No bullshit productivity advices

Two great advices on productivity today. All via Ryan Tomayko.

Do It Now by Aaron Swarz:

Recently, I came up with a really dumb system for handling my email: just do it. I’d start at the top of my inbox, answer the most recent email, and move on to the next one. No excuses. No matter what the email at the top was — no matter how difficult or awkward or unimportant, I had to answer it. I couldn’t move on to another email and come back to it later. I had to answer the most recent email, no matter what it was.

By the end of the day, I’d answered a month’s worth of email.


This doesn’t just apply to email, of course — it works for any todo list. But only if you say no to reordering, prioritizing, estimating deadlines, and doing the most important things first. Forget all that. Do it now.

How Software Engineers and Designers Can Increase Their Focus:

Q: Favorite web or mobile apps for getting focused?

A: I don’t use apps to get focused. Playing around with productivity apps is just another way to procrastinate. You become more productive by getting into the habit of doing actual work regularly, not by constantly thinking about how you can get more work done.

I don’t even use a to-do app. If something is important, I’ll remember it. If I have an idea I’m afraid I might forget, I set a reminder in my calendar on a date when I know I’ll have time to work on it. On that date, I’ll either work on it, discard it, or reschedule it.


Q: Any books you've read lately that inspired you?

A: I don’t read inspiring books. I find that such books give me a temporary high, but they don’t give me the power to actually follow through. In fact, I suspect these books often serve as a substitute for actual success, rather than as a way of helping people achieve success. By reading inspiring books, you can experience success vicariously; they free you from having to achieve things yourself.

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