Productivity and me go way back. We’re like siblings: we both wana get shit done and somewhere deep down (like REALLY deep) we love each other. But mostly, we kick seven shades of shit out of each other while stealing one another’s greatest posessions (time) and taddle tailing about who got what done on the ‘to do’ list. We need to be more productive because right now, we’re a mess.
We both know it, though neither of us will admit it. It might possibly, probably be the reason I have 22,000 words of a novel on ‘How to Be Productive’ and it’s also – ironically – the reason I’ve neither finished it, nor published it.
Most of you will know I left my job back in May. It’s been… Turbulent shall we say. Something akin to a giant steroid-injected rollercoaster of ‘da-fuck-am-i-doing-itis’ and blindingly hysterical euphoria.
In my more lucid moments, I’m come to realise how much I’ve got to re-learn. Like, time management.
You’d think, what with being a grown ass woman of thirty something years, that time management would come naturally by now. After all, I’m a driven and ambitious lady, I’m a kickass lion-roar-for-breakfast kinda gal. There’s no fucking about, I get shit done.
Except that, apparently, I don’t anymore.
I mean, I did. I had to in order to get where I am. I didn’t quit my job with zero clues where my income was coming from. I knew… sorry, KNOW, where my income is coming. And yet, for some reason, I work and work and work, and shit is not getting done.
It’s a lesson. It’s a revelation. It’s a fucking paradox.
If In Doubt, Read
I don’t take this stuff lying down. In an attempt to ‘sort my life out’ I’ve been reading self-help books by the dozen. Not only have they helped shift my mindset, I’ve had somewhat of what you’d call an epiphany on the time management front.
Something major stuck out to me.
Get Rid of Your To Do List
The first is that I’m going to do away with my to do list. I know. Shocking. But fear not my productivity ninjas, I’m not, NOT having a list. Christ, I’d hyperventilate a lung out if I did that. What I am doing though, is reframing it.
I’m finding more and more that this working for yourself business is 90% mindset, 10% gritty persperation. The trick to mindset is all universe, maraccas and philosophical fooey for another day. The tangible trick Ms Hollis gave me produced a slack-jawed Sacha manically flipping the pages and drooling over the simple and blindingly obvious technique.
Henceforth, chuck your ‘to do’ lists in the fuck-it bucket. Why?
“The average woman’s to-do list is approximately 319 items long, which means you’re never going to get through it anyway.” Rachel Hollis, Girl, Stop Apologising p.189
Now, whether or not she’s being sarcastic on the ‘319’, I’ll never know. But honestly? It doesn’t matter. It struck a chord with me because my to do list actually is about 319 items long. Now, for the last lord knows how many years, I’ve prided myself on these ridiculous ‘to do’ lists. Claiming that having a longer list drives me on harder. And sure, there’s some truth in that…
There’s also a royal waft of Horse Shit. Can you smell it?
Let’s be real here, folks.
Where’s it left me? With a shitty broken mindset and a serious case of bitchin burnout.
The Results List i.e. How to Be More Productive
What y’all need, is a results list.
Don’t be narrowing your eyes at me, I see you all squinty and sceptical because how in the shitsticks can a ‘results list’ which sounds suspiciously like a ‘to do’ list make you more productive?
“…if you’re anything like me [and I am like her] back in the day, you’ll spend your entire work time doing the easiest items on your to-do list, simply so you can have some items crossed out.” Rachel Hollis, Girl, Stop Apologising p.189
Sweet Jesus of small mercies, I am so like her. That juicy dopamine-nectar fills my body hard when I cross off a task. Nnnnggh. It’s glorious, it’s addictive. It’s also totally fucking pointless.
Responding to 80 emails might make my anxiety feel better, but it does fuck-nothing for my bank balance. So here’s me calling myself out. No more working on other people’s agendas, no more ‘busy’ work.
What are you [Sacha] going to create today that will take you closer to achieving your goals?
Because that’s what this is about. That’s why I left my job, it’s why I moved house, changed my son’s school, risked everything to follow the dream.
What’s The Difference Between a Results List and a To Do List?
I’ll tell you.
A ‘to do’ might contain things like:
- Upload new versions of Keepers to Kobo
- Reduce inbox to below 100 unread emails
- Schedule tweets
- Do more AMS ads
And so on. All important work. All work I have to do. But none of it is taking me closer to my goal. I can’t sell more books unless I write more books. I can’t sell courses if they’re not written.
A results list should be highly specific:
- Create 3 slides and write the transcript for those three slides on your conflict course
- Record those three slides
- Write 1000 words of Anatomy of Prose
Those three tasks would actually get me closer to being able to publish and sell my writing course. Once those things are done I can do the ‘busy’ work. Results are specific and push you toward your goal. Maybe yours would be ‘write 2000 words before 2pm’. Maybe it’s ‘edit four chapters by lunch tomorrow’. Doesn’t matter. But they should be project specific and tangible. Don’t leave yourself any room for backing out or saying you’ve ‘half done it’
You can’t half do 2000 words. And hush now all the smart arses saying 1000 words is half of 2000. I KNOW THAT, GET BACK IN YOUR PEDANTIC BOX.
The point is, either you write 2k or you don’t. End of.
If you want to achieve a goal, it’s not just about working hard, it’s about working hard on the right things. Apparently, I only just learnt that.
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