My measure of my own productivity has changed several times in the past years. The last few weeks I have been spending a lot of time learning passively, and it bugged me that I didn’t get anything done. I didn’t make a lot of progress on my own app because I needed to learn.
The last months I have been putting my own model of productivity in practice: to divide work equally between learning, creating, sharing and talking. I have written about this before.
But now I propose a new model.
As you can see it starts with learning. By learning you create a vision and a plan of creation. Then you start creating. And when the creating process goes well, you can start talking about it and sharing your insights. The thing is that this will work better because it puts creation first. I believe that if you can’t get any deep creative work done, sharing and talking wouldn’t have much value because there isn’t anything new. Also there wouldn’t be much reason to keep learning because it starts to feel like you’re not using it.
How do you measure your productivity?
First I didn’t measure my productivity… When I just strated my startup, I was just writing down all my thoughts and when I didn’t know the answer to something I did research about it. Then I started measuring the time I spent on my PC… I became more self-aware of what I was doing on my computer and saw that it mattered! I started using tools like freedom and RescueTime to measure and steer my productivity. It is still giving me great insights but what do I do with it?
What if learning is creating
What if my previous model of productivity was based on a flawed assumption? That learning and creating is something totally different. What if that’s not true?
I think that the best way to learn is not by being passive and listen or read. At least… Not for kiting. Not for spanish. And I start to understand that it’s also not the case for coding… I have to get it into my fingers because knowing something is not the same as being able to putting it into practice. That’s why I think that my whole determination of having been productive was based on a big flaw: thinking that this passive learning BS is helping me.
My new theory is the following:
- passive learning, a.k.a. information consumption generates possibility, choices and doubt.
- active learning a.k.a. creation a.k.a. information generation generates decision and certainty.
My statistics this year
The first ~100 days that I’ve used this laptop, this is what my RescueTime has measured.
I haven’t reached my goals. I have spent 64 hours on social media (not taking into account my phone), and I coded just 85 minutes per day out of a 6.5 hours of ‘working’ every day.
From now on:
- I will focus on a active way of learning: Learn by actually coding. “Getting it in the fingers” as we like to call it in the Netherlands.
- My objective measure of productivity will no longer be amount of hours worked. It will be the amount of time spent in the editor and console.
- Consistent repetition for momentum
100 Days of groundhog day
When searching for a way to motivate myself to do this, thinking heavily about repetition and practice, I found this article. It inspired me to do a similar challenge — I call it the #GroundhogDay #100DaysOfCode Challenge
- Wake up 6:00AM and code
- The next day, I start with a new project from 0
I can apply one cheat. If I can actually spend more than 8 hours of non-stop coding without getting stuck, I will continue where I left the next day or any other day. I can use that project. This keeps me motivated and I won’t get stuck on projects anymore longer than a day.
And it makes sense too. If I don’t crash I can keep driving and don’t have to get a new car every time.