The Peace & Joy Challenge: Week 52

The Peace & Joy Challenge: Week 52

The Peace and Joy Challenge: Take a little time this Christmas to make sure you and your children are stress-free. The year of organized homeschooling has come to a close and now we can have a peaceful, joyful Christmas. More than that, I hope that by employing these challenges, you have enjoyed a more peaceful year. If you didn’t get to many of the challenges this year, there is always next year! Plan 15 minutes into your calendar during the weekdays to take action and next year can be THE year for a more organized homeschool. Here’s what to do this week:

#1 Discuss stress and God’s peace

Go over this short explanation of stress with your children. Talk about how you each experience stress. One interesting new research finding is that if we don’t believe that stress is negatively affecting our health, it doesn’t affect our well-being, even if stress levels are high.

While the word stress isn’t in the Bible, the Bible has a lot to say about fear, worry, and the peace of God. Find a verse to memorize that will help you when dealing with stress.

#2 Christmas Eve

#3 Christmas Day

#4 Discuss the joys of the season

I have a journal that I used to record the best memories of that year’s Christmas. Sadly, I got away from the tradition. But this year, I will ask the kids to complete this journaling printable I created. It will be fun to read them together in future years.

Best Christmas memories, gratitude, printable, journal, handwriting

I have a little bonus mission for you to end the year.

Review the past year and set new goals.

Tom Dixon wrote about goal setting for Psychowith6 and Michael Hyatt has created free videos around goal setting. I love to set goals because they can turn what feels like a humdrum existence into an exciting adventure. I want my children to know how to set goals as well. I absolutely LOVE these student goals forms from Baking, Crafting & Teaching.

Finally, I want to wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year. It’s been a privilege to take this organized homeschool journey with you. Do you know someone who could benefit from this series? Please share it with them.

Follow Dr. Melanie Wilson @psychowith6’s board Organized Homeschool on Pinterest.

Here is the December 2014 printable Organized Homeschool calendar and a list of previous challenges:

December 2014 Organized homeschool calendar

Organized Homeschool Challenge

Week 1: Daily Devotions Challenge

Week 2: Daily Routine Challenge

Week 3: To-Do List Challenge

Week 4: Memory Keeping Challenge

Week 5: The Decluttering Challenge

Week 6: The Organized Computer Challenge

 Week 7: The Marriage of Your Dreams Challenge

Week 8: The Confident Parent Challenge

Week 9: The Extended Family Challenge

Week 10: The Bring on the Spring Challenge

Week 11: The Spring Cleaning Challenge

Week 12: The Organized Easter Challenge

Week 13: The Serve the Church Challenge

Week 14: The Chore Challenge

Week 15: The Organize Your Finances Challenge

Week 16: The Curriculum Challenge

Week 17: The Friendship Challenge

Week 18: The Family Celebrations Challenge

Week 19: The Organized Clothing Challenge

Week 20: The Organized Vacation Challenge

Week 21: The Organized Summer Challenge

Week 22: The Outdoor Activity Challenge

Week 23: The Used Curriculum Challenge

Week 24: The Homeschool Space Challenge

Week 25: The Goal Setting Challenge

Week 26: The Homeschool Planning Challenge

Week 27: The Bible Time Challenge

Week 28: The Special Study Prep Challenge

Week 29: The Extra-Curricular Challenge

Week 30: The Core Curriculum Prep Challenge

Week 31: The Elective Curriculum Challenge

Week 32: The Back to School Challenge

Week 33: The Fall Bucket List Challenge

Week 34: The Organized Bedroom Challenge

Week 35: The Clean Out the Pantry Challenge

Week 36: The Meal Planning Challenge

Week 37: The Grocery Shopping Challenge

Week 38: The Organized Kitchen Challenge

Week 39: The Freezer Cooking Challenge

Week 40: The Hospitality Challenge

Week 41: The Blog or Business Challenge

Week 42: The Hobby Challenge

Week 43: The Charity Challenge

Week 44: The Thanksgiving Challenge

Week 45: The Christmas Plan Challenge

Week 46: The Christmas Decorating Challenge

Week 47: The Christmas Shopping Challenge

Week 48: The Home Ec Challenge

Week 49: The Hot Spot Challenge

Week 50: The Curriculum Review Challenge

Week 51: The Company Clean Challenge

 

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Can Steve Kamb’s Do it Now Help You Get More Done?

Can Steve Kamb’s Do it Now Help You Get More Done?

GTD, productivity, Do it Now, Nerd Fitness, Steve Kamb

This is Week 35 of a Year of Living Productively

I tested whether Steve Kamb’s Do it Now approach could help me get more done. As you might surmise, any routine task that occurred to me to do, I did immediately, as much as I was able. I did not do tasks outside of their assigned time. Scroll down to last week’s post for details.

How Do it Now Saved My Sanity This Week

  • Made me realize I’m a procrastinator. I really didn’t think I was. After all, I quit doing those stay-up-all-night-to-meet-a-deadline jags years ago. But what I still do is put off one task in favor of a more pleasant one. For example, rather than clean up (with the kids’ help) right after lunch or dinner, I do social media stuff. I tell myself I’ll get to it as soon as I’m done. I don’t think I have to tell you how that usually works out. Acknowledging that I’m a procrastinator helped me think of appropriate interventions.
  • Helped me recognize the source of most of my productivity problems. I would have admitted that I put some tasks off until later before this week. But I would have denied that the areas where I still struggle were related. They are. It really doesn’t matter what systems or hacks I put into place if I’m not willing to do what needs to be done (or what I said I’d do) now.
  • Saved me time and my self-esteem. There is no doubt in my mind that doing things when you think of them takes less time than doing them later. I demonstrated that to myself this week. As I saved more time, I even felt better about myself. Deep down I know it’s a stupid thing to do to put off the inevitable.

How Do it Now Made Me Crazy This Week

  • Hated admitting the truth. Hearing the Narrator’s voice say “Do it now” didn’t bother me at all. What bothered me was hearing my own voice saying, “See what you have to deal with because you didn’t do it now?”
  • Wasn’t able to resolve the problem in a week. My tendency of putting things off (even for a few hours) impacts every area of my life. It’s been a little discouraging to realize that it’s going to take a while to change this pervasive habit.
  • Sometimes difficult to decide on using it. Most of the time I knew which things should be done “now” and which should be saved for later. But sometimes I wondered if I should take a little extra time to put things away as I went to start a scheduled task or not. It probably wasn’t as big as a concern as I would have thought, however.

Did Do it Now Help Me Get Things Done?

Yes, but I have work to do. If I change this very bad habit of mine, I think the potential for increased productivity is greater than with any other hack I’ve tested. The question is, can I change it?

**UPDATE**

I think I’ve gotten better with this, but I could benefit from watching the Do It Now video regularly. It’s definitely a very effective approach for many regular tasks.

Steven Aitchison, productivity hacks, morning person

The Productivity Approach I’ll Be Using for Week 36

This week I’ll be testing Steven Aitchison’s Early Riser Approach. Rather than rising at my typical 6 a.m. or later (my schedule hasn’t been as routine lately), I will wake up at 5 a.m. so I can add an hour’s work in the morning. I will attempt to get the same 7 hours’ worth of sleep by going to bed an hour earlier.

The concept. Steven claims 5 benefits of rising early which include productivity and time to work on life goals. I am wanting to complete a first volume in a new curriculum I’m writing and rising earlier is one approach I’ve considered toward achieving this challenging goal. The advantages of working at this time are no distractions. No one else will be up! The potential disadvantage is that I will not be on the same schedule as my husband. He has said he is game for me to give it a week’s test. We’ll see if he helps or hinders me. 😉

Steven gets just five hours of sleep a night and argues that we can train our bodies to require less sleep. I agree to some extent. I used to require 8 hours nightly and have trained myself to do well on 7. Maybe it’s what Steven would call “lack of training” that contributes to my belief that I need all 7 of those hours, but regardless, I plan to keep them.

