down so you can get a few layups (see the ball go through the hoop and all that) between tackling bigger things
It’s harder to have an unproductive day if you’re able to make the effort of writing everything you’re doing down.
I’ve been doing this on my iPad with Apple Notes:
It definitely reduces clutter and having stale Post-Its all over my desk and then finding them on the floor here and there or in my pocket.
I set the iPad display sleep timer to 15 minutes, the largest increment before infinite. I’ve tried infinite before and would usually just forget I had it on without having it plugged in at some point and would come back to a dead iPad on most days.
15 minutes is good because I’ll usually write things down that are shorter than 15 minutes.
Apple Notes is just the most convenient app to write with on an iPad and sync is rock solid. (It’s always had great feeling pen/pencil tools.) It also feels like using a legal pad vs. being precious with GoodNotes/Procreate/Notability/etc. where it feels like using a precious precious Moleskine page or something like that.
The GoodNotes/Notability notebook paradigm is a bit heavy for this J.O.T. use case. Procreate has flat files but I’ll tinker way too much with pens and canvas size.
For now, Apple Notes just works.
At some point I’ll graduate back to a more sophisticated task management system.
For now, J.O.T. just works.