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28 Signs You’re Becoming a Productivity Junkie

28 Signs You’re Becoming a Productivity Junkie
Todo List

If you are a frequent visitor of Lifehack.org, then it is probably
safe to say that you thrive on productivity tips, lifehacks,
the latest tech tools, and all things GTD. However, how do
you know when you’ve crossed over to becoming a
productivity junkie? This article will point out some of
the warning signs to look for.

1. You have a shortcut created for every program on your
computer.

2. You try out a new productivity tool at least once a week.

3. LifeHack.org has become your second home.

4. You get excited about crossing off one of your to-dos.

5. You organize your desk at least once a day.

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6. You have your RSS feeds organized by priority and
filtered by keywords.

7. Your friends think you’re in a cult called GTD.

8. You’re training your kids to become future GTD masters.

9. You argue with your friends about which GTD system is the
best.

10. A few hours away from your PDA puts you into
withdrawals.

11. You’ve learned every Gmail hack in the book and you now
wear a t-shirt that proclaims your official title of Gmail
master.

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12. You have performed in-depth studies to find out when
your peak cycles of productivity occur throughout the day.

13. The timer has become your new best friend.

14. You know exactly which type of music puts you at the
highest level of productivity.

15. An empty inbox gives you a pleasant satisfaction
that you still can’t quite explain to your family.

16. You plan on naming all of your future kids after
productivity principles: Pareto, Zen, and of course, the
great GTD master himself, David Allen.

17. You have read “Getting Things Done” multiple times and
every page is covered with notes and references.

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18. Whenever a friend or family has a birthday, you give
them a productivity gift basket composed of a planner,
calendar, to-do lists, and your favorite productivity
books.

19. You’ve delegated all of your lower-level tasks to your
kids. They now run all of your errands while you work on
your most important to-dos.

20. You reminisce about the bygone days of procrastination.

21. You listen to educational audio books in the car to
insure that you don’t miss a minute of potential
productivity.

22. Your closet is organized by color and all of the most
worn clothing is placed in the most convenient and
reachable spots.

23. You have over clocked all of the toothbrushes in the
house. Your kids are thrilled with the idea but your wife
has now put all of her personal belongings under lock and
key.

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24. Friends and family are beginning to set up appointments
for allotted times in order to fit into your schedule.

25. On your next vacation, you are planning to take the
whole family to a GTD seminar.

26. You’ve started your own book club for all thing related
to productivity and GTD.

27. You’re now starting to wonder if your fascination with
productivity is actually making you less productive.

28. You’re thinking about joining a support group to
recover from this addiction.

Kim Roach is a productivity junkie who blogs regularly at
The Optimized Life. Read her articles on 50 Essential
GTD Resources
, How to Have a 46 Hour Day, Do You Need
a Braindump
, What They Don’t Teach You in School,
and Free Yourself From the Inbox.

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Last Updated on January 13, 2020

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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