Tuesday, May 11, 2010

All you need to know in order to be productive

. . . is this 11-word formula:

One thing at a time. Most important thing first. Start now.
So says Skelliewag (via Penelope Trunk, who got it from Lifehacker, which got it from Scott Rosenberg).

Unfortunately, quoting productivity tips is not the most important thing for me to be doing.

CORRECTION: This is actually bad advice! My mom (Ann Althouse) explains in the comments section:
This tip is wrong if the important thing is huge. We all do lots of little things that aren't very important. We keep our spirits up with variety and fun. I object to this tip! It's too nose-to-the-grindstone. It works for some people, maybe, but you need to know whether you are one of those people. I think the world's a better place because most of us are not.

4 comments:

Ann Althouse said...

This tip is wrong if the important thing is huge. We all do lots of little things that aren't very important. We keep our spirits up with variety and fun. I object to this tip! It's too nose-to-the-grindstone. It works for some people, maybe, but you need to know whether you are one of those people. I think the world's a better place because most of us are not.

wreave said...

"if the important thing is huge," then break it into smaller pieces.

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

This comment seems to say, "If something's really big, then don't do anything." Don't do is wrong. Don't do isn't an option. Do something. Do something small. Do something big. Do the first thing. Do the next thing. DO SOMETHING.

Ann Althouse said...

""if the important thing is huge," then break it into smaller pieces."

But you still have to put it first. Coordinate you insight with the tip that I've criticized. Do you break your big projects into tiny enough pieces until you have pieces are no longer the most important thing so that you can get something else done?

"This comment seems to say, "If something's really big, then don't do anything.""

But I didn't say that. I said the tip is wrong. The tip is "One thing at a time. Most important thing first. Start now." If you want to explain why I'm wrong, explain why the tip is right.

lynne whiteside said...

i love the quote and it's an important one to remember when you're trying to multi-task and nothing ever gets completed, so frustrating, so 'one thing at a time, etc.' thanks penelope.