My bi-polar vacation and thoughts on productivity

I go back to work tomorrow after a hectic and fantastic two weeks off.This vacation has been the busiest, most stressful, yet most joyous, memorable vacation I think I’ve ever had!

For anyone that’s followed my blog lately, I got married last weekend. I took the week before and the week after my wedding off. How I handled the distictive differences of these weeks got me thinking about productivity.

The week before the wedding, I felt that I didn’t have enough hours in the day to do things. I felt so busy that making simple decisions was hard. I had to write everything down or put it in Remember the Milk (more the later). My Wedding Project in there was large!

The week after the wedding I had nothing going on. I didn’t even use Remember the Milk other than to check for any recurring reminders that I put in there, like watering the plants, paying the bills etc…

So, when did I FEEL the most productive? Without a doubt I felt more productive the week after the wedding. I cleaned the kitchen every day without it being this overwhelming project piled on my already busy day.

I am certain that I accomplished more the week before the wedding as I had a lot to do. My wife would agree with me too. I didn’t do much in the second week of my vacation.

But I can’t help but think that productivity is also a state of mind. Making decisions about the wedding, where the kids were at any point during our wedding day, what people were going to eat and drink, or where they were going to sleep while staying here. It all seemed like too much to think about all at once. That is why I use Remember the Milk. To break them all into smaller chunks. Even so, I didn’t feel very efficient, and more accurately I felt like a chicken with my head cut off.

About that state of mind, this week I probably did next to nothing in the way of projects. But looking around, our house is clean (at least by our standards lol), the garbages are taken out, the dishes are clean. If something comes up to do, I can just do it. Do a few loads of laundry? No problem this week. Wipe up the mess from the baby deciding to throw his lunch versus eat it? I can do an exceptional job and take 10 minutes if I want. I’ve got all the time in the world!

I feel more productive this week. That is where I believe stress gets the best of us. When our work loads get intense, we start to stress out. Small decisions become too much to deal with when piled on top of our list of to-do’s.

What I’ve learned from this almost bi-polar holiday is that the more you can break down your work into realistic tasks, delegate them, and set realistic time lines, the more you can manage your stress.

Cover of
Cover via Amazon

Getting Things Done (GTD) stresses the importance of getting all your tasks into one system you can trust. Once you have everything in there, you know what your current obligations are, and are more willing to turn down further requests from others, or give them a more accurate time line as to when it will get done.

If there is one thing that I need to do better going forward, it is my weekly review.

During those stressful times, my mind doesn’t need to worry about forgetting something if I take that little bit of time to review all my current obligations, and those that I can just dump and forget. During the wedding I did make more instant decisions. I just asked myself, “is this REALLY important to think about right now?”. If so, I delegated it, and if it wasn’t I simply erased it from my mind. However my mind was always racing. Like it was searching for that forgotten thing just out of my memory’s reach. Had I done a standard weekly review near the beginning of my vacation, I would have been better prepared for the daunting tasks ahead.

So my lesson that I share with you, is if you don’t use the GTD system, get the book and try to implement it into your everyday life. And if you are like me and try to follow GTD, try to make the weekly review a major priority every week.

 

When do you feel the most productive? When you’re crazy busy, or when you have time to complete all your obligations? How do you implement GTD, and more specifically do you methodically do a weekly review?

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