Most Productive Version of Yourself
11 June, 2021
Engineering Manager at Hinterview
For many people, motivation is a cornerstone of productivity. It may come as a surprise to some people, but I don’t believe that motivation as such exists. Realizing that was an eye-opening moment that made my whole world go upside down. I didn’t have to wait anymore to become motivated to be productive. I was onto collecting small wins, one by one. By completing small, even unimportant tasks, I would get a sense of accomplishment which would drive motivation.
I started to avidly read anything even remotely related to productivity. I learned a great deal about different methods and frameworks. For example, I practiced this approach for a while: I would single out one thing on my To-Do list, which, when completed, would give me a sense of accomplishment. Regardless of how many things there were on the list, my day would look fulfilled and productive if I would complete that one.
I also tried out a number of To-Do apps but, in the end, had to find my own way of writing down things I want to accomplish. Currently, I am using post-it notes on my desk that I organize and re-shuffle around and two online apps -- Notion and ToDoist.
The most powerful framework I came across was 4DX (The Four Disciplines of Execution) by Franklin Covey, a method based on the principles of focus, leverage, engagement, and accountability. It gives four disciplines to help focus efforts towards the strategic aims (Focusing on the Wildly Important, Acting on Lead Measures, Keeping a Compelling Scoreboard, Creating a Cadence of Accountability). I was particularly inspired by the concept of WIG (Wildly important goal) that is often sidelined by the whirlwind which is our day-to-day work.
Moreover, I try to automate some of my productivity-related activities. If I would find a Slack message important enough to become a task, I would create integration and save it on Slack and Zapier, another third-party tool that would extract my Slack message and put it into my ToDoist app. This is how I try to stay organized since Slack is my main communication tool.
Notion is an app I use both for private and work-related tasks. Right now I am managing both the engineering and product side and have to stay on top of everything we deliver, and we need to scope out. My mind is often oversaturated with information from two different areas, and to focus better, I need to take care of my mental clutter. I clean up that clutter by writing things down either on paper or in the app.
I made a long way in my efforts to streamline my productivity. Reading, trying out different approaches, revisiting the existing routines -- all of those helped me barrel forward. However, I also learned about inherent constraints or limitations to productivity that are making me more conscious of how I will direct my efforts.
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