Make it fun

For many years I’m fond of productivity and its inner workings and I have one trick that works particularly well, described by my status in messengers:

If it’s not fun, don’t do it! …or, make it fun!

When I think of it, I’m most productive when I enjoy what I’m doing, so, to increase my productivity I have to make it more enjoyable. One important aspect of enjoying anything is seeing the progress. Now, to see progress I have to have at least some kind of plan, and for me written works best.

If I have a plan, and still feel some kind of reticence about starting working on it—a phenomenon known as procrastination—it means that I’m not ready. And I found there are two aspects to being ready:

  1. there is something I don’t know something about that task;
  2. I think that that task is not worth doing this particular way, or at all.

First is purely technical: so I solve it googling until I find what I need, or at least come things to try.

The second is a bit more subtle and many times harder to overcome. For example, if on the team there was a decision made which I consider wrong, I will have a hard time starting working to implement that decision. Now I have two ways to get past that:

  • propose a better plan;
  • take it as an experiment.

First usually implies writing a detailed plan in a message in our Assembla space, or an email. This turns out to be a really good idea because when I write it to people that I’m trying to persuade, I have to really consider every detail, and also explain it in a way that makes it easy for others to understand too.

The better plan—by definition—has to explain why the original one is bad, and for this I have to study it really well, and explain it clearly and concisely. If it’ll get too long or too hard to understand, I risk it being read “diagonally”, which is not what I want.

Many times, somewhere along the last two paragraphs, I change my mind. One reason may be that I got to understand the original plan much better and see its good parts, or because I got to understand my own plan much better and now I don’t see it giving much benefit over the original.

If after writing my better plan I still see it as as better—but I don’t get agreement from my audience—I change my perspective to the original plan: I take it as an experiment. I consider that maybe along the way I will learn why the original plan is actually better. Or I will confirm mine being better—either way all’s well.

To let go of my plan, I just step back and recognize that a plan is just a plan, by no means a written plan is what it says it is, it’s just a prediction on how I think things might work from what I think I know now. When I fully transition to this new perspective, I can fully embrace it and enjoy it. And now I get payed to do what I enjoy doing. Isn’t this a good way to work?