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  • Getting Lots Done with Productivity Days

    I love GTD, but there are always tasks that I just don't feel like doing. Decluttering, for example. However, that doesn't seem to be important enough right now. What definitely should get my focus right now is my thesis, but instead of working on it, I work on everything else. I'm not lazy, but I definitely don't focus on what am I really supposed to focus on now. Does this sound familiar?

    What really gets me into massive action are Productivity Days. Productivity Days are days where you get onto a conference line on an hourly basis and briefly state your goal(s) for the next hour (plus what you have achieved in your last hour - all in 30 seconds or less). As soon as you're off the phone, you get busy doing what you said you would.

    Stever Robbins (Get-It-Done Guy) organizes such productivity days (he actually calls them Do-It Days). I've also discovered somebody else out there, who organizes Massive Action Days (MAD). However, there are not as many such days out there as I would like to participate in. What's more, I can't always participate plus some of them cost money (OK, for me, depending on how much they charge).

    I've participated in Stever Robbins Do-It Days and they really work for me. They work just as I described a productivity day and Stever himself states his hourly goals and achievements, too.

    Productivity Days work for me and I know that they work for many people. I thought that if I can get a bunch of interested people together, we can have our own Productivity Days. I've already set up a conference line (US number - access via Skype should be possible, too) and I'm now looking for people who want to try out whether this format might be helpful for them, too.

    You can work on whatever you want on such a Productivity Day, but you might find it works best on things that you have been procrastinating, on bigger projects where you haven't gained (or lost) momentum, or on getting started with projects on your someday maybe list.

    I'd be very pleased to get in touch with people from all over the world. We can all help each other by just showing up, state our goal(s) for the next hour and then get things done.

    Interested? Questions? - Let me know!

  • #2
    Interesting. I vaguely recall hearing about such things. My first reaction is that I'm not sure it's a good idea, Are the other days Unproductive Days? I think I understand pretty well the psychology behind different ways of attacking next action lists, including such strategies as oldest, newest, most important, little-and-often and loose-ends. It sounds like Productive Days is not really a strategy, but is more a scheduling technique, like the Pomodoro method. Some people like that, but I find it too inflexible. It's been a long time since my own Ph.D. thesis, but I just finished a near-final draft of a 90-page manuscript I will be submitting Friday, and I can tell you that spending time on writing consistently is the key. The books by Robert Boice and Paul Silvia are pretty clear about this, and Boice provides good evidence that this is the way to go. The danger with external motivation is that you may get conditioned to the external excitement, rather than being intrinsically attracted to your lists. But good luck!

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    • #3
      I might be interested in doing that sometimes. It sounds like a good idea.

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      • #4
        It matches up with what was said in the book "Willpower", you increase productivity when you monitor your progress and even more so when you report your progress to others. The conference call is a good idea, the other way you could do it is to write a log each hour of your goals, what you did etc and then publish it online via this forum.

        I think this would be good for tasks you've been putting off and that do require blocking out a whole day to get it done.

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        • #5
          Very strange idea!

          Originally posted by tigerduck View Post
          What really gets me into massive action are Productivity Days. Productivity Days are days where you get onto a conference line on an hourly basis and briefly state your goal(s) for the next hour (plus what you have achieved in your last hour - all in 30 seconds or less). As soon as you're off the phone, you get busy doing what you said you would.
          Very strange idea! Especially in the corporate world where confidentiality is required.

          Can you imagine Jonathan Ive Apple's Senior Vice President Industrial Design reporting his progress on iPhone 5 project to a stranger?

          What's the purpose of the conference call distraction when you're in the creative "flow" state?

          I listen to Stever Robbins (Get-It-Done Guy) podcast and tried to read his book but I can hardly find his ideas applicable for me.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Suelin23 View Post
            It matches up with what was said in the book "Willpower", you increase productivity when you monitor your progress and even more so when you report your progress to others.
            Yes, that's exactly the idea. Accountability can really make it much easier to make things happen.

            Originally posted by Suelin23 View Post
            The conference call is a good idea, the other way you could do it is to write a log each hour of your goals, what you did etc and then publish it online via this forum.
            The log is also a good idea and I once tried that in another forum. However, the fact that other people also state their goals and achievements on a conference line is even more motivating for me and it's also nice to hear how other people are progressing.

