Two personal productivity gems from Michael Motta

Loved these two bits of advice on motivation for getting tasks complete from the book “Long Term Person, Short Term World: Sustainable Productivity in a World of Limited Time, Unlimited Tasks, and Endless Interruptions” by Michael Motta:

“Do something ridiculously small. Writing 1,000 words of your novel is intimidating. Writing 500 words? Less intimidating. Writing 250 words? Less intimidating still. Writing 100 words? You can do that. Writing 10 words? Anyone can do that. Write one sentence. Wash one dish. Make one phone call or write one e-mail. One. You can also work for a ridiculously short amount of time (I keep a one minute hourglass sand timer on my desk for such times.)”

“Compete with yourself. Gamify. There are all sorts of ways to turn tasks into games. There are articles all over the web and apps too. An easy thing I’ve experimented with is assigning point values to my actions, more for the most impactful actions, less for the more trivial, negative for bad habits. The goal, every day, is to beat the day before, and beat the total average. I pull this one out from time to time.”

Absolutely brilliant stuff because they’re so damned simple. I never thought of trying either one of these but I can see both of them being insanely useful. The second seems like a great tip on trying to stick to a healthier diet. The first I need to try just about any of those times where I know I should be doing something at night but am sitting around doing nothing because I’m so tired from the day.

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