If You Give a Productivity Fan an Invoice to Write, She’ll… (A Cautionary Tale of Productivity)

(With apologies, or perhaps thanks to “If You Give a Moose a Muffin“)

This is a cautionary tale about why you need to take extra steps to stay productive and focused in a home office.

If you give a Gillian an invoice to write, she’ll write the invoice and then she’ll want to complete the project properly so she’ll sit down with her GTD manila file and notebook and separate out things that need to be kept and tossed;

Then she’ll remember while she’s taking apart the notebook, that she wanted to write a blog post about how the notebook was put together so that she could remember how she did it for next time.

So she’ll sit down and write the blog post. After the blog post she will want to tell people about it so she will go to Tiny URL and shrink the url so that she can Tweet about it.

Once she has tinied the URL, she’ll log on to Twitter and send out a Tweet telling people about the blog post, and then she’ll want to glance at the recent Tweets, and check any messages or @mentions (because we all do don’t we). She doesn’t do this too often to avoid too much distraction.

When she looks at the @mentions she’ll notice that another facilitator, LynnWalsh, has recently highlighted  some tempting articles on her site, The Facilitation Daily, which is a cool paper.li site.

While scanning the interesting articles and marveling at Lynn’s site, she’ll notice the live Twitter stream, and one particular Tweet pops up from @Nicatnight saying he had discovered the joys of Moleskine hacking (?). She’ll notice that he uses a #GTD hashtag for his post, which she also used.

When she sees the #GTD hashtag, she will curiously google “Moleskine hacking” and get a 43Folders wiki article about how to hack a moleskine notebook in many helpful GTD-complementary ways. Seeing that was written by Merlin Mann of Zero-Inbox fame (which she has written alot about on this blog), she will decide to go to the 43 folders website to see what’s going on.

While reading through the 43Folders website (“Time, Attention and Creative Work”), she’ll notice that her pomodoro for preparing the invoice, and follow-up GTD filing, went off 2 hours ago.

And when she notices that, she will want to go back to her invoices and filing…
(I am literally afraid to post this on Twitter)

8 replies
  1. Andrea Athanas
    Andrea Athanas says:

    I love it! And totally relate to the one-thing-leads-to-another way of getting things done and learning lots of new stuff on the way. If you give a cat a cupcake/pig a pancake/mouse a cookie are some of our favouries!

  2. Gillian Martin Mehers
    Gillian Martin Mehers says:

    Hi Lynn, it sounds like we are kindred spirits in this! As you can see I enjoyed my meander through your site, and will no doubt find my way there again often in the future.

    Andrea, I like your positive take on the learning that comes from these little adventures in cyberspace. These forays are like video and online games where you "collect" things in the form of little learning nuggets along the way (metaphorical badges or bags of gold or new "weapons" like in WoW). It's like an adult version of Super Mario Bros, with the whole wide web as our Mushroom Kingdom! (Andrea, you might not be quite at the SMB stage quite yet – that will come!)

  3. Shana Montesol Johnson
    Shana Montesol Johnson says:

    I stumbled upon your blog for the first time today — much in the same way that your invoice task led you to all sorts of interesting stuff online. Since I'm a coach and facilitator who works with aid professionals, I was excited to dig in to your extensive content. The very first post I read was this one, and it made me laugh in recognition. We may be kindred spirits as well! I recently found a reason (excuse?) for why I tend to get distracted by interesting stuff online — my conative style, according to the Kolbe index, leans toward a strong "Fact Finder" approach. Maybe yours does, too. Thanks for the great blog post and I look forward to reading more and getting acquainted.

  4. Gillian
    Gillian says:

    Hi Shana, I'm happy to hear that others enjoy adventures on the internet too. I like your latest blog post about luck and the notion that varying your routine can boost your luck by making you more likely to stumble upon interesting opportunities or useful things. I hadn't looked at it like this and certainly can use it to rationalise my winding learning journeys (indeed I might be a Fact Finder too). Very nice to "meet" you!

  5. Sandy Pederson
    Sandy Pederson says:

    This is my life! I know my online forays and the nuggets I collect will pay off, and I have a bulging Bookmarks folder to prove it (now must organize Bookmarks folder….)

  6. Gillian Martin Mehers
    Gillian Martin Mehers says:

    Ha, Ha Sandy, and I bet I would love to see your Bookmarks Folder…it must be amazing! And it's nice to hear from you…(now I will go and check what Urban Land Army is up to these days…)

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *