This is not a productivity blog.

However, I do have a lot of work to do and it takes a fair amount of effort to make sure that I’m on the right track and that I’m working on the right things.

A few weeks ago I read a decent article on Lifehacker about Seinfeld’s Productivity Secret.  I didn’t watch Seinfeld, so I don’t know what this is about, but the technique in the article seems sound.  The article cites 5 rules, but I’ll break it down to two:

  1. Choose your goals.
  2. Mark on the calendar every day that you work towards these goals.

In short, we encourage ourselves to work towards our goals by easily showing daily progress towards those goals.  Every day you work on your goal/project/what-have-you you make a mark on the calendar.  Every day you don’t, you don’t.  Don’t break the chain.  You’ll feel like a jerk if you break the chain.

Sounds like a solid idea but, naturally, I have done nothing with it.

But today while surfing tumblr (read, “not working towards my goals”) I stumbled upon this article on a little app called Wonderful Day.  For $0.99 Wonderful Day provides a trim and attractively designed calendar for marking down your “on days.”  Every day you work towards your goal, you get a green dot.  When you don’t work on your goal you get a red dot.  The longer the green chain, the better you feel.  Red dots?  That jerky feeling again.

I’ve spent the buck, now on to the app.  I figure I have a couple obvious ones to work on:

  1. Exercise
  2. Work on my project (top secret, don’t ask)
  3. Work on the chopper project (more to come, probably)
  4. Blog, tweet, etc. (low priority, but it has a purpose)

If it satisfies my goals, I will update you on my progress here.

Conservation of Time

First thing this morning I sat down to schedule some vacation time for later in the month.  Three weeks into the future, I found my schedule was already full of recurring meetings, which led me to write this very satisfying email:

Looking at my calendar, I see that I have 13 hours of recurring meetings each week.  This is the baseline, before adding any of the one-time meetings that fill up the rest of my week.  This means that before I’ve even entered the office on Monday, greater than 25% of my time has been allocated by automated systems and with no agenda.

I have to wonder what the calendars of our developers and engineers, on whom we rely for any product throughput, looks like?  How much time do we spend not developing websites?

Please take a moment to review and reevaluate any reoccurring meetings on your calendar.  I would encourage you to delete any that are not absolutely critical or that do not have a clear purpose and agenda.

Please see me if you would like to discuss more efficient or creative ways to foster cross-team communication and increase team efficiency.

Responses have been largely positive.  While I do not expect any revolutionary gains in efficiency, I’m hopeful that my little reminder will cause folks to give a bit more thought about our use of time.  At least for a day or two.