I have been trying to improve my productivity and become more organized for a long time. However, I realized that I have spent too much time organizing, planning and managing my productivity, it actually become less efficient. My productivity meter yields a loss instead of a gain.

Recently, I found a good and old way of managing my productivity. While attending an exhibition in Singapore Expo, I was given a free pocket-size paper notebook. Not knowing what to do with such an old school stuff, I just left it on my computer table.

As I was thinking how to solve my low productivity problem, I realized that a pocket-sized notebook is one productivity tool that I really need.

Whenever I get or think of a new task, I would write it down in my notebook, along with the deadline. When I completed a task, I would cross it off. I wrote down every task in the order it was received. I didn't do any reordering or prioritizing of this list. When a page from the notebook was all crossed off on both sides, I ripped it out and threw it in the trash.

Typically, I scan through the current list of tasks in my notebook and considered each task's difficulty, duration, and deadline as well as my energy level. Then I made a snap decision and just picked one that seemed to be a reasonable choice. Then I started working on that task immediately, sticking with it until it was 100% complete.

Since the tasks were recorded in the order they were received, the oldest tasks were in front of my notebook. If I had a really old task, it would often be the only item left on a page with everything else on that page already crossed off. This gave me a little extra motivation and pressure to complete it and rip it off.

If a task on my list got too old and I hadn't done anything with it, I might decide not to do it at all, so I could remove the page and throw it into the trash bin. Alternatively, I might decide it was still worth doing but at a later date, I would copy it to the back of the list and give it a chance for another cycle.

But if a task was on the list for a couple of months and hadn't been touched, it probably just wasn't important enough that I was ever going to do it.

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