Ditch the “To Do” List & Other Productivity Tips

Productivity: You’re doing it wrong. At least according to this article on The Week, which insists that you can be an efficient, impressive worker and still get home to watch the local news, if that’s what you want.

Cal’s five big tips:

  1. To-do lists are evil. Schedule everything.
  2. Assume you’re going home at 5:30, then plan your day backwards.
  3. Make a plan for the entire week.
  4. Do very few things, but be awesome at them.
  5. Do less shallow work — focus on the deep stuff.

Makes sense to me. Entirely by coincidence, I started cursing the tyranny of To Do lists and experimenting with scheduling instead right before I read the article, so I feel weirdly validated. As we’ve discussed here, in addition to Billfold work, I’m freelance, meaning my days are lacking in structure but packed with assignments. At any given point, I never know how many to accept.

Up til now, I’ve done okay with a To Do list separated out into four quadrants {Urgent & Important / Urgent but Unimportant / Not Urgent but Important / Not Urgent & Not Important} which apparently originates with Eisenhower??

Tell-Tale Signs You Need to Find a New Job

The other day, a friend forwarded me a job posting he saw that offered mediocre pay and no benefits, and we both expressed our disbelief at what some companies expected people to do for very little in return. I went back to work, and then after thinking about it for another moment, sent my friend another email: "Wait, are you thinking about quitting your job?"