            Originally posted by Suelin23 View Post
            I think this would be good for tasks you've been putting off and that do require blocking out a whole day to get it done.
            I agree. I was once on a conference line and one lady in the group said that she would use this day to tackle the to do's that tend to get moved from one to do list to the next. Another time a lady stated that she would only deal with issues that she has been putting off.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by mcogilvie View Post
              My first reaction is that I'm not sure it's a good idea, Are the other days Unproductive Days?
              I agree that the term Productivity Days is not the best. Thanks for pointing that out. If anybody comes up with a better term, let me know.

              Originally posted by mcogilvie View Post
              I think I understand pretty well the psychology behind different ways of attacking next action lists, including such strategies as oldest, newest, most important, little-and-often and loose-ends. It sounds like Productive Days is not really a strategy, but is more a scheduling technique, like the Pomodoro method. Some people like that, but I find it too inflexible.
              Thanks for bringing up the term Pomodoro method. I wasn't familiar with it so I googled it. I see that it involves a timer and I often use timers myself. I'm now downloading the book. As I'm not familiar with the book The Pomodoro Technique yet, what is it that makes it too inflexible to you? As far as the calls I mentioned are concerned, it's OK for people to switch their focus because it seems to be a better idea right then. That can happen.

              Originally posted by mcogilvie View Post
              It's been a long time since my own Ph.D. thesis, but I just finished a near-final draft of a 90-page manuscript I will be submitting Friday, and I can tell you that spending time on writing consistently is the key.
              Congratulations! I agree that consistency is the key. I have consistency in many aspects of my life, but not currently on working on my thesis. I want to change that as soon as possible.

              Originally posted by mcogilvie View Post
              The danger with external motivation is that you may get conditioned to the external excitement, rather than being intrinsically attracted to your lists.
              I see your point. However, I think they can go hand in hand. I know getting on a conference line can really get me into action in areas where I currently lack motivation. It's all about creating momentum and good habits. I have great habits in many areas of my life, but definitely not in all.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by tigerduck View Post
                The log is also a good idea and I once tried that in another forum. However, the fact that other people also state their goals and achievements on a conference line is even more motivating for me and it's also nice to hear how other people are progressing.
                That can happen on this forum, too! (...provided it's not considered off-topic or unwanted by the forum moderators; however I think it totally fits in with the purposes of this forum.) A number of people can agree to do a "Productivity Day" (or other term if someone thinks up a better one) via this forum, post their hourly goals and achievements by an agreed time each hour, and read others' goals and achievements. I think "Productivity Day" is fine as a name. Um, just because there's a Mother's Day or International Year of the Child doesn't mean there aren't mothers or children on other days or years. The other days are productive too. I like "Productivity Day" better than "Frog day", a name one might consider based on the book "Eat that frog!"; a "frog" in that book means one of those tasks you've been putting off or tempted to put off. (It's OK to use a Productivity Day or other technique on a task you haven't been putting off yet because it's just come up but that you might put off if you didn't use the technique.)

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                • #9
                  Inflexibility of these systems.

                  Originally posted by tigerduck View Post
                  As I'm not familiar with the book The Pomodoro Technique yet, what is it that makes it too inflexible to you?
                  The inflexibility of these systems consists in defining one and only one chunk of time (1 hour for Productive Days, 25 minutes for Pomodoro Technique®). The amount and intensity of the work to be done and resources at your disposal (time and energy) are not taken into account.

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                  • #10
                    Challenge Day?

                    Why not just call them Challenge days. I've participated in them related to fitness goals, housecleaning goals, spinning goals during the Tour de Fleece and even weaving goals.

                    We always just called them a 1 day challenge. Usually the ones I participate in are forum or e-mail based. We all post the project or goal at the beginning and at some predetermined interval during the day we post progress and next steps.

                    I also participate in longer ones, like the Procrastination and Weekly Review challenges here on Connect, the level up challenge over on Nerd Fitness, the WIP Wednesday on Ravelry and so on.

                    They are a fun way to get the cheerleaders you ned to help you along. Or as the Power of Habit books would say they are the social organization that helps you develop a new habit.

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                    • #11
                      Flylady does these

                      I discovered these when I was following Flylady. On facebook a group of women would sign in at the top of the hour and say what they'd do in the next hour then go do. Check back in 45mins later, have a break then do again at the top of the hour.

                      If you don't mind that other people are talking about housework that would be a free option for you?

                      I would be keen but with chronic illnesses I don't get much done each hour. 5-10 mins on a good day

                      Good luck with setting this up
                      Allie

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