To be perfectly clear, I am not talking about my first 500 words as a person ever. I am not talking about my first 500 words as a blogger - you’d find those over on Posterous (while it’s still up). No, I’m talking about my first 500 typed words of today. Just today, and just my typed words. And the upper limit is not capped at 500.

Last week was WebStock 2013, my first WebStock. If you are unfamiliar with the WebStock conference and you find yourself in Wellington (New Zealand) early next year, I suggest you check it out. But as far as this post goes, that detail is almost irrelevant. What is most relevant is a talk from Clay Johnson (@cjoh). It is with his talk in mind that I type this, and I understand that it is totally confirmation bias and I am falling into the trap that he points out ever so bluntly and I love this fact: In telling him that he is right on the subject matter of “Everybody wants to be right (correct) more than they want to know the truth”, or “Opinion tastes better than the truth”, I am just adding to and playing part of what could be seen as the problem - we are all consumer whores who will believe what we are told because it comes from a “trusted” source. But why do we trust that source? Probably because it tells us things that sound about right to us, and doesn’t sound fantastical or far fetched? Oh…

Productivity and Good Habits

So what I really want to talk about is productivity and good habits.

I’ve very recently culled about 1/3 of my facebook “friends”. I need to cull some more. I’m already somewhat inattentive to twitter, though on the odd occassion I’m deeply engrossed in it. What’s this got to do with anything, you ask? Our most precious resource is time, and I just don’t have the time to read crap from people I may or may not care about. To be fair, I wouldn’t have facebook at all, but unfortunately there are some people I just can’t contact anymore without it (yea, they probably haven’t heard of email, other than that thing that lets them get spammed all the damn time). I wouldn’t be on facebook at all, but it’s almost an addictive process, scrolling down the facebook feed, reading what other people have to say or whatever stupid shit they share - which brings me to another point: Likes. Fuck those things. They might seem all small and unknowing… then somebody takes over the page and OHGODALLTHISNEWSTUPIDCONTENTISALLUPINMYNEWSFEEDAND it’s all because you want it there.

Yea, I’m talking about just one vector of bullshit “news” that I don’t want/need in my life, and I want to get rid of it. Because it may not seem like news to you or me, but just look at it: “Oh, I lol’d so hard at this one! {picture of success kid with a witty caption}”. Your friend thinks it’s important enough that they want other people to see it, they want it to end up in other people’s news feeds - news feeds? That’s what Facebook calls it, isn’t it?

What’s the point? I end up on Facebook perhaps a little too often during my work hours (and my non-work hours). It’s a major productivity drain. It’s so influential as a drain that if I access Facebook in the morning before I do any work - BAM, unproductive. Why? I believe because it sets you into a consuming “mode”, and this is a much lower and easier state to achieve than a “producing mode”, and it’s just so hard to make the switch from consumer to producer once you’ve made that initial dive into consumption. I’ve taken to ensuring that I don’t visit Facebook (or any other websites, blog posts for that matter) in the morning before I’ve managed to produce something. Actually, I’ve only just started the whole “produce” side of things - originally it was just no Facebook in the morning before work. Now it’s no Facebook or /any/ consumable content until something is produced? WTF? Habits. I’m trying to form good habits.

Habits

I guess I could start talking about being a conscious consumer, but let’s talk about habits for a bit. Habits are amazing things. Habits are like micro-routines, and they can help set your state or mode if used correctly. A recent “Malicious Advice Mallard” meme suggested that if you want more breaks at work, then start smoking. While this sounds bad, what makes it even worse - even more sinister - is that it works (well, I can imagine it works, not being a smoker…). And Facebook, Twitter (though less of a problem in my opinion), and probably news in general are no better as far as distractions go. (No, don’t stop paying attention to the news… Maybe just less of it).

Carl Johnson’s habit was to try and write 500 words before 8am. I’m not such an early riser, so I’m just at “try and write 500 words”. I’ll let you know later how it goes for me.

TL;DR

  • Form Good Habits to help increase Productivity.
  • Produce before you Consume, daily.
  • I probably write too much.