Productivity (and time wasters)

Over the last few weeks, as I have worked (seemingly) day and night (literally and figuratively) to get my online GMAT classes started, I have been paying a lot of attention to the amount of work I get done with respect to the time I spend on it.

I have so far not been so satisfied with the end result.

That was when I decided to seek out systems that could help me improve, and almost the first one I found was David Allen’s GTD. While it is too early to comment on how effective it has been for me, I am happy with the improvements I am seeing, slowly but surely.

To this end, I also started to use the online tool “Producteev“, basically a “task manager”, but with workspaces that you can customize according to your needs. (It is free for upto 2 users currently.) I have setup my GTD system using Producteev, and use Astrid on my phone to keep me on track.

I heard somewhere that to form a habit, you need to do the same thing everyday for 21 straight days.

Here’s to hoping I manage to keep things on track.

But even as I implement this system, I realize that sometimes, what I initially classify as “time-wasting”, comes back around as a productive piece of work.

Case in point, I (used to?) waste a lot of time on twitter. But it was one of those random tweets that I saw, and clicked through that led me to this competition for short stories. This competition stirred something in me, and I dug up my old notes for a story that I had imagined many weeks ago, worked hard on it and finished it. And in the process, discovered that I enjoyed writing short stories almost as much as I enjoyed reading them!

But had I not been on twitter, had I not clicked through, had I not been gallivanting direction-less in the vast cyberspace, I would have not gone down this road, and might never have discovered a joy.

I wonder if there is a system for balancing direction-less wandering and directed effort.