November 06, 2022

For someone that is not completely hopeless at being productive, I’ve come to the realisation that I’m actually quite hopeless at getting things done.

Let me explain.

I had the idea for this blog post swirling around in my mind and made the mental decision to start writing it. Great let’s go!

But before I could even open my text editor I did the following:

  • went to pee
  • put deodorant on (I’d forgotten this morning)
  • found some music to “get me in the mood for working”
  • got distracted on my youtube home page
  • found a song I liked
  • realised the song was too distracting and turned it off
  • opened up Spotify (because maybe it was Youtube and not the song distracting me)
  • picked a different song
  • got distracted a 2nd time, stopped the music a 2nd time
  • opened my editor
  • fixed a typo on a different post
  • actually started writing the first couple of words of this new post

That’s 11 different things, just to get to the one thing I did actually want to do. And I’m pretty sure if I always kept track, this would probably be a pretty good innings for me.

And there you go, I’m already checking something on my phone.
The music has found it’s way back on.
And now I’m contemplating grabbing a coffee so I’m fully caffeinated for work.

Am I really some sort of crack addict who can’t sit still?

I couldn’t be in a better place to do productive work. I’m sitting in an empty coworking space on a Sunday with no plans or obligations until tomorrow.

I’m generally a guy who does good work.
I’m a software engineer at a medium sized company. I get a lot of important code written. Deadlines are usually met. My manager is generally pretty happy with how I’m doing. I generally feel more like a help than a hindrance.

Outside of work, I think I’m able to manage my life fairly well.
My flat is usually pretty clean, but not spotless. Sometimes I might file my taxes or pay the bills a little late. And I’m usually the one to book flights once they’ve already gone up in price.

But it’s not a total disaster, I’m just not good at delivering on the big life changes I want to make.
The big projects that require all of the little subtasks to be ticked off. They seem to be the hardest.

I’ve come to realise I’m probably the normal amount of disorganised. It’s not that bad, but there’s definitely room for improvement.

I do use a todo app to help me keep on top of things, quire.io. It’s basically a clone of trello that I set up when I had the idea to run my life like an engineering sprint.

It’s kind of useful, but I usually feel that it’s only as good as the effort I put into it.
If I’m feeling super focused, I can get some of the things done. If I’m lazy or don’t look at it, then it just becomes stale and feels like a massive chore to get back in to.

I think the problem is that I’m using Quire as my system when really it’s a tool.

It’s the same way engineering teams use trello (the tool), but bring the system (kanban, scrum, etc). Companies stay on track by making the system someone’s job - the scrum master or the product manager. And that person chases down what needs to be done, organises the backlog and prioritises. They might not be writing code or drawing up new designs, but they’re making sure those things get done.

But I don’t have a strong system or a dedicated person to be my personal assistant and keep me on task. So I end up doing the work twice.
Once in organising it, and again in actually getting it done.

So in my infinite wisdom (and not procrastination), I’ve decided that I’m going to make a todo app (classic) that will be less of a tool and more of a system to guide me in the right direction.

Updates soon - assuming I can keep on task.

Rhyd ddu path

Photo is from the start of the Rhyd ddu path of Mt Snowdon, Wales. I managed to run from my hotel to the top and down again after work a few months ago. One of my more productive days.