Mondays are Productivity days at SimpleProductivityBlog
About two articles into the “Whys of Productivity” (The Whys of Productivity: Gathering, The Whys of Productivity: Writing Things Down, The Whys of Productivity: Minimizing Capture Location) I had a flash of insight. Productivity books and systems cover two areas: organizing and executing. And it seems to me that no system or book covers both sides of the issue well.
Organizing System Examples
The organizing systems tell us how to get things to the point where we know what we are doing, what is coming at us, and how to get our hands on information.
In the organizing end of things, we need to include all the planners that come bound with instructions on how to use them: Daytimer, Franklin Covey, Bubble Planner. In addition, I would throw in Getting Things Done and Do It Tomorrow.
Executing System Examples
On the other hand, executing systems make an attempt to tell us what we should be doing. This is where true productivity lies: doing the important. This is along the lines of helping us discover our long term plans, and then helping us get there.
I would say that the Seven Habits book, and First Things First, both fall into this category.
Frustrations with Organizing Systems
I seem to gravitate more toward the organizing systems, and I believe it is because somewhere deep down, I am looking for a magic bullet. Deep down I want someone to say, “put all your stuff in this format, and you will lead a happy and fulfilling life.” But it doesn’t work that way. Although I am very organized and get things done well, I realize that what I am doing is not necessarily important or leading me toward the happy and fulfilling life. None of the organizing systems actually tell us how to figure out the path.
In addition, none of these systems has fit me without significant tinkering. I suspect it is because since we all possess unique minds, no one person’s way of organizing will fit anyone else perfectly.
Frustrations with the Executing Systems
My main frustration with the executing systems is that there is no clear cut path. As I was reading Covey, I was conscious of a “yes, but…” going through my head constantly. Maybe it was fine for him to concentrate on the higher stuff and ignoring the mundane: after all, I’m sure his wife took care of the house, laundry and day-to-day stuff. But that’s not my case, and I refuse to believe that I have to ignore the mundane to get to my dreams, or ignore my dreams to deal with the mundane.
In Pursuit of Organizing and Executing
I am going to spend some time over the next few months researching both areas of productivity, organizing and executing, but outside the productivity ring. My hope is to come up with some general principles that anyone can use. I know in the case of organizing it is out there. And something tells me it’s got to be out there for executing as well.
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