how i work – mixing things up

It’s easy to fall into a productivity trap. How do I define a productivity trap? It’s falling into the lure of busyness.

How do I get out of this horrible and dangerous cycle?

I have a variety tactics that I use based on the severity of my symptoms. I don’t always use them in the same order or use all of them. Just mixing it up a little will help me reset and take stock and get back toward completing things.

Here are a few:

  • I take out blank sheets of paper (sometimes really big sheets) and I write out first all my projects on one sheet and all the tasks that are cluttering up my head (aka a brain dump) on the other with a pen that makes me happy. Then I tear up the paper with all the tasks and put it in the recycling bin. I take out a fresh piece of paper and write each project and then the very next task that I need to do to move the project forward. I write a date/time of when I’m going to do it and how long I expect it to take. I don’t write any of the other myriad of tasks down. Just the very next actions.
  • I go for a trail run. I try not to run for a specific pace or distance, but for as long and fast (or slow) as I need. It’s even better if I can catch the wonderful, amazing, and (for me) rejuvenating smell of petrichor, though I prefer when there’s a nice balance of weather and the ground doesn’t dry out too much.
  • I switch up my routines and schedule. Maybe instead of doing a client’s routine tasks on a Tuesday morning, I’ll do them on Thursday afternoons instead. Really the only things that don’t change are my Monday morning planning sessions and my 3pm review on Friday afternoons!
  • I go cuddle with a foster kitten or one of my cats. Everyone likes this.
  • I change the layout of how I write out my log books or my weekly plans.

It’s this last one that I’m working on right now. I’ve had a few projects finish up in recent weeks and a few have kicked off since. It’s a nice time to transition to something different.

While I love the weekly plan book I often use that owes its layouts to teacher plan books, it wasn’t working right lately. I’ve not been able to identify why, and that’s ok!

plan book

I have a new planner compliments of Quo Vadis that will start on July 18th that has a very different layout from what I’ve used for years. As I’m curious how I’ll settle into the new format, I drew up the weeks between and have been using it instead. It’s new and it’s different and it’s doing what I need. It allows me to check in with the projects, identify the next task I have to do, figure out when I’m going to do it during the day, and do it. Then move on to the next.

planner book

How do you escape the trap of busyness?