Lyceum — On personal productivity

On personal productivity

I've been experimenting with various methods of personal organization for a while. I remember starting out with Bullet Journaling, bought a nice dotted notebook, did it for 2-3 months, and then stopped. Sometime later I tried OBTF method but after a month realized that I just treated it like a data dump, registering data for the sake of archiving it but not doing anything with it. Some time passed and came across the GTD method. Tried to make it work in both analog and digital formats but it never stuck.

It's become a common pattern, some random day "Personal Organization" (or really a random tangantial thought) will surface. I'll research about different methods/systems (and believe me there are a lot) to approach it, figure out a habit for it, do it for some time and then it fades like mist from my life and mind, only to resurface at a later point of time compeleting this meaningless cycle, the only product of which is wasted time, energy and effort.

The image below is a perfect analogy, but about personal websites/blogs.

Credits: Blogging vs. blog setups

At the end of the day, the best system/method, is the one that you'll actually use/do. I don't think that's an aphorism, maybe an axiom, but it's a powerful idea for folks lost in their need to have everything be perfect before they get started like me.

Say as an example, I've been learning to play the guitar recently. I can learn it in the comfort of my own home, at my own pace and time while having access to infinite resources to learn from because the internet exists, which I'm very grateful for. The caveat though is, I'm a beginner, "I don't know, what I don't know". Since I don't have a guided authority to place trust into, for well, guidance, I have to trust myself, a beginner, to make the right decisions about what resources to use and learn from. This "work" done before you can even start the activity usually involves diving through blog posts, videos, articles, forums to try and ascertain, what is the right/best way to do things by calculating intuitively the general perception of "experts" on these resources.

I'm not going to lie, when you're doing the research, it feels like you're making progress. Constantly jumping through different resources, reading new material, following forum conversations, all activities that lead to more dopamine secreted in the brain, good feeling. But this "work" that's done to chart a path for a would-be habit, may end up being empty activity without any impact. Taking my example again, while I know about various methods of personal organization, guess what I'm not organized! The work done to figure out the "right" way to do things had no impact, just consumed time and energy.

Even as I write this, I'm tempted to spend the day and look through all those methods of personal organization, probably because my brain knows that it's the fastest route to more dopamine, and it's a hard feeling to resist. It's exactly for this reason, that I've tried to use writing as a medium for rational though to think through the problem and arrive at a conclusion which might feel self-evident to some, but allows me to subvert my emotions to do not what feels right, but what I think is right, that being, just make a simple to-do list. Thanks for coming to my ted talk.

TL;DR I've concluded that I like the act of researching new ways of being productive, instead of actually being productive.

Credits: icyphox