I have something of a thing for playing with productivity tools. If anyone I follow on a social network mentions a new task app or productivity method, I’m pretty quick to follow links. Now, admittedly, it isn’t a bad idea in and of itself to constantly review one’s workflow with an eye to improving shortcomings. But, unless you’re David Allen or Merlin Mann, studying productivity isn’t very productive.
From the early days
Today, I can wax eloquent on the pros and cons of GTD vs. Covey, digital tools vs. pen and paper, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.* And I am productive, but certainly not because I experimented with all those toys tools. I suppose I’m productive in spite of all the experimentation.
Just Do It
I teach classes at two different schools and head a department at one of those schools. I’m undergoing a yearlong formal professional evaluation because I’m new to my district and I’m directing music for an upcoming stage production. I have other professional engagements. I can’t remember a time in my adult life when I’ve been busier. And I haven’t even mentioned yet the more important aspects of life: family and friends.
With or without tools, being productive requires us to accomplish something. Complete a task, fulfill an obligation, meet a deadline. Productivity requires the proper use of proper tools, not merely playing with tools. And the tough part about that is, it’s up to us. The tools won’t do the work; we have to do the work.