Friday, October 1, 2010

Get Things Done

Recently I felt a huge decrease in my productivity. I noticed I'm trying to work on too many things at once, and not achieving anything. Moreover, I had to deal with a lot of pressure at work, while filling in the job of 2-3 people at once, while trying to cope with helping younger teammates to solve their own problems.

Actually, being distracted by teammates' questions can be a huge set back for productivity, as it breaks concentration when they approach you, and after 15 minutes, when I'm finally back in the zone, they break it again.

So I published this short survey on Buzz (which is a great tool for surveys) asking what other people do in order to stay concentrated and get things done.

The obvious answers were already known and implemented by me: put the headphones on, get away from everybody, etc.

Other answers were to manage a TODO list, and close any application that might distract you (GMail, RSS reader, IM, etc.). Even though I had those things in my mind for a while, I decided it's time to give it a go.
Boy was I surprised. My productivity peaked back to the top.

Now I allow myself to chat with people and "clear" my RSS list only after completing tasks. Every new task I get, and not only work related, is written down instead of being "managed" in my head. The reduction of tasks "managed" in my head really helps, and whenever I finish doing something, I revert to the list and mark something as DONE. The feeling is great, and there's a bonus: chatting or reading interesting blogs.

The TODO list is managed in a very simple manner: a Google Doc. And when I'm not near a computer: via my Nokia's task list, which is later sync'd to the Google Doc.
Another bonus: having everything managed, helps dealing with unpredictable tasks (aka BALTAM in Hebrew), since being distracted wastes less time when trying to get back on track. The proof for the system being successful is that ever since I started using is, I have more time to blog :)

1 comment:

  1. I have the same kind of pressure (too many different tasks) at work lately too. Writing down every single task\assignment IS important. I found out that the second I have more than one miscellaneous task I just forget them all if I don't manage them.