As a productivity nerd, I’ve spent hours reading books, testing apps and obsessing over what the perfect To Do list looks like.
(Pro tip: It’s perfect if you use it).
I’ve dove deeper into the world of productivity than I care to admit, and I’ve discovered seven telltale signs that productivity aficionados are in danger of turning efficiency and effectiveness automation into a personal religion.
1. The Perfect Morning Routine Keeps You Up At Night
Should you get up at 5:00 a.m. or 6:00 a.m.? Is it better to meditate or exercise first thing? And just how much caffeine is enough before breakfast?
You’ve spent hours reading about the early morning routines of your mentors and experimented with copying what they do.
Deep down, you know tweaking how much protein you consume first thing doesn’t impact your day much, but it helps you feel like you’re accomplishing more before everyone else.
2. You Prune Your To Do Like A Well-Kept Garden
Sanity is a neatly categorised To Do list. You love nothing more than ticking off items one by one. The reassuring ding or swoosh of completing an item in Things, Wunderlist or Asana fills you with an alarming sense of satisfaction.
3. The Latest Productivity Apps Excite You
Trello just released a new desktop app. Now you can use your fingerprint to log into 1Password. Evernote has redesigned their experience for iOS.
You sometimes spend more time downloading and testing productivity apps than using them. You even read the release notes on the app store to see if you missed anything, and the developer’s Easter eggs usually raise a smile.
4. Tim Ferriss Is Your High Priest
…and the 4-Hour Workweek your bible.