12 Step Programme to Turn Your Productivity Addiction in to Actually Getting Things Done

28 10 2008

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Image by Chim Chim on Flickr via Creative Commons

Image by Chim Chim on Flickr via Creative Commons

The more I read about productivity, the less productive I become.

It seems that no matter how much I try to simplify my productivity system, I am constantly revisiting it. I do know that in the grand scheme of things it is not going to help me, but I enjoy it. I am a productivity hobbyist. And it’s killing my productivity.

Here are just some of the signs that you might be a productivity addict

  1. You spend copious amounts of time reading blogs about GTD implementations.
  2. You search for Microsoft Outlook GTD hacks.
  3. You get excited when someone mentions GTD in a blog post title.
  4. You own a moleskine notebook (and probably several for different lists).
  5. You spent money on a posh inbox.
  6. You miss your weekly review because you are still processing your inbox in to a million sub-folders.
  7. You think about your GTD implementation on a daily basis.

I know these signs, because I have done all of the above and more. Now I am trying to just take action. If you want to achieve you goals, you need to stop thinking and start doing.

What it means to be a Productivity Addict

Being a productivity addict means that you know when you are wasting time therefore you worry about it more. Before you discovered the productivity sub-culture you used to waste less time surfing the internet, and when you did you didn’t worry about it. Now you worry about it. You try and work out more ways to be more productive to overcome this and the cycle continues. The time to stop is now.

12 Steps to Overcome Productivity Addiction

  1. Admit you have a problem (leave a comment to share this).
  2. Do not talk about productivity (just be productive).
  3. Realised that there is only so much that you can tweak your system before you just go back to using pen and paper anyway.
  4. Next time you hear about a new productivity programme, DO NOT sign up to the beta.
  5. Admit the nature of your wrong doing (tell us about your addiction in the comments).
  6. Make a list of 3 things you must do today. Do not do anything else until you have done these.
  7. DO NOT talk about productivity club.
  8. Do absolutely nothing related to productivity at least one day per week, just go with the flow.
  9. Those things you keep moving from one context, list or file to another. Just do them now, or eliminate them. Stop organising them, and start doing them.
  10. Realise that being productive means doing the things that you need to do in a timely fashion. It does not mean doing more things.
  11. Consume only the information you need to do the single task you are concentrating on now. No more.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, try to carry this message to productivity addicts and to practice these principles in all your affairs (modified from AA step 12)

Are you a Productivity Addict?


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Thanks for reading.

I hope you enjoyed my post. I’d love to hear your comments below or get a Digg or Stumble!

Also be sure to check out my other blog Lists for Life.




9 responses

28 10 2008
Maria | Never the Same River Twice

Great stuff. I think most of us who have read GTD have fallen victim to browsing the Levenger website for the *best* notecards, or looking at other people’s Hipster PDA on Flickr.

Fun as that all is, it doesn’t actually finish your work for you!!

28 10 2008

My name is Mark, and I am a productivity additct.

Great post! Made me laugh from self-recognition. But there are some real gems tossed in there too, esp. #6 and #10.

29 10 2008

@Maria – Yep, Flickr groups. Been there! Thanks for stopping by.

@Mark – Thanks for sharing (round of applause from group). Great response!

Thanks for kind comments. Would be great to get this post out there as a viral productivity theme.

29 10 2008
John Kendrick

I used and taught Covey and Daytimer for many years before reading David Allen’s GTD book and switching to GTD. Its made a significant impact for the good on my business and personal productivity. And I have found that with GTD I spend more time doing and less time planning.

And I found an application that allows me to view my entire GTD at work on my Win machine, at home on my Macs and even on my cell phone. And another app lets me call in tasks to my GTD without any writing or typing, great for those thoughts that hit me while driving.

I’ve written about my experiences with GTD at http://johnkendrick.wordpress.com/how-to-gtd/ John

31 10 2008

I love this post. There is definitely a danger of becoming a slave to efficiency. I learned the hard way when my laptop died a slow painful death and I was left with the old fashion tools of pen and paper. If you want to test yourself to see how dependent you are on the systems you’ve built, try unplugging completely for about a month. Or don’t and just take my word for it. It’s brutal. 🙂

2 11 2008

@John Kendrick – Thanks. I haven’t heard of Daytimer…I was just filcking over to google to have a look then I thought NO, if I researched another productivity tip today I’d be going against the theme of this post!

@Christinegilbert – Thanks Christine! I always try and have a few unplugged days a week if I can. I like your challenge, I think I could unplug completely if I was doing soemthing exciting like travelling to Mexico like you’re about to!

3 11 2008
Mark McGuinness

Nice post, and ta for the link.

‘List for life’ is a killer title too. 🙂

4 11 2008

@Mark McGuiness – Thanks for stopping by! If you want to submit a guest list just let me know 😉

19 11 2009

Great post! I discovered my own productivity addiction and decided to go list-free. It’s been a couple of months now and I have no regrets. I had a serious problem with iPhone productivity apps. LOL

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