Notes from a Floating Life Thoughts about productivity, digital living, and leading a simpler life

If It Works For You, Why Change?

A list with items crossed out

Over the years, I’ve met and read about a number of people who are deep into the world of personal productivity. No matter what philosophy about productivity they adhere to, there was always one constant common to many of those people: experimentation.

They jump from system to system, technique to technique, tool to tool. They constantly gather tips and tricks. They glom on to the latest software or app or notebook. All in a quest to find that elusive golden path to productivity.

They seem to be too busy organizing to be productive.

For some of the people I’ve encountered, the best (I won’t say perfect because that doesn’t exist) method of productivity for them is often right under their noses. It’s the one they’re using now.

Even today, I often see people bouncing or wandering around, chasing a goal that they don’t need to chase. In the end, many of them come back to what they’ve always done, to the tools that they’ve always used.

For them, there’s no need to change. Why? What they’re doing works for them. It might not fit the template that the current top productivity guru has set out, but that’s fine.

Change can be good. But change for the sake of change is a waste of time.

Questions You Need to Ask Yourself

So what do you do if you have the urge to change what you’re doing? Ask yourself these questions:

Why do I think I need to make a change? If you only want to change what you’re doing because someone is touting a tool or system or technique as solving all of your productivity woes or because it’s labelled ultimate or perfect, then making that switch probably isn’t worth the time or the effort.

What’s the cost of that change? The time it will take to adapt yourself to it will put a dent in your productivity. There’s no guarantee you’ll reach what I’ve heard some people call productivity nirvana. Or even come close to that mythical state.

Instead of making a change, can I tweak what I’m doing to make it more efficient or more effective? Take a close look at what you’re doing now when you get that urge to change. Chances are you just need to make slight adjustments. Those small adjustments can bring big benefits.

On the other hand, you might find that what you’re doing just isn’t working no matter how many tweaks you make. In that case, take the plunge and try to make a change for the better. Just remember that there’s no perfect system of productivity. Find what works for you, flaws and all.

And remember not to make the pursuit of productivity a substitute for actually doing things and getting those things done.

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