I’m so busy doing this, I don’t have time to do that… A perennial problem, isn’t it?


So, I have re-read Getting Things Done, and revisited Deep Work, and The Power of Full Engagement. I’m working on my own scheduling/productivity challenges. Like you, and everyone else, I have plenty to do and not enough time to do it all. Even when I am really productive, churning out the work at a pretty good pace, and feeling good about my focus on getting my work done, I always feel just a touch, or much more than a touch, behind. It is…maddening.

But, here are some current tips that I follow, which I have incorporated, from my reading.

#1 – I’ve moved back to a combination paper/notebook plus technology system. My calendar is all iCloud on my three Apple devices. But my to-do lists, and my “category” folders, are all in my notebook.

Yes, I have returned to the good-old-days of a physical planner. And, you know what? – it’s easier, clearer, faster, and more visually available. (I use what is now called Time System. I first used it years ago when it was Time Design, and I went to a training class taught by…David Allen, before his Getting Things Done era).

I don’t know why, but this return to a physical notebook has given me a more tangible sense of “I’m getting stuff done” in a way that feels more satisfying.

#2 – I’ve created two “in-boxes.” This is a tangible practice reinforced by David Allen. One in-box is physical, onDataBank my desk. The other is a section in my “DataBank,” in my planner notebook. (see the photo for my current categories. Definitely subject to change).

#3 – I’ve started printing out key e-mails that I can’t/don’t answer immediately. They get folded, and placed in the in-box area in my notebook planner. This is a short stack; I don’t let it build up.

#4 – I set my cube timer, and do timed blocks of work. (Kind of like Cal Newport’s “time blocks.” Read about his “Time Blocking” here.  Mr. Newport wrote the book Deep Work).

There are other things I am doing. But, being productive, fully productive, is always a challenge and a struggle, isn’t it?

my magic timer cube
my magic timer cube

And, still, I feel like “I am so busy doing this that I don’t have time to do that.”

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