Steven emphasizes the importance of gradually making the change to rising earlier (and/or requiring less sleep) and I agree. I get up at 5:45 fairly often, so I don’t think it will be a huge shock to get up at 5, but time will tell.

If you’d like to join me this week, here’s what you do. Read the 5 benefits of rising early, decide on what time you’d like to get up (and how to stay up!), and whether you’ll break it in slowly or not. Make sure you’re motivated by knowing exactly how you’ll use the extra time.

To see if rising early helped me get more done, click here.

Are you on Google+? Follow me here.

Here are the links to the productivity hacks I’ve tried so far:

A Year of Living Productively

Week 1: Paper To-Do List

Week 2: Covey’s Quadrants

Week 3: Routines

Week 4: Paper Planner

Week 5: SMEMA

Week 6: Guilt Hour

Week 7: Envision Ideal Day

Week 8: Do it Tomorrow

Week 9: Pomodoro

Week 10: Time Warrior

Week 11: Scheduling

Week 12: The Repeat Test

Week 13: Personal Kanban

Week 14: Eat That Frog

Week 15: Vacation

Week 16: David Seah’s 7:15AM Ritual

Week 17: Another Simple and Effective Method

Week 18: Daily/Weekly/Monthly To-Do List

Week 19: Ultimate Time Management System

Week 20: Getting Things Done

Week 21: Time Blocking

Week 22: Morning Ritual

Week 23: Beat the Week

Week 24: Productivity Ritual

Week 25: Make it Happen in 10 Minutes

Week 26: Focus & Relief List

Week 27: Accountability Chart

Week 28: Limiting Choices

Week 29: Zen to Done

Week 30: Heatmapping

Week 31: Gamification

Week 32: The 12 Week Year

Week 33: David Seah’s Ten for Ten

Week 34: David Seah’s Emergent Task Planner

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Can David Seah’s Emergent Task Planner Help You Get More Done?

Can David Seah’s Emergent Task Planner Help You Get More Done?

David Seah, productivity, time management

This is Week 34 of a Year of Living Productively

This week I tested whether David Seah’s Emergent Task Planner could help me get more done. I pre-planned 3 tasks and added more as they “emerged.” I also estimated how much time the tasks would take and scheduled some of the pre-planned tasks. Scroll to the bottom of last week’s post for details.

How The Emergent Task Planner Saved My Sanity This Week

  • Got me thinking about my MITs again. I’ve gotten away from thinking about the most important tasks to accomplish each day. The Emergent Task Planner (ETP) definitely helped me narrow down my list of want to and must do’s.
  • Reminded me to be realistic. I really wasn’t far off in terms of estimating how much time my tasks would take, but that was AFTER I’d written them down. My usual approach is to live in lala land, imagining I can “get caught up” in one day. hahaha
  • Gave me a place to write. I didn’t do this until later in the week, but I really enjoyed brainstorming on the extra lines provided. I drafted a terrific blog post idea. No, I don’t think that’s the point of the extra space, but I was shying away from the form because of perfectionism. Feeling free to take notes on it made it much more appealing.

How The Emergent Task Planner Made Me Crazy This Week

  • Couldn’t keep track of the paper. It got better toward the end of the week, but at first, it was really annoying to realize that I’d left the form on a different floor of the house. I didn’t feel free to just work without it as I have with other paper approaches because of the time tracking issue. I knew I would have no idea how much time I actually spent without referring to the form before starting a task.
  • Cramped by the task ordering. I don’t think I did the tasks in order any day this week. I didn’t feel it mattered so much within the first three tasks, but I was doing tasks that emerged first and didn’t feel this was in the spirit of the form. Maybe I’m wrong, but in any case, it made the form less appealing for me.
  • My inner rebel. It seemed that as soon as I committed to doing a task this week, that was it: I wouldn’t do it. It seemed to be my inner rebel rearing her ugly head. She may have had enough of all this productivity hacking! Either that, or I was just really tired. I gave myself permission to let things go. I’m OK with that, except in some situations (not this week), that attitude has meant I’ve forgotten some critical things. I tend to be an all-or-none lady. I don’t think this has anything to do with the ETP, however.

