Producing Day 19: Sorta Productive, but Not?

Summarizing yesterday’s post:

  • I accepted that I can never be as fast, efficient, and disciplined as I want. Reflecting on that today, it’s probably because I expect and want things to happen as fast as the speed of thought, which basically means I don’t want to wait or go through the effort. I need to change my expectation to having things happen as fast as the speed of action, which is more realistic. And I guess I’m finding out what that speed is, for me at this point in the year, by monitoring my ratio of production to consumption.

  • There are two “producing” categories, which are (1) delivering tangible finished goods that I/others can readily use and (2) activities that assist the process in a direct way. The actual delivery gives me a boost of energy (yeah!), while the assisting activities (what I call “gathering”) tends to use-up energy.

  • There is one general “consuming” category, which I am lumping under the term “puttering”, which my friend Colleen defines as non-hurried doing of any non-mission-critical activity. She makes the distinction, though, that puttering is not simple consuming of material, but is (I believe) somewhat constructive in nature rather than purely comsumptive. I probably should use “puttering” and “consuming” as separate categories moving forward, keeping her distinction in mind. My term “gathering” might be more related to “puttering”, though in my mind gathering is project-specific, and puttering is more speculative, not necessarily tied to a specific task-at-hand.

  • Then there are the general energy drainers: “chores”, “maintenance”, and “interaction (with people)”. All of these types of tasks use up energy, but may offer some other reward. For example, maintenance doesn’t produce anything, but sometimes it feels good. Interacting with other people is highly rewarding, but it is also drains or disrupts my ability to focus; from past experiments with personal monitoring, I know I generally consume about 4-8 times as much “recharge/refocus” time to each time chunk of social interaction.

You’ll also notice I’ve moved away from using the paper timesheet from last week to using my regular Excel Time Sheet. There’s a place for using subcodes which I’m using for categories. I’ve also added a column where I can note whether the logged activity felt energizing or de-energizing. Here’s what Thursday’s report looks like: Productivity versus Consumption The pie chart is a little different from yesterday’s report in that I’m using HOURS instead of PERCENTAGES for each category. Out of the roughly 14-hour period, the productive tasks are PRODUCE and GATHER, which accounts for around a third of the day at 5.25 hours. I also did some necessary maintenance and chores, which helps me stay in a condition to be productive tomorrow. I spent the rest of the time, some 7 hours, PUTTERING and INTERACTING. I didn’t think yesterday was a particularly productive day, though I can’t tell you why without digging deeper…

  • Lack of closure on a big delivery? Nothing I did yesterday resulted in a BIG drop or EPIC CHECKOFF. Effort was expended. That is good. Massive return on investment? No received; check again tomorrow! I can only take a certain amount of this before I start feeling antsy, perhaps.

  • I took some time to be social, which was enjoyable but fleeting. I still was preoccupied by work, and the feeling that I wasn’t getting enough done.

  • If I’m making any progress, it’s on this blog series. I feel like I’m gaining insights and am chaining them together somehow. This experimental approach feels pretty good, and is rewarding because I have DATA and a sense of REVELATION that can be converted into SOMETHING COOL, someday.


p>It’s now around 1230PM, just after noon. I’ve eaten some organic eggs and break sausage to get some energy (car isn’t due to be ready until this evening). There’s a few changes I want to make to my categories:

  • PUTTER will split into PUTTER and CONSUME, per Colleen’s definition (as I understand it).
  • CHORE will go away, because this really is a form of PRODUCE; it’s just work I’m doing that I’m not particularly enthused by. I will use the energy column instead to designate how I feel about it.