I really enjoy reading and listening to all things productivity. All too often productivity is confused with organization. I wonder if this is true because often organized people have a more visible, tangible way of showing their productivity? I am not a very organized person. To my wife’s chagrin, I would call myself creatively cluttered. But I would also consider myself an aspiring productive creative. I love to get things done efficiently and quickly with light weight rules and room for calculated risk.

This weekend I came across a 99U article, Start Every Morning with 10 Minutes Of “Mise-En-Place” written by Tanner Christensen, that gave the challenge to:

Ask yourself this question the moment you sit at your desk: The day is over and I am leaving the office with a tremendous sense of accomplishment. What have I achieved?

I was introduced to Post-Mortems through Guy Kawaski’s book Enchantment. Post-Mortems are looking at the end and asking the question: Lets assume this thing crashes and burns, what did we miss? I prefer Kawaski’s negative perspective of backwards design over Christensen’s because it raises the stakes. It assumes failure and challenges leaders to look towards blind spots.

What I do like about Christensen’s article is the micro-lens of day planning. What if we Post-Mortem our days? What habits, obstacles, or challenges would we uncover to make us less productive? Here are a few of my guidelines of daily productivity:

1. +2 Projects – I know it sounds counterintuitive, but juggling projects typically makes me more productive. When I think about daily success I usually have 2-3 goals from 2-3 active projects. Working between these projects sparks subconscious thinking for the other projects. I create work habits that allow me to switch quickly.

2. Use A Timer – Pomodoro timers help me schedule breaks and gets me out of my seat. Especially during the summer when I am not teaching it is easy to close myself into the screen. 50 minutes of work gets me 10 minutes of rest.

3. People Make Work Better – You don’t have to know me long to realize that I am an extreme extrovert. I need people to fuel my creativity and to bounce ideas off of. One of my favorite things in the office is to just stop by an say, “Hi!” Hopefully I am not the annoying-roaming-office-guy…