Posts made in August, 2008

The Zen of Productivity

Posted by on 25 Aug, 2008 in Improvement | 2 comments

For when Getting Things Done isn’t as easy as it sounds

For 2+ years I’ve been interested in improving my productivity, that is, being more effective at getting the things done that I want to do or need to do. I originally gravitated to the Getting Things Done (GTD) system and while it has some really great ideas I struggled to get it to work for me, and haven’t really managed to “internalise” this kind of thinking and make it second nature. Ultimately I realised that’s because all it is is a system, it seems to assume that you are the sort of person who can easily change the way you operate and establish new habits without any difficulty (For example, if you haven’t been used to keeping lists of actions up to date and checking them regularly, because you are used to doing it all in your head, then any list based system will be difficult to adapt to). And it’s not just GTD, there are literally hundreds of time management techniques and software tools out there – all claiming to be the solution to your problem.

Painted red sun on a blue background

Uploaded to Flickr by Marco Brown

What I have come to realise is that it’s time to take a step back from these tools and systems, and look at the human side of the problem – we are people not machines, and have established habits, ways of thinking and emotional reactions to things, all of which can make it less than straightforward to adopt a new approach to managing our tasks and time. Only once you understand your own habits and how to influence them can you look at changing your system effectively.

So, what do I mean by “the Zen of Productivity”?

Zen is quite an abstract concept from Eastern philosophy; It’s often used to refer to a state of mind where everything is harmonious, the mind is at peace and everything happens effortlessly. In the context of productivity what this means is being in a state of mind where you don’t need to think about your projects and actions, you aren’t worrying about things you should do, or haven’t done, and you are effortlessly achieving the things you want to achieve and need to achieve – a kind of productivity Nirvana.

In fact, one of the main ideas in Getting Things Done is getting everything out of your busy mind so that you can focus on here and now, which is in line with this idea. So I spent some time digging into the less tangible aspects of productivity – not the mechanics of how to organise your life with lists, reviews, actions & projects, but rather the practical side of how you can change your life to become happier and more productive without it becoming a drain. In this blog post I’ll share some of the positive ideas & thoughts I’ve found, so that if you are interested you can use this to help you work towards your own Zen-like state of mind.

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Stumbleupon Toolbar with Export Function

Posted by on 13 Aug, 2008 in My Stream | 0 comments

This sounds handy – I can export my stumbleupon bookmarks then import them to delicious – previously couldn’t easily access my own stumbled sites

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Posted by on 13 Aug, 2008 in My Stream | 0 comments

it’s surprising how few people know about firefox keywords, considering how useful they are!

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Wesabe: Groups

Posted by on 13 Aug, 2008 in My Stream | 0 comments

another “open banking” app – with an API to access all your bank accounts. And tagging. And a community aspect. Very cool. Now we just need something like this in the UK :-)

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Net Neutrality

Posted by on 12 Aug, 2008 in My Stream | 0 comments

Protect the Internet

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