About the author:
Daniel is CTO at rhome GmbH, and Co-Founder at Aqarios GmbH. He holds a M.Sc. in Computer Science from LMU Munich, and has published papers in reinforcement learning and quantum computing. He writes about technical topics in quantum computing and startups.
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# Productivity

I saw this great list of productivity tips from a year ago by guzey. And it's awesome.

Now, you may indulge in that list if you like. There's lots of these little productivity posts from a lot of different, very productive people on Hackernews. This will simply be another one of those. The reason is two-fold: It's for me to reflect on later. And it's just another combination. You can combine productivity tricks in many ways until you find your combination that just works. So here's mine. Maybe it works for you.

It consists of two rules.

  1. Prepare very small tasks (split up big tasks into small ones) the day before. I usually have a few (like 3?) well defined big tasks and a few smaller administrative tasks. Well defined means: They are broken into small tasks. It's like prepping food the night before work. Some productive people do that. (the food thing - I don't do that. But you get the gist.)

  2. If you notice you are starting to procrastinate, get in the habit of questioning what the root cause may be. Spoiler: It's emotions. Your task feels unsurmountably huge. Your task feels useless. Your task feels too difficult. Your task feels like it's not getting you anywhere. Your task feels too easy (yes. that's possible too. Too easy == useless. For example when preparing for an exam. You have a few tasks to redo some exercises you deem easy -> that may result in procrastination, since you feel that redoing them again is not really getting you anywhere.)

See sources on the emotions (contains also related discussion): HN:22124489 HN:23537317

These are the two rules driving me since more than a year. guzey says procrastination tricks stop working from time to time. Let's see when these two rules stop working for me.

Note: They fail for me too, sometimes. Some days are just simply garbage. Keep in mind though - it's fine, it's a human thing. It is what it is.

I may update this post at some point with further experiences and tricks.

Update: Now that I think of it, I actually use more tricks from time to time. But the two rules above are the main ones. Mostly even just rule 1. Other tricks I sometimes use include: Win the morning (Aurelius) and some kind of lax Pomodoro technique based on tasks - finish a task (however long it takes, be it 15 min or 1 hour), take a small break. The Pomodoro one I only use for studying, not for work. For work or development I usually do not need any productivity tricks except for the two rules I mentioned. I don't actually like Pomodoro because sometimes the break leads to a 2 hour odyssey. After that, productivity is very impaired due to guilt.

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