I recently read a blog post on paper versus digital to-do lists. There were quite a few useful suggestions in the article itself and in the comments concerning the benefits of different paper planners, apps, and so forth. I for one love a good to-do list. There is one by my computer every day as I work. It’s incredibly old-fashioned, just a bullet list on a notepad. As I read the list of apps and planners in the blog though, I had the impulse to start searching for all the items suggested. “Slow down,” I admonished myself, “you already have a system that works just fine.”
Although that post may have incited my search, this problem isn’t a result of that particular blog post, of course. There are so many times we see a tweet, look at a friend’s new planner, or come across an article that promises to teach us how to get more done in less time. With that discovery, we’re off, in hot pursuit of the new, shiny time management tool.
I know I’m not the only one. You go online or to the store to find some kind of “fix” that will make you more organized, productive, successful, happy, or what have you. Next thing you know, an hour has passed and although you’ve read 10 reviews of the new app that will take your workflow to the next level, you still don’t have a better solution than the one you were originally using. You’ve also wasted an hour that could have been spent working.
I say if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. A search for new systems isn’t useful if your current system is working just fine. Sometimes the quest for productivity is nothing more than a waste of your time.
The time you spend looking for ways to write faster is time you could be writing. Don’t let the time spent searching for solutions become a high-level procrastination technique. If you have a system that works, stick with it. Could there potentially be a better system out there? Probably. Do you have the time to find it, implement it, and wait to see results? It’s likely you don’t.
When I work with my clients on time management, I generally avoid suggesting radical changes to their current routines. First, I avoid it because people are generally resistant to change. Second, the majority of the time the systems they have in place are not awful; they just need tweaking. If your quest for new strategies to achieve productivity comes from a fear that you’re doing something terribly wrong, let me assure you that you probably are not.