Wow! It’s pretty amazing how easily being productive can get sidelined. Just take today as an example:
I have been planning for a month or so to take these two days and do nothing but reflect, write and create goals associated with this thirty five hour journey. It’s almost four o’clock pm and I’ve produced very little. Not only does it make me angry at myself for not being committed to this journey, it creates a bunch of anxiety as I look forward to the coming hours and what I’ll have to do in order to meet the expectation of thirty five posts in thirty five hours.
I could just start posting a bunch of useless posts like one might post to twitter, but the point of this was to actually spend time being productive and provide value (to myself and the reader) – not just get it in.
So what has slowed down the process of producing? Meetings.
I ended up meeting with two people today: a coworker from Retrofit that lives near where I’m at today, so it seemed like a great opportunity to meet since we don’t meet in person very often (we meet via Skype a lot). Then I went straight to lunch with my mother, who I also see very little. In both cases getting together was something I wanted to do and was a very positive use of my time. But, it also cost a decent amount of time that ate into my productivity for the day.
I have a fairly strong belief that the number of meetings and appointments on your calendar is inversely correlated to the amount of production a person has. If your function requires a high level of production, it might be wise to regularly analyze the number of meetings you are committed to and see if they are all still relevant and necessary.
It should also be stated that there are people and occupations that appointments are directly to production, so it is also valuable to look at your job duties and see if you are one of those individuals.
For example, when I was working with clients in one-to-one personal training sessions – my income, revenue and business was tied directly to the amount of appointments I had scheduled. The same is probably true for many service providers: lawyers who bill by the minute, doctors who bill by the patient, dentists who bill by the patient, etc.
But, for most individuals that I know that is not the scenario. And for those individuals – meetings are the enemy of being productive.
Here are a few other thoughts and resources that might be interesting about productivity and interruption:
- Paul Graham: Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule
- Back to Work Podcast – Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin, I listen to them randomly but Mann is well known in this space
- Getting Things Done – the classic resource
- 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – I’d be remiss if I didn’t put this here. It was the reason I sat down and originally wrote out my first set of plans, my personal mission statement and learned “First things First”