Like cures for hiccups, everyone seems to have their own panacea for productivity. Of course, as you may have guessed, none of them work quite as well as this one!

I’ve seen many approaches and methodologies that are supposed to increase productivity and efficiency. From Lean to Getting Things Done to Pomodoro, they all work quite well. Many of us use them, many of us benefit from them, and many of us keep coming back for more. So why is there such a market for advice? Because we are never satisfied with a good system, so we continue searching for a better one.

So why do we ultimately spend hours to shave minutes from our processes? Because trying new things makes us feel effective, and in truth we probably do work a little harder when we’re excited about a new process. It’s also another chance for finding that holy grail to handle all of the work that feels like work, leaving only the fun parts. So we buy books and pay for workshops to learn to do more in less time. Each new technique is our ticket to win the productivity lottery, but like the real lottery, we know it’s not actually going to happen.

Those books and workshops will show you what steps to take to organize your life and streamline areas of your work. They are undoubtedly helpful, but they will not do the work for you. If you need get a report together for your boss, just do it. No book is going to type it up for you. Need to cold-call twenty customers to get feedback on that fancy new plugin? Do it. At the end of the day, it matters less about how you do the work than it does that the work gets done. Accept that it’s not going to be perfect, but that you’ll also produce results. Instead of wasting time on having some hazy foresight for the whole project, use your time wisely by fixing the minor issues that emerge after execution, even with the ‘perfect’ process.

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