The Productivity Thread

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Smith1776
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The Productivity Thread

Post by Smith1776 » Thu May 21, 2020 7:13 pm

I want to start a thread with the topic of personal productivity. We can talk strategy, tips, tricks, lamentations, and accomplishments here.

The current state of lockdown over the past couple of months has changed productivity for me quite dramatically. There is less structure in my life than there used to be, so a lot about staying productive has been about personal motivation. In a certain sense, when one has a job to go to or classes to attend, you can use those assigned times as a "crutch" to keep you on task. Staying productive when your time is all your own presents a greater challenge.

A few questions for each of you guys if you don't want to read my whole post.

1) How happy are you with your current level of productivity on a typical day? Say, on a scale from 1 to 10. Like, you wanted to get a certain amount done in a given day, but you only got such and such done instead.

2) How many hours do you spend in a day being truly productive? And how many hours relaxing or doing maintenance tasks (cooking, showering, eating, cleaning, bathroom, etc.)?

3) What strategies do you employ for productivity and staying on task in your life? Do you have "hacks" that boost your personal productivity?


For me I'd say I'm a 5 when it comes to my satisfaction with my productivity. Seldom do I have a perfect day when it comes to getting sh*t done. I usually end up at least derailing slightly by having a dinner break that bleeds into an episode of some TV show on Netflix. Or I take a 20 minute break that turns into an hour plus. I am not terrible with keeping up a sense of urgency, but not great either.

I spend probably 5 hours a day being truly productive. I sleep about 8 hours. So that's 13 hours there. For the rest of the 11 hours I'd say I spend half of it doing maintenance tasks. So that leaves 5.5 hours left. This 5.5 hour window is probably where there's the biggest room for improvement. It's usually a half on social media and half pretending to work mish-mash.

A few productivity principles for me. First, turning off all distractions if possible. Phone notifications, music, etc. All turned off. Second, finding work that you love. If you are interested in the work, there's less chance you'll lose engagement. Third, wearing earplugs. The absolute silence of earplugs with no background noise really helped me. Finally, focusing on one subject all day, and then dedicating the next day to a different subject allows me to enter an extended state of "deep work." This is in contrast to spending an hour on one task, then an hour on the next task, and so on. That tends to prevent my mind from entering "the zone."

Please share your productivity adventures and insights!
Check out the Goldsmith PP: https://www.gyroscopicinvesting.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=9613
The government causing inflation and giving us TIPS is like breaking our legs and giving us crutches.
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sophie
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Re: The Productivity Thread

Post by sophie » Fri May 22, 2020 10:14 am

Great one Smith! Here are my responses:

I rate my productivity usually in the 6-8 range, depending on the number of Zoom meetings or stupid administrative tasks.

One thing that has greatly helped productivity: I've worked out a nice system for taking periodic work breaks. In the office, you don't work nonstop, you tend to get up and go places for various reasons, stop to talk to coworkers etc. This is nice but essentially nonproductive time, and it fills up a lot more time than you may realize. At home, I have to remind myself to get up once an hour or so. So I plan breaks that are productive: e.g. doing a bit of cleaning, putting together dishes to cook for dinner in stages, running brief errands like picking up packages in the mailroom or going grocery shopping at a time when I know there won't be lines out front. I also stagger work periods around meals, e.g. I start work early in the AM before breakfast.

Another big plus: on Zoom meetings see if you can get people to admit they're wearing pajama pants along with their nice collared shirts. It's SO much more comfortable working in non-restrictive, non-itchy clothes. I most definitely work more efficiently without the constant distraction.

I'm super happy working like this. Being on-site will be necessary for some things like direct patient care or lab work, but I hope that unless one of those things is happening I can stay home. "Face time" is a concept that needs to be taken out and shot.
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Re: The Productivity Thread

Post by technovelist » Fri May 22, 2020 4:18 pm

I've been very productive at home, probably about an 8 on your scale. I work anywhere from 5 to 14 hours a day, depending on what the subtask is that
I'm working on.

The most important aspect is that I'm working on something I love. Of course it's not always a lot of fun when I run into a bug that's hard to find and fix, but overall it's been great.

On a related note, here are the results of my latest hardware upgrade.
Memory.PNG
Memory.PNG (54.66 KiB) Viewed 224 times
Another nod to the most beautiful equation: e + 1 = 0
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Re: The Productivity Thread

Post by pugchief » Fri May 22, 2020 4:27 pm

Tech, what is the point of having 1TB of RAM if only 128GB is usable?
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Re: The Productivity Thread

Post by technovelist » Fri May 22, 2020 5:49 pm

pugchief wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 4:27 pm
Tech, what is the point of having 1TB of RAM if only 128GB is usable?
Because it's not really RAM: it's Optane DC Persistent Memory (https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en ... emory.html)
Access time is a couple of hundred nanoseconds, which is somewhat slower than RAM.
But it doesn't lose its contents when power goes off, and it is much denser (more capacity per DIMM) than RAM, as well as being 30 times as fast for small data records as the fastest SSDs.
I have it set up to use it as an extremely fast storage device that can be accessed in 64-byte chunks rather than 4k as needed with SSDs.
That's what my current project is about.
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Re: The Productivity Thread

Post by Mark Leavy » Fri May 22, 2020 6:06 pm

My only advice is to have a system that will get you back on track whenever your main productivity system fails you.

