My Productivity Failure Loop

I’ve tried structured methods (Getting Things Done, Task Management Systems, the Kanban Method, Polyphasic Sleep, Pomodoro) several times and almost each time so far has ended in abysmal failure.

It’s surprisingly alarming because each time I seem to go through the same exact pattern.

  1. Read a small bit about a project management method, become intrigued.
  2. Start using it to it’s most basic extent.
  3. Enjoy the gains, but desire to become much better.
  4. Read extensively on it and try to go substantially further.
  5. Get tired of the increased structure workload and give up completely.
  6. Be satisfied with the new productivity gains from having no structure.
  7. Feel too incompetent to attempt other management tools in the near future.

This is a terrible failure mode and I’m trying my best to not keep on this cycle of spaced mediocrity.

Possible Solutions

The only ways out of this that I can tell are:

  1. Maintain one basic state of management for an extended period (30 days) before reaching any further.
  2. Forcing myself to retreat to a previous position rather than give up completely, post wear-out.

Right now I’ve chosen option 2, because option 1 seems far too slow.

Existing Dilemma

Last week I’ve started working on Pomodoros and sure enough, my system quickly got out of hand. I started with an online tracker, then extended that to a printed page, then extended that to two printed pages (one to manage tasks and the other to manage time), and then stopped completely over the weekend.

Now I’m trying again, but with just one page and the time tracker app. I’ll pre-commit here for more public pressure, and let people know once I hit 30 days.