No Habits, No Productivity
I am absolutely convinced that the main reason why many people are not well organized and live burdened by the pressure of their work and personal tasks, is that they fail to establish the necessary habits to have everything under control, calmly.
It is not lack of interest. In the end, even for a purely corrective matter, when you realize you have come to a situation where the excess of commitments and responsibilities you have accepted make you live in a constant state of worry and anxiety, you will try to find solutions. You will ask, read, do some research and check out possible solutions.
It is not lack of knowledge. No don’t need to know GTD or other personal productivity methodology to stay minimally organized. With some little common sense notions, you can have everything—more or less—under control, although the system you use has no name or acronym (since it has been designed by yourself.)
I usually ask the customers who stop using FacileThings as their personal organization tool, which is the reason they stopped using it (it is difficult to improve a product if you do not know what the users think about it.) Clearly, a user who paid a subscription after a month trial period, should have found that the app brought some value to her life. So what happened?
The answer usually has nothing to do with money, or even with the application itself. The most common answer is an “I love your app, it’s just that I couldn’t manage to build the habit of using it every day.” Others, like “Oh, I’ve been too busy lately,” show the same foundational problem (precisely when you are too busy is when you most need some support.)
A habit is a way of thinking or doing that is acquired on the basis of repetition and persistence. Acquiring a good habit is not easy, but the reward is worth it. When you do not have it, you are insecure; you waver. When you have it, it transcends you; you take it out without hardly realizing, with no effort at all.
In the world of martial arts, a kata is a set of movements you practice repetitively, over and over again (usually within a group), with the aim of learning how to execute a certain technique in a natural way. The goal is to internalize the movement so you can execute it at the right time, adapting it to the circumstances, even without thinking about it.
If you want to build the habits that lead you to be the master of your life and enjoy your time, you should deliberately practice these katas for personal productivity:
- Capture everything that hits your attention out of your mind—constantly.
- Clarify what you have captured—once a day.
- Review all your lists and projects—once a week.
The first one is, perhaps, the most difficult to acquire; it requires discipline and self-control. With the other two, you can get help from your calendar and set reminders and alarms that hit you until they are no longer required. Remember that when they become habits, you will not think about them anymore.
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