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Reclaiming My Attention – Part 2

I have always been a productivity nerd. When I was in junior high, my father would buy books on cassette by authors such as Stephen Covey to listen to on his daily commute and, at some point, I started listening to them as well. I had a Franklin Day Planner in high school. And as […]

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Reclaiming My Attention

The most important productivity tool in my tool belt isn’t the system I use to manage my to-dos. It isn’t the style of notebook I use to capture daily notes. It isn’t the software platform I use to collaboratively manage my projects. All of those are subservient to a single element: my attention. The ability […]

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Future Thinking for 2021 (Part 2) – Developing Personal and Career Capital

One of my favorite productivity writers is Cal Newport, a computer science professor at Georgetown University. Before learning about digital minimalism, the perils of email, and “being so good they can’t ignore you,” I had been a struggling, but stubborn user of David Allen’s GTD workflow. But it was Newport’s re-envisioning of Allen’s protocols that […]

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January 2021 habit tracking

I use an old-school method of tracking my personal goals and habits that I’ve always enjoyed (seen above). This January, I had three goals for the month: In the morning, go outside and bring in the LA Times before starting breakfast. Journal or write for me (not for work) Shut down any work projects by […]

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The supposed pleasures of the chase

Cal Newport, computer scientist at Georgetown University, talks about how one successful college coach has survived (until now) without using email. “We might notice that our current commitment to unrelenting, uncontrolled, attention-devouring incoming communication is not necessarily the sine qua non of digital age productivity.” “Nick Saban Just Got Email” by Cal Newport Most of […]

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Let it go

Aisha S. Ahmad, assistant professor of political science at the University of Toronto, has an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education with some useful advice about productivity in the time of quarantine: “Know that you are not failing. Let go of all of the profoundly daft ideas you have about what you should be […]

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Puttering into the new year

As I putter around the office today in anticipation of the deluge that the next few weeks will bring, I keep thinking about this line from one of Marianne Moore’s poems: There is a great amount of poetry in unconscious fastidiousness. “Critics and Connoisseurs” from Selected Poems (1935)

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Horribly destructive habits start early

I’ve been striving to stop talking about how busy I am. It’s not easy: “How did we end up living like this? Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we do this to our children? When did we forget that we are human beings, not human doings? Whatever happened to a world in which […]

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Removing parts from the yak shaving machine

One of the goals I’ve been working on this year has been to gradually reduce the number of systems (read: networks, apps, channels, things-which-need-checking) in which I take an active role. Since my first foray into cobbling together tools like rss and bookmark managers circa 2006, I’ve long been fascinated by productivity-tech hacks. The result is […]

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Task blocking to get things done

I have long been a proponent of the GTD method for managing my to-dos, but recently I’ve been finding that it does very little to help me stay on top of my constantly growing project list and shrinking free time. problem #1: contexts The use of “contexts” has always helped me to prioritize what I ought […]