Have you ever heard of productivity porn? I like it, and if you continue to read, you'll see that you like it too. If you don't already know, productivity porn is a term coined by a productivity guru guy called Merlin Mann. If you're not familiar with him, he's the guy that came up with the concept of Inbox Zero and he sent a lot of talks about productivity. He's one of those guys that I really look up to. He's got a lot of great ideas and that term productivity porn is exactly what I constantly struggle with. I wanted to watch it and to do it without actually getting anything done.

Basically, productivity porn is your unable stick to one tool to get things done. You're constantly messing around, you get excitement from a new app, a new way of organizing your tasks, a new way of setting goals, and you're constantly fiddling around with your system when the true purpose of the system is to get things done. The reason I wanted to do the CarTalks today is that I'm back to the original task management I began with and to give you an idea of where I've been as far as trying to track my tasks and my personal projects.

I've been really interested in getting things done, productivity, squeezing every bit of efficiency out of my time and out of my myself and out of my body that I can. I've been this way fifteen years or so and I've read lots of books, subscribed to lots of different podcasts, and have opened up countless accounts on to-do services, task management services, personal project management services, and every time I start I get enthused about it. I've probably gone through six or seven different apps over the last 15 years that I've tried and I get all enthused and then a few months later I no longer think it's exciting.

I go off and look for another way of organizing my tasks when at the end of the day, it doesn't matter if you're constantly fiddling around with your settings, that's just another time drain that totally goes against why you started a task management system in the first place. I can't count how many hours that I've spent playing around with these apps, playing around with new systems, reading a book that got me all inspired.

I even tried Notepad for a while because I got so frustrated because I didn't want to give myself any chance to actually get in there and waste time by fiddling around with settings. I just wanted something extremely simple. Then it came to the point with Notepad to where I had to organize things. My brain has this need to categorize things and to put them in strict order. It has all these tendencies to want to categorize, fix, and tweak things just right so it looks good without actually doing the task.

I procrastinate constantly on tasks and it's nice to feel that you checked one off. But, as soon as I go into some task management system I think how to better organize it. One of the things that I really struggle with is figuring out how to break out tasks because me, being the engineer mentality and left-brain thinker, I think is it a task or a task with subtasks? This is because many tasks have several steps involved before final completion. My brain is constantly breaking down all these things in my head and that's how I get fiddling and getting engrossed in what I'm thinking. That's a waste of time when I could just do the task.

I actually don't know if it's David Allen or not who says to use tasks as simple reminders cues to what you need to do. So, if you want to write a blog article on how to install IIS, the task could be "write an article - How to Install IIS". I have written enough articles and know my writing style. I know how I think when I write and when I write I normally start from the top and just go all the way through. I don't ever do an outline; some people are different and prefer an outline.

Let's say I'm writing this article for a client and I have to submit it, so that is at the very top level of this task is - send article - How to Install IIS to the client. The very last step you want to do in this task is -get paid for writing article- How to Install IIS. Now if you know in your head that will always entail the same exact process every time, use that as a task. There's only one single task in there, there is nothing else. The task is -get paid for the article- and you know in order to get paid, you have to write the article and submit the invoice, so there are three different subtasks in there.

This is different for some people. You have to figure it out for yourself but it's all about only documenting the tasks that are cues for what you want to do and for tasks that can't be done all at one time. In this instance of writing an article you wouldn't just put - Get Paid for an Article - because you're not going to write the article, submit the article, and get paid all in one shot. You need a way track these tasks over time and so in that instance, I would probably have that in four tasks, - write an article, submit an article, submit an invoice, waiting for cash -. �You always need some kind of tickler system to where they'll come up a week, two weeks, or whenever you want to follow up with them to make sure you actually did get paid for it.

If this was any other situation, for the writing task you could actually break it down - write an outline for the article - write an article - submit an article. �You could probably put - submit to the client at this email address - if you don't know that stuff at the top of your head. If you have to reference that in any other way, it's much better to put everything you can in the task itself.

I've been thinking about doing a series of blog posts or something on the concept of productivity porn and figuring out the best ways to organize your brain in a way that helps you accomplish more things but not get engrossed in the process to where it's diminishing returns. You could try and try, and you'll just fiddle around with your systems all day, something I have got a lot of experience with, unfortunately.

If you get anything out of this CarTalks, start a task management system if you don't have one already, start a personal project system, some kind of app, either it is notepad, a print journal, anything like that, start some kind of system. Then when you do start it, don't fiddle around with it forever. Remember that the whole goal of that is to get more things done, be better at time management, and achieving your goals of what you want to do. Don't get caught up in fiddling with settings constantly because take it from me, someone that has wasted countless hours of doing this over the years, it's just not worth it.

This post was brought to you by yet another #CarTalks YouTube video. Be sure to check out all of the other #CarTalks videos and other video content on the Adam the Automator YouTube channel!

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