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Blake on Productivity

My old friend Blake Boles writes a bunch and has a high level of self-awareness.

He wrote this great post a number of months ago about his work-flow techniques.

This post covers a lot, (website denial tech, break time, avoiding obsession) but what made the biggest impression on me was this:

. . . My least productive days happen when I wake up, open the laptop, check my e-mail, and then dive into doing whatever seems important.

The truth is: I need a goal. I have plenty of big goals; those aren’t what I’m talking about. I need a small, manageable, specific goal that can reasonably be accomplished tomorrow morning in 3-4 hours of productive work.

The best time for me to create this goal? The day before, when I’m wrapping up my work. That’s when I’m most clear about what needs to get done and roughly how long it will take. I put it on my digital sticky note (more on those in a moment) and leave it there for my future self to discover in the  morning. If I complete that one goal, then I consider my day  a basic success.

This technique of setting intentions the day before is intriguing and I’ve been meaning to try it (regularly for at least a week) for months.  Now these aren’t the type of intentions I would necessarily make at Endor or at another ALC, but more the intentions I’d set for myself on a home-office day where I’ve got mountains of administrative work to do.  Or rather, the day before such a day.

This is kind of like the Set The Week meeting.  It’s easier to set “hard” intentions for later in the week when you’re not being faced with a daunting task today.  This differs though because it’s not just setting intentions in advance, it’s setting intentions when finishing up the day before.  When you do that, you’ve got this extra clarity.

This is something I want to explore for myself, and maybe play with developing it as an ALC tool.

So, I intend to give this a try.  And also check in with Blake about whether or not he still does this.  And then report back on both.

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