Mondays are productivity days at SimpleProductivity blog.
Have you ever gotten so far behind in something that it would be easier to start over than to catch up?
I recently realized I had a few hundred podcasts to listen to, and the list was growing bigger each week. It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy them, I just hadn’t had time to listen for the past few weeks.
I knew I would never get through the backlog, and I would fall further and further behind. It was time for drastic action.
Sometimes you just have to cut your losses and start over.
- Throw out the backlog. I purged all podcasts off my iPod and my computer. I felt a tinge of regret, but I realized I could always go back and listen to back episodes when (if) I got caught up. This step is important, because otherwise you will find yourself unwilling to let go of enough.
- Reevaluate your consumption. I looked at the number of podcasts I was listening to as well as the frequency of updates and the duration of the ‘casts and set my limit to the ones I knew I would make time for. You could also limit yourself to a number of ‘casts per week. It is important to balance what you can make time for. I left a daily ‘cast on, but the shows only last for two minutes, so I felt that was do-able. I took off a bi-weekly ‘cast that usually lasts an hour and a half because I was always falling behind.
- Unsubscribe temporarily. Look at what you haven’t listened to in the past month and temporarily unsubscribe. I almost didn’t do this, but I realized iTunes would keep serving up the ‘casts unless I unsubscribed. This step is important because it will set overall limits to what is coming in.
- Adjust how much you save. iTunes has a built in feature that allows you to specify how many ‘casts to keep. For my two-hour “radio” show I only keep the most recent. If I miss one, no big deal. For some of the other casts I limit myself to two or three back episodes. Some I keep all episodes because they are parts of a course that I like to refer to. This step is important because it will fine-tune the volume of ‘casts.
This philosophy and steps can be applied to other backlogs as well. It could be done with newspapers, periodicals and email.
[A friend of mine is trying to apply this to housework as well, but he’s only gotten to the first step: he says it would be easier to move than to clean. Somehow I don’t think that is a good way to catch up!]
Photo by batega