Did The Emergent Task Planner Help Me Get Things Done?

Given my attitude, yes. I was tempted to say no, but the truth is I think I would have done even less without the process of writing out my plan each day on the ETP. That being said, I’m not that excited about continuing to use it. Maybe I’ll change my mind when my rebel has been placated.

**UPDATE**

I don’t need a paper planner like this now that I’m using Skedpal. However, I think this may be a good analog tool for people who aren’t as rebellious as I am.

GTD, productivity, Do it Now, Nerd Fitness, Steve Kamb

The Productivity Approach I’ll Be Using for Week 35

This week I’ll be testing Steve Kamb’s Do it Now approach. Just as Steve Kamb, the blogger behind Nerd Fitness, suggests, I am going to stop putting off daily living tasks until later. Instead, I will do them “now.”

The concept. Steve argues that we make work for ourselves by putting off things like dishes, laundry, and clean up. Doing it later means doing it longer. The principle of Do it Now does not mean that you interrupt your work for every person, demand, or idea that presents itself.

This is not a new concept to me at all. In fact, it’s a problem I thought I’d mastered. But slowly, I’ve noticed that I am not immediately hanging up my clothes, putting my dishes in the dishwasher, or putting school books away “now.” I am waiting for that magical time period when everything is quick and fun to do known as “later.” Of course, later usually makes tasks more onerous.

If you’d like to join me this week, here’s what you do. Read Steve’s post and watch the funny (and strangely motivating) video he includes. Purpose to handle all those little tasks that should be done as you think of them “now.” If you’d like to comment or share this post, you’d better do it now. You know you won’t have time later. 😉

To see if Do It Now helped me, click here.

Are you on Google+? Follow me here.

Here are the links to the productivity hacks I’ve tried so far:

A Year of Living Productively

Week 1: Paper To-Do List

Week 2: Covey’s Quadrants

Week 3: Routines

Week 4: Paper Planner

Week 5: SMEMA

Week 6: Guilt Hour

Week 7: Envision Ideal Day

Week 8: Do it Tomorrow

Week 9: Pomodoro

Week 10: Time Warrior

Week 11: Scheduling

Week 12: The Repeat Test

Week 13: Personal Kanban

Week 14: Eat That Frog

Week 15: Vacation

Week 16: David Seah’s 7:15AM Ritual

Week 17: Another Simple and Effective Method

Week 18: Daily/Weekly/Monthly To-Do List

Week 19: Ultimate Time Management System

Week 20: Getting Things Done

Week 21: Time Blocking

Week 22: Morning Ritual

Week 23: Beat the Week

Week 24: Productivity Ritual

Week 25: Make it Happen in 10 Minutes

Week 26: Focus & Relief List

Week 27: Accountability Chart

Week 28: Limiting Choices

Week 29: Zen to Done

Week 30: Heatmapping

Week 31: Gamification

Week 32: The 12 Week Year

Week 33: David Seah’s Ten for Ten

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Can David Seah’s Ten for Ten Help You Get More Done?

Can David Seah’s Ten for Ten Help You Get More Done?

David  Seah, to do list

This is Week 33 of a Year of Living Productively

This week I tested whether David Seah’s Ten for Ten could help me get more done. I tried to complete ten tasks a day, earning as many points as possible. See the bottom of last week’s post for more details.

