Over the past couple of months, more like the better part of this year, I have been trying to understand why there are moments when I am super productive, and others when I am extremely unproductive. This ebb and flow really doesn’t work for me.
One thing I noticed is my productivity tends to be higher when I have a plan of action. For instance, if I set out to design a ladder diagram between 8 am and 12 pm, and after that no matter what happens I’ll have to: stop, take a break, and at 12:30 pm shift to another task, it becomes very easy for me to work without hesitation, because all the tasks have already been laid out, so all I have to do is simply perform them.
Unfortunately, I don’t like planning. I don’t like looking too far into my future. There’s always that excitement of spontaneity and those last minute rushes (I have been schooled in the art of procrastination). Although they may be exhilarating, they are indeed a waste of time.
There are two things that I often consider to be a detriment to getting things done: starting inertia and indecision.
Starting inertia is when you have a task that needs to get done and you know that once you get started you’ll be able to get into a state of flow, but there is something holding you back. So the major task here is to find a way to get started.
As for indecision, this typically occurs when you have a lot of tasks that need to get done but you can’t decide which one to prioritise on. In this situation, you typically wait for a deadline to be the deciding factor; however, in the span of time you were waiting for the deadline to become impending, there is so much time that is lost that you could have literally accomplished a lot.
This is why planning is important. If you can break a task into small manageable bits, then you can cram quite a good amount of work into a particular span of time. The beauty of planning is it forces you to prioritise on tasks and avoid getting derailed by unnecessary distractions.
I’m of the opinion that if I incorporate planning into my work, I could gain a considerable productivity boost. There are far too many things that I want to accomplish. I need to list everything down, look at how much time they’d take vis-a-vis the time that I have, then prioritise and probably eliminate or shelve some of the tasks. I guess this is also good for developing one’s strategy skill.
Planning is not often an easy nor fun task, but you come to appreciate a plan when you finally meet your targets and realise the experience was made easier owing to the fact that you had drafted a plan.