When I consider what it means to be productive, I need to think about the
people I work with, and not just myself.
Though I might get something off my desk and to-do list more quickly by sending
an e-mail or walking across the office, I should keep in mind that such isn't
necessarily better for the people I'm working with. Though it might be more
challenging for me, sometimes the best thing to do is to wait till tomorrow or
longer to send the e-mail about the lower priority item that needs to be
addressed sometime down the road. At its basic level, this means evaluating
whether I am just passing things on to others in order to get them off my
plate, or whether I honestly think that it is time for them to consider the
issue in their own planning.
On the other hand, some people might want to know about ideas as soon as
possible, so they can plan far into the future. If I don't send them my idea
now, they may be resistant to reprioritizing their already planned schedule to
work it in.
It really makes me wonder, what does it mean to discuss all of these
productivity enhancing systems in isolation, with a focus on the individual,
and on what the individual can get done in a day? It seems like a repeat of
what I consider to be a mistake in much Western (and other) philosophy, the
focus on the atomistic individual, accompanied by negligence toward the
effective consideration of social relationships.
This applies to more than work in the office; it applies to artistic
collaboration as well. I need to "honor the process" when pushing
collaborations with others; do a better job of listening and finding different
ways to work with people. I've not been a very popular partner in these kinds
of projects, and maybe this has something to do with it. It's a very difficult
(By the way, the sought-after way to bring all these different communication
methods together is called Emacs as far as I'm concerned. It manages my e-mail,
newsgroups, some RSS, IM, IRC, music, writing, files, planning, bookmarks,
appointments, etc. All completely scriptable, scorable, sortable, lovable.)