Austin Kleon‘s response to the question, “Do you ever feel like no matter how much work you do, you can or should be doing more?“
Yeah, always. If you get into that productivity trap, there’s always going to be more work to do, you know?
Like, you can always make more. I think that’s why I’m a time-based worker. I try to go at my work like a banker. I just have hours. I show up to the office and whatever gets done gets done.
And I’ve always been a time-based worker. You know, like, ‘did I sit here for 3 hours and try?’ I don’t have a word count when I sit down to write. It’s all about sitting down and trying to make something happen in that time period — and letting those hours stack up.Austin Kleon
If I’m anything, I’m a list maker. No matter how many times I’ve tried to break the habit, it seems to be permanently ingrained in me. Two of my goals this year were, a) to not define my success by the number of checkmarks on my to do list, and b) to not define my failure by the number (or lack of) checkmarks on my to do list. I’ve made no headway in addressing either goal. I’ve probably only exacerbated both.
Today, though, I changed my to do list (I use kanban boards with Trello). Instead of assigning myself a list of tasks for a given day. I commit to a period of time for a certain type of task, like chores. For that period of time, I work on my chores until the time has lapsed. This way, I’m always accomplishing the goal of doing my chores but not defining my success or failure by how many I get done. I make the investment and do what I can. I continue the investment the next day and the day after. It’s a minor shift but somehow releases me of a certain heaviness. I’ll keep with it for a while and see how it goes. Fingers-crossed it’s a happy middle ground between list making and meaningful productivity.