the genius of not being able to fix the copier

This week in Sunday Life I’m strategically incompetent

114017 3 600 the genius of not being able to fix the copier
by Kyle Alexander

Confession: I get off on productivity porn.

I’m only a recreational voyeur, mind.  Late at night, in the lonely privacy of my bedroom, I like to peruse sites like 43Folders and Getting Things Done (GTD) e-courses, you know, to see how other people “File Tax Receipts in 5 Easy Steps” or “Focus like Steve Jobs, Now!”. But, I’m not a full subscriber. I mean, I’m no productivity pervert. Some of that Extreme Colour-Coding Your To-Do List stuff can get pretty gonzo!

Anyway, as a “productivity connoisseur”, I’ve noticed the biggest issue in this murky neck of the interweb right now is “waiting for” items. If you’re a productive list-making type you’ll know the list system comes unstuck once a task requires follow-up from a second party. For example, to get your report completed you need a statistic from a colleague. You email them requesting the data and delete this task off your to-do list. Done! Because you trust the item is now headed for the other person’s to-do list. BUT – oh dear – if said colleague isn’t a list person and doesn’t follow up, then the task disappears into the unproductive ether, un-accounted for Un-ticked!

“Waiting for” items drive me to distraction. They leave me in a permanent state of “there’s something I’ve forgotten”-ness. Only to interrupt me in the middle of a shower (and I have to bolt out, dripping wet, to my to-do list: “chase bloody Roger about that invoicing issue”). It’s frustrating. Doubly so because the fact the other party feels completely entitled to let a task slip so easily, while we remain vigilant, is …unfair.

So this week I set out to find a salve to such a quandary. I scrolled my favourite sites and found two ways out.

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