I'm like the fat guy that spends his whole life reading diet books. I have read (and implemented) every productivity scheme known to man. There are a handful of good ideas blended throughout the literature, but after a few months (or years) I always drift away from the system and start to stagnate. After a few decades of yo-yoing like that, I implemented a meta-productivity scheme.

It's just a morning log. I use excel.

Every morning, with my morning coffee, while waiting for the markets to open:
I log my morning weight, waist, resting heart rate, net worth, blood glucose and ketones.
I log yesterday's steps, strength workout (if any) and what I accomplished yesterday. (in prose, from memory - not just a cut and paste from my to-do list).
I log, again in prose, what open concerns I have for the day.

I do that, whether I have been sticking to my systems or not.

Too many days of logging increased weight, no steps, no workouts and no accomplishments and I get sick of myself and jump back on the wagon or rework my productivity system until I am excited about it again.

BTW - I'm currently sick of the low numbers I've been logging for step counts. Pretty happy with the other items, though. I'm going to move somewhere next week where I'm more excited to be out walking.

ERRATA
Whatever primary productivity system you come up with, I have found it incredibly useful to have a morning routine and an evening routine that you can effortlessly tack items onto one at a time.

My morning routine is so automatic and such an ingrained habit that it requires no willpower to maintain. When I wake up, I automatically jump into the shower, brush my teeth, start the coffee pot and sit down with my spreadsheet. Over the years, I have added and subtracted elements to the routine (such as taking some supplements, or doing a few warmup pushups, or scanning the futures markets). If you already have something that is on autopilot you can effortlessly pin a few habits onto it.

Good luck! And whatever you do, think about establishing productivity habits that don't require willpower. The more you put on autopilot, the better.

Mark
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Re: The Productivity Thread

Post by Smith1776 » Sun May 24, 2020 4:25 pm

Back at the height of my computer building days, I used to justify purchases of ram, a faster cpu and more monitors as "an investment in my productivity." ::) Heck, I still feel that itch sometimes these days. To be fair, the extra monitors in particular have actually helped me be more productive compared with just one.

A little bit of insight into this thread, guys. I've dealt with a certain amount of anxiety/depression for most of my adult life. As such, sometimes it's hard for me to be productive even when I have the time to get shit done. Keeping meticulous track of where my hours are going is kind of an offshoot of keeping the mental health problems at bay.

My goal is to maximize the number of hours spent "in the zone" in regards to my work.

Everyone on the forum seems to have a different system, but you guys all have great insight and experience it seems. Mark, I'm going to adopt your system of logging things at the beginning of each day. It's interesting that you log what you got done yesterday the following morning. I think that's smart. I've tried logging what I've done in a given day during the evening, but I find by then I'm just so tired I often don't do it.

Again, just to keep me accountable, my productivity has been poor recently. Last night I had a date that started at 6:30pm, but even in the hours before then I couldn't really concentrate. I was too nervous, and too caught up in my own head. I need to meditate more. And since I slept so late last night, I woke up late this morning. I'd rate myself a 3 out of 10 for productivity this weekend. :P
Last edited by Smith1776 on Sun May 24, 2020 8:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Check out the Goldsmith PP: https://www.gyroscopicinvesting.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=9613
The government causing inflation and giving us TIPS is like breaking our legs and giving us crutches.
Broscience -- Word of mouth knowledge passed off as fact, primarily among bodybuilders + weightlifters.
Lily is the official mascot of the Gyroscopic Investing forum.
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Re: The Productivity Thread

Post by Mark Leavy » Sun May 24, 2020 6:07 pm

Smith1776 wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 4:25 pm
Last night I had a date that started at 6:30pm, but even in the hours before then I couldn't really concentrate. I was too nervous, and too caught up in my own head. I need to meditate more. And since I slept so late last night, I woke up late this morning. I need to meditate more. I'd rate myself a 3 out of 10 for productivity this weekend. :P
If you're not pacing, excited, worried, nervous before a new date, you're not a human male.
Enjoy the pre-show high. Not a time to be productive. Part of being productive is knowing when to step away.

Good Luck with all of your endeavors. I'm glad to see the future in the hands of folks like you.
Mark
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Re: The Productivity Thread

Post by Mark Leavy » Sun May 24, 2020 7:38 pm

Here's a neat trick.

Whenever you can avoid it, don't schedule any "todos" for today. Always try to schedule new items for tomorrow or another day - even if you could easily do them today. And don't think of them as todos for yourself. They are for some lowly peasant that you don't even know.

The idea here is to separate your "managerial self" from your "lowly bottom dweller self".

Let "you the manager" happily assign tasks to some random future worker. What do you care? You're the boss, dammit. You don't have to do the work.

The next morning, when it's time to work (after your coffee and eggs) you (the lowly ditch digger) can just pull up the task list that your asshole boss loaded up on your calendar and start churning away at it. It's out of your hands at that point. What can you do about it? Who's going to listen to your complaints? Not your asshole boss.
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Re: The Productivity Thread

Post by Smith1776 » Mon Jun 01, 2020 7:56 pm

Terrible productivity this afternoon as I've been spending too much time on our forum. (An enjoyable time, to be fair.)

Last post of the day for me to hold myself accountable. Have a great evening, guys. O0
Check out the Goldsmith PP: https://www.gyroscopicinvesting.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=9613
The government causing inflation and giving us TIPS is like breaking our legs and giving us crutches.
Broscience -- Word of mouth knowledge passed off as fact, primarily among bodybuilders + weightlifters.
Lily is the official mascot of the Gyroscopic Investing forum.
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