Reflection Isn’t That Thing In The Mirror

Have you ever struggled with time management?

I’m constantly struggling with time management. I’m sure there are people out there that are just “on” 100% of the time, effortlessly bouncing from one high-priority task to the next. They roam free, unencumbered by the follies of lesser workers, like GTD unicorns…

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I dream of one day finding some zen-like state of getting things done, but I’m not there yet and I frankly doubt I ever will be. Time management is a process and like all processes, there will almost always be an opportunity to find and extract new efficiencies.

If you aren’t trying to find those extra efficiencies in your own time management process, you’ve either got it all figured out (unicorns!) or you aren’t trying all that hard.

At the core of improvement is reflection. If you don’t reflect you’ll never understand what or how to improve, right?

For me, Trello has become my favorite tool for reflection. Every week – on Sunday night or Monday morning if I forget – I toss all of the cards I finished the previous week into a unique list into a “Done” board.

Every week I see that scroll bar get smaller as more cards end up in the list. It’s a game at this point. How many cards can you get into that “done” queue?

A welcome side effect has been that I want to track everything, too, because I want the passive credit for getting it done! I’m keeping better track of tasks because of it.

It’s a low-friction means of reflection for me. I say low-friction because there are some widely-accepted, more granular methods of reflecting on productivity. Consider the Pomodoro Technique for instance.

I tried using the Pomodoro Technique at one point and just found it… well, disconcerting. Every time I get interrupted I have to void the Pomodoro? My office turned into an assembly line of failed Pomodoros so effective Henry Ford would have wanted my secrets. (Yes, there’s a lesson there that isn’t lost on me. Baby steps.)

But hey… I tried, I learned, and I moved on without too much hand-wringing.

I say this knowing full well that one day I’ll move on from Trello. Some other tool will make more sense, and I’ll probably drive toward that granularity – and I’ll become more efficient for it.

Maybe you’re like me and you aren’t ready for granular reflection, but even a 40,000-foot-view solution can help to extract productivity in your day-to-day. If the hardcore methodologies are too much, dial it back. Start somewhere, because even a small amount of transparency in throughput can yield results.

But hey, don’t take my word for it…

 
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