3 Productivity & Planning Traps to Avoid
This year, I’m trying to cultivate what I call and “action bias.” What this basically boils down to is spending less time planning and more time doing. So this comic made me giggle.
Talk about feeling productive but missing the point!
— Narrative Magazine (@NarrativeMag) January 21, 2015
With this in mind, here are some of the top productivity and planning traps to avoid:
1) Overcommitting your aspirations for the day. I combat this by having a “Daily Top” list of the must-accomplish things I need to get done. That way I can focus on what matters to accomplish today. I have a longer, rolling to-do list that helps me track long term projects, plans, and goals, but every day, focusing on a few top things that I can complete helps me activate my action bias, and cross things off the list. (I’ve boiled this down over the years from distilling tips and best practices like the Getting Things Done approach from David Allen).
2) Doing your favorite thing first. Who doesn’t struggle with this? It’s so awesome to work on projects and tasks that are fun! But if you only focus on doing the fun tasks, it can hurt your productivity and affect your attitude towards everything else. Instead, focus on the biggest or most important thing first in the day (bonus points if this is fun!), when your brain is fresh and ready to tackle things. You’ll still find time to do the most enjoyable tasks, but you won’t keep rolling everything else off your daily list.
3) Failing to work the plan. What planned hasn’t been here? Not only is it dangerous to spend too much time planning and not enough time doing, it’s also important not to waste the time you do (and should!) invest into planning my failing to execute on your plan. Be flexible, yes, but don’t just lay out your ideas and then leave them there to die.
What productivity and planning mistakes do you struggle with? What’s your best productivity hack? Share your thoughts in a comment!