On Productivity

Posted 3 years, 6 months ago | Originally written on 18 Dec 2020

Here is a collection of lessons I have learned and am learning on how to be productive. They are in no order. I’ll refine them over time but here they are in their raw glory to exemplify what I mean.

  • Use realistic deadlines. Deadlines focus the mind.
  • Focus in one project at a time. Having multiple projects running simultaneously is a recipe for having nothing complete.
  • Aim for completion as fast as possible with little regard for quality. You can always improve later. Remember that as long as something is not complete then it is as good as nonexistent.
  • Organise your goals into projects. Have a definite start date and end date. Have a clear goal of what should be completed. Keep projects to roughly a month in length.
  • Perfection is the enemy of completion. Don’t aim for perfection. Ironically one of the literal meanings of perfect is ‘complete’.
  • Plan work in week increments.
  • Start tomorrow.
  • Be accountable to someone. Make a promise of some completed work.
  • Don't be afraid to dump a dragging project. Better call it quits now than have the exact same outcome after a year.
  • Don’t be fooled by a seeming over abundance of ideas. Ideation is cheap but execution is the true test. Don’t be tempted by your apparent brilliance of coming up with ideas at the expense of completing your current project. Don’t keep a scrap book of ideas. Your scrapbook should be dedicated only to the current project. Therefore keep it small and cheap. Ignore all good ideas that are not related to your current project.
  • Focus on only two attributes that are the mother of all great products: usefulness and availability. As long as you fulfil these two attributes in your project then you can begin the process of learning how to nurture it into a great product. By contrast, ignore these by being distracted by beauty, bells and whistles, feature breadth, etc and you will never launch.