How Ten for Ten Saved My Sanity This Week

  • Gave me credit for doing tasks later in the day. Getting more points the more tasks I did was like getting an Atta Girl — something I really respond well to.
  • Liked not having to commit to ten tasks up front. So many productivity approaches want you to plan your tasks in advance and then life happens! It was so nice not to feel penalized for going with the flow.
  • Enjoyed working from a short paper list. As much as I appreciate the access and email connectivity that digital task managers provide, there’s still something about paper that helps me relax.

How Ten for Ten Made Me Crazy This Week

  • Confusion about what tasks to add. This week was unusual in that we couldn’t follow the usual order every day with some of my kids being out of town. It gave me the opportunity to use Ten for Ten only with tasks apart from my routine and with everything. There were problems with both approaches. When I only added tasks that weren’t part of my routine, I felt ripped off. Doing chores in the evenings is hard for me. When I did it and didn’t get credit for it, I was annoyed. But when I added everything I did, I reached 10 tasks in no time and it didn’t feel legitimate.
  • Confusion about task size. It would be easy to break a job down into small subtasks and be done with Ten for Ten in no time. I wasn’t clear if the tasks should take about an hour? In that case, I would have to add my routine tasks like homeschooling.
  • No competition. If I had been in a public competition with this in which I had an opportunity to shine, it would have been much more effective. As it was, I didn’t feel anyone cared how many points I earned. They just wanted to know what was for dinner!

Did Ten for Ten Help Me Get Things Done?

For a day. I was excited about it the very first day, but the confusion quickly got in the way of its effectiveness. Not sure if more rules would help or I would just rebel against them.

**UPDATE**

Like so many people, I am attracted to pretty forms like these. But their arbitrary nature doesn’t work for me. I am not interested in completing a certain number of tasks, but the most important ones, however long they take. I also don’t want to work ten hours a day!

David Seah, productivity, time management

The Productivity Approach I’ll Be Using for Week 33

This week I’ll be testing David Seah’s Emergent Task Planner. Looking at David’s recent post, I realized I had missed hearing about another approach to productivity he has been talking about since 2006. Using his paper planner, you choose 3 tasks to work on  and block out time for them. After those are complete, you can add 3 more and so on.

The concept. After determining that I can manage about six tasks a day, I was really excited that this planner not only meshes with that, but allows me to add three of the tasks as they emerge. Just because I can handle six tasks a day doesn’t mean that they are all pre-planned. In addition, the planner allows us to keep track of time, take notes, and record interruptions.

If you’d like to join me this week, here’s what you do. Read David’s post and download the free forms he shares. Note that he also sells the planner on Amazon and has made some updates to it.

Click here to see if David Seah’s Emergent Task Planner worked for me.

Are you on Google+? Follow me here.

Here are the links to the productivity hacks I’ve tried so far:

A Year of Living Productively

Week 1: Paper To-Do List

Week 2: Covey’s Quadrants

Week 3: Routines

Week 4: Paper Planner

Week 5: SMEMA

Week 6: Guilt Hour

Week 7: Envision Ideal Day

Week 8: Do it Tomorrow

Week 9: Pomodoro

Week 10: Time Warrior

Week 11: Scheduling

Week 12: The Repeat Test

Week 13: Personal Kanban

Week 14: Eat That Frog

Week 15: Vacation

Week 16: David Seah’s 7:15AM Ritual

Week 17: Another Simple and Effective Method

Week 18: Daily/Weekly/Monthly To-Do List

Week 19: Ultimate Time Management System

Week 20: Getting Things Done

Week 21: Time Blocking

Week 22: Morning Ritual

Week 23: Beat the Week

Week 24: Productivity Ritual

Week 25: Make it Happen in 10 Minutes

Week 26: Focus & Relief List

Week 27: Accountability Chart

Week 28: Limiting Choices

Week 29: Zen to Done

Week 30: Heatmapping

Week 31: Gamification

Week 32: The 12 Week Year

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Can the 12 Week Year Help You Get More Done?

Can the 12 Week Year Help You Get More Done?

12 week year

This is Week 32 of a Year of Living Productively

This week I tested whether The 12 Week Year {affiliate link} could help me get more done. This week was the 12th week I have been using the approach. Scroll to the bottom of last week’s post for more details.

How The 12 Week Year Saved My Sanity The Past 12 Weeks

  • Helped me determine which goals were most important to me. I have a hundred different projects I’d like to work on in any given week. When the time frame expands to a year, I’m convinced that I can finish everything I can dream up. The 12 Week Year helped me get serious about what three goals I could realistically accomplish in a summer. The wonderful thing was I felt validated in choosing goals that weren’t necessarily have-to’s, but were want to’s.
  • Helped me break the projects down into weekly tasks. When I begin a big project, I often dive in without thinking through everything that must be done and how long each step will take. The book encouraged me to do it and the online program I paid for made it really easy. I never saw my goals as overwhelming, because I just looked at what I had to do this week to make them happen. I was also prevented from procrastinating because I knew full well that I couldn’t get it all done last minute.
  • Introduced me to time blocking for goals. I wrote about how much I enjoyed time blocking and I’m sure the reason I loved it is because it gave me permission to pursue my want-to’s in a time-protected way. Putting the time block for this work early in the week is both symbolic (this is important!) and practical (you’re more likely to do it).

How The 12 Week Year Made Me Crazy the Past 12 Weeks

  • Didn’t take advantage of accountability. When I did Body for Life and wrote So You’re Not Wonder Woman (which is free on 9/20/13 on Kindle), I had accountability to keep me honest. I had told many people I was doing BFL and I was speaking at a women’s retreat where I would have the best opportunity to share my book with potential buyers. I just didn’t have that kind of accountability this time, nor do I think I could have created it because the goals weren’t the public “I’m going to do it!” type.
  • I failed to review my reasons. One of the aspects of BFL that worked for me was reading over my “why’s” for getting fit every day. I didn’t do that with the 12 Week Year and I think that’s one of the reasons I didn’t enjoy as much success.
  • Too many goals. When I read that I could have up to three goals, I remember thinking, “Hm.” My experience is that I don’t do well having more than one big project at a time to focus on. I hoped this time would be different and it wasn’t. While I loved being able to switch from project to project during my 3-hour time block, that was the end of what I loved. Because I had three goals, I wasn’t able to make progress and accommodate the unexpected. We had a house guest this summer and then I was given an opportunity to host a podcast. I also have a new book project that replaced one of the goals I had started with. Finally, when planning three goals, the potential for underestimating how much time tasks will take is multiplied by three.

Did The 12 Week Year Help Me Get Things Done?

Yes, though I didn’t complete my three goals. I completed 90% of one goal, 50% of the second, and 10% of the third. The good thing is I’m pretty satisfied with my progress given the circumstances. I completed 100% of the new podcast goal and I’ve made good progress on the new book goal, too. I plan on creating a new plan for completing the book as my next 12 Week goal and reading my reasons for writing daily.

**UPDATE**

I had three goals for the past 12 weeks and accomplished them all! One thing that I don’t do is plan everything out in elaborate detail. It’s too frustrating when you have to reschedule. But intermediate deadlines can be very effective if needed and I love setting goals for the quarter as opposed to the year.

Dave Seah

The Productivity Approach I’ll Be Using for Week 33

This week I’ll finish testing Ten for Ten from Dave Seah. A big thank you to Brain Cutlery for the suggestion! The idea is to try to accomplish ten tasks in ten hours and earn points as you go. More points are awarded for tasks finished later in the day. Tasks can be added as you’re ready to work on them, rather than at the beginning of the day.

The concept. The first three tasks are starred because accomplishing them in a day is a great feat in itself. Points are designed to reward you for working beyond that. The method should help in breaking tasks down into reasonable sizes, too. This is a variation on the gamification theme from last week, but it really appeals to me. I just love the look of this form!

If you’d like to join me this week, here’s what you do. Read Dave’s post and download the free forms he shares. We can compare points at the end of the week! (Just a reminder that I am not vouching for sites I link to. They may contain language or opinions you find objectionable. But then that applies to this website, too, doesn’t it? Thanks for understanding.)

If you’d like to see if Ten for Ten worked for me, click here.

Are you on Google+? Follow me here.

Here are the links to the productivity hacks I’ve tried so far:

A Year of Living Productively

Week 1: Paper To-Do List

Week 2: Covey’s Quadrants

Week 3: Routines

Week 4: Paper Planner

Week 5: SMEMA

Week 6: Guilt Hour

Week 7: Envision Ideal Day

Week 8: Do it Tomorrow

Week 9: Pomodoro

Week 10: Time Warrior

Week 11: Scheduling

Week 12: The Repeat Test

Week 13: Personal Kanban

Week 14: Eat That Frog

Week 15: Vacation

Week 16: David Seah’s 7:15AM Ritual

Week 17: Another Simple and Effective Method

Week 18: Daily/Weekly/Monthly To-Do List

Week 19: Ultimate Time Management System

Week 20: Getting Things Done

Week 21: Time Blocking

Week 22: Morning Ritual

Week 23: Beat the Week

Week 24: Productivity Ritual

Week 25: Make it Happen in 10 Minutes

Week 26: Focus & Relief List

Week 27: Accountability Chart

Week 28: Limiting Choices

Week 29: Zen to Done

Week 30: Heatmapping

Week 31: Gamification

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Can Gamification Help You Get More Done?

Can Gamification Help You Get More Done?

thegameofwork

This is Week 31 of a Year of Living Productively

This week I tested gamification using ToDoist’s Karma feature. I also quantified my past task performance using IQTell. Scroll to the bottom of last week’s post for

How Gamification Saved My Sanity This Week

  • Helped me see how many tasks I can really accomplish. Of course, number of tasks entered and completed is not an accurate measure of productivity. I could work on one big task like a dog for three days straight and would get a bad productivity score. While I got no hard science data, I was very surprised by how consistent the numbers were from week to week. Because I have to calculate the stats manually, I only looked at the last month which I believe is pretty typical for me. Two statistics were extremely helpful. First, I learned that on average, I enter one task a day that I don’t complete. That doesn’t sound bad at all, does it? But it means that I will be 365 tasks in the hole in a year’s time. I would like to avoid that, of course, so I looked at how many tasks I can reasonably accomplish a week and came up with 35. I have a very thorough routine that involves cleaning, homeschooling, organizing, social media, and more, so that doesn’t mean I’m only getting 35 things done. Of course, those 35 tasks also don’t include things that take so little time that I didn’t bother to enter them into IQTell. But using that number and considering that I do very little on Sundays, I realize that I need to try to limit my number of tasks per day to six. I’m absolutely giddy about this. Yes, I will have days when I go over, but it’s as Game of Work {affiliate link} says: We need to know the rules for winning to be motivated. Now I do.
  • Graphs that motivated. I was a little worried that the Karma feature wouldn’t matter much to me. I was pleasantly surprised by the daily emails showing my productivity and Karma charts. The productivity chart fired me up more because it’s based on how much you get done. When I slacked (as you can see I did), the email was like a kindly push that I appreciated. The Karma line kept going up because I was using the app a lot. I expect that line to be more realistic in the future.
  • Introduced me to an app I love. I haven’t changed productivity apps in a long time. It might even be a record! I have been using IQTell and was very happy. ToDoist is the first program I’ve used that has me seriously considering a switch. The UI is absolutely beautiful. It reminds me of Things that I used years ago, only it is all about color. I organize the areas of my life by color, so it’s a natural fit. The color graphs not only show me what life areas I have that need the most attention (not pictured), but tell me if I’m achieving the balance I want. This is something I loved about Life Balance, but ToDoist doesn’t have the time-intensive data entry and “suggestions” of what I should be doing with my time.

ToDoist, review

 

How Gamification Made Me Crazy This Week

  • No competition aspect. Gamification is about more than just tracking performance. Often, it’s about measuring your performance against others’. Competition is very motivating for me when I feel there’s a chance I can win. So is accountability. I didn’t feel I had that, but my Karma score is 2563 after a week for anyone who cares.
  • Not that fun. Another reason gamification increases productivity is because it makes work entertaining. Tracking my stats and using a new app were wonderful, but it wasn’t that fun. There are other apps and approaches that utilize a more game-like interface that might have been a better test. However, I have tried a few in the past and noticed that I get bored with them quickly.

Did Gamification Help Me Get Things Done?

Yes, although I would say the feedback aspect was what helped. I feel pretty dumb that I never thought to quantify how many tasks I accomplish on average. I always looked at my time usage instead. I did not get to test how well limiting myself to six tasks per day on average works, but that will be my goal from here on. I also plan to continue using ToDoist for the time being.

**UPDATE**

I’m less interested in how many tasks I can do these days than in accurately estimating how long tasks take. I have no interest in ToDoist karma, because I have remained at a top level no matter what I do. These kinds of features aren’t effective for me if there is no competitive aspect or if top achievements are unreachable. In other words, if I have to give up the rest of my life to be on a leader board, I’m not interested. What I find amusing is that blogging is perfectly gamified and motivating for me. I am constantly able to see my stats on the blog and on social media. I can compare my stats to others’, especially on Facebook. Improving is enough of a challenge to keep me trying, but not so much that I’m discouraged. In fact, the game nature of it is what makes it fairly addictive. I’m hoping that my curriculum business will have the same game-like quality that keeps me coming back for more.

The Productivity Approach I’ll Be Using for Week 32

This week I’ll finish testing The 12 Week Year. {affiliate link} I tested time blocking using The 12 Week Year before, but I’ve been using the whole approach for the past 11 weeks. The idea is you can super-power your productivity by setting one to three 12-week goals with week-by-week activities. I set one homeschooling and two writing project goals.

The concept. The 12 Week Year argues that we fail to achieve our New Year’s resolutions because the time frame for them is just too long. Instead, we need help to break the goals down into weekly objectives that can be easily quantified. I loved the idea because I succeeded in writing a book and getting fit in 12 weeks.

If you’d like to join me this week, here’s what you do. Read the book or simply choose one to three goals that you’d like to achieve in the next 12 weeks. Create a reason for each goal that you will regularly reflect upon. Then break each goal down into weekly sub-goals. Track your progress this week and continue on to your goal.

To see if the 12 Week Year worked for me, click here.

Are you a Twitter user? Follow me here.

Here are the links to the productivity hacks I’ve tried so far:

A Year of Living Productively

Week 1: Paper To-Do List

Week 2: Covey’s Quadrants

Week 3: Routines

Week 4: Paper Planner

Week 5: SMEMA

Week 6: Guilt Hour

Week 7: Envision Ideal Day

Week 8: Do it Tomorrow

Week 9: Pomodoro

Week 10: Time Warrior

Week 11: Scheduling

Week 12: The Repeat Test

Week 13: Personal Kanban

Week 14: Eat That Frog

Week 15: Vacation

Week 16: David Seah’s 7:15AM Ritual

Week 17: Another Simple and Effective Method

Week 18: Daily/Weekly/Monthly To-Do List

Week 19: Ultimate Time Management System

Week 20: Getting Things Done

Week 21: Time Blocking

Week 22: Morning Ritual

Week 23: Beat the Week

Week 24: Productivity Ritual

Week 25: Make it Happen in 10 Minutes

Week 26: Focus & Relief List

Week 27: Accountability Chart

Week 28: Limiting Choices

Week 29: Zen to Done

Week 30: Heatmapping

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