The Productivity Accrual Bucket: First Thoughts

I’ve been working on this personal productivity approach that I’ve nicknamed the gathering model, which itself is based on the idea of me having a “fruit orchard” instead of a “factory”. I wander around the fruit farm every day and look for ripening fruit. Maybe I see a fruit tree that could benefit from some attention to encourage ripening. Maybe something else catches my eye that might benefit the fruit farm as a whole, like building a roadside fruit stand, and I put some energy into that. This strikes me as an idyllic model that fits my unpredictable bursts of energy.

The ideal gathering model, in my mind, is one that does not have explicit tasks or time management requirements. To make this work as a productivity system, I instead have my accrual bucket. I know, it’s a terrible name, but the idea is that instead of checking off todos and blocking out time, I am counting fruit that I’ve gathered. What counts as fruit are tangible, shareable, reusable things that I have done. The daily goal is to then make sure that there is SOMETHING new in the bucket every day. I’ve been using a Google spreadsheet as my bucket, itemizing everything that I’ve collected so far.

Accrual Bucket My impression after a week of maintaining the accrual bucket is that it feels good, and the format I’m using now is helpful for daily review. It’s successful in the following ways:

  • It gives me a concise way to contemplate what I’ve done, which gives rise to a feeling of accomplishment. It’s like I’m gathering CLUES to the future, and every time I look at the log I ponder what opportunities might be drawn.
  • It also provides me a way of quickly finding what I did; it is like a log or inventory. I have links on the side that will tell me where to find the thing I did, if it doesn’t fit in its entirety (in the case of tips, for example) in the spreadsheet itself.
  • It’s easy to access as a bookmarked link on my browser, so it is nearly always available.
  • As I see the bucket accrue more things, the desire to accrue even more gives me a little boost of excitement. The low bar of “one accrual a day” that I’ve set seems to be a reasonable threshold that also enables the allure of “exceeding the threshold/acquiring more wealthy bucket things”.

It’s important to note that while everything in the bucket is a tangible/reusable thing, they are not necessarily ready for public consumption. The bucket also contains tips, process improvements, and subcomponents that might fit into a larger scheme. I have a different container that I’m calling the product combobulator which will be where I keep track of “made” products, and this is the one that might have the tasks and time management elements. For my daily productivity, though, I like the gathering model.

I am not sure how the combobulator will work, but I suspect that at some point a critical mass will be achieved with what I collect and THEN the motivational forces will put me into execution mode. We shall see.

If you’re curious enough to check-in on the live accrual bucket, here’s the public link to the spreadsheet.