Tag Archives: to do list

Productivity Prep: a Form of Procrastination?

We spend a lot of time thinking about being productive. We have lists and notebooks and apps where we keep our goals and ideas. We follow YouTube channels and subscribe to blogs and perform Google searches, all in the hopes of finding that one thing that might inspire us or motivate us to be more productive.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Lately, I’ve had the sneaking suspicion that I’m using all of these things as a form of procrastination, all while tricking myself into believing that every minute of my organization and research is a form of productivity in and of itself. And, if used in moderation, I guess it would be.

However, I think I spend more time preparing to be productive than I do producing anything. If I spend 90% of my time in preparation, but only 10% in creation, am I actually doing myself any favors?

So my goal for the rest of this month is this: instead of binging on productivity podcasts or spending countless hours optimizing Notion, I’m going to resist the urge and pick up something to do instead. God knows, I won’t have to look very far to get started. I’ll just start with an item on an already-existing list, and dive right in.

First stop: Text the 5 people I’d like to have as guest teachers in my studio.

I have three questions for you:

  1. Do you think you spend too much time in the stages leading up to productivity?
  2. What’s first on your list of things to tackle today?
  3. Do you have any tips for keeping your nose to the grindstone?

Ten Minute To-Do List

Or maybe I should call it the Ten Minute Miracle Cure, since I have accomplished so much in the last two days.

My First Problem

I tell myself that I need to be relaxed in order to do a good job on a project. As a result, I feel that I can’t work on a project unless I have a immense span of free time in front of me. Since that never happens in real life, it seems like I’m always struggling to get things done. Sometimes I wait until the last minute, when I absolutely have to make time to get it done. But then other things get pushed out of the way, and I get behind on things like laundry or homeschooling.

My Second Problem

I have too much to do. I usually email myself reminders or leave messages from other people in my inbox so I won’t forget to go to a function or get something done. Since Christmas, my inbox has only been completely empty twice. Yesterday morning, I must have had fifteen messages that I was afraid to delete. Today I’m down to four, and I’m planning to mark all of those off by the end of the day. I generally have so many things that I have to do, I never even get around to the things that I want to do.

My Solution

I made a list of everything that I would like to do every day. It’s quite lengthy, and some of the things on it never even get considered since they aren’t important enough to take time from other projects. But then I told myself that I only had to spend ten minutes a day on each activity. Now usually, I need tons of time to even think about writing or playing the piano, but yesterday, I approached every activity as though I were only going to spend ten minutes doing it. To be honest, I didn’t expect to get much done. I figured that my brain wouldn’t even switch gears fast enough to accomplish any real work; but I was getting so far behind, that I needed to try something new.

The Twist

I did just fine. My brain kicked in immediately, and I was crossing things off my list left and right. I was that close to getting so many things done (within minutes), but all those weeks I kept telling myself I needed more time, so I never got started. Remember that old proverb, “Well begun is half done”? Well, it’s true! Also, I found that once I had started, I would continue a few extra minutes to finish up, especially when I could see the light at the end of the tunnel!

An Added Benefit

You know those things that never, ever get done? You know, like piano practice or teaching your son how to read an analog clock? Well, for things like this, a little goes a long way. Better to spend a few minutes a day reviewing than to try to teach everything all at once, and then dreading the next time you have to do it! (Your kids will appreciate it too!)


I’ve also added a few limitations to my to-do list. A sort of “not to-do list,” for lack of a better term. I’ve limited myself on checking blog stats, checking email, and reading posts on Facebook. Speaking of which, I definitely need a new strategy for Facebook. I don’t want to miss anything, so I generally spend an hour or two a day reading through all of the status updates. Does anyone have a good method for staying caught up without wasting a bunch of time?

If anyone wants an example of my 10-minute to-do list, let me know, and I’ll upload it. I’ve arranged things according to priority, but I left off the things that I do everyday as a matter of course (such as Bible reading, chores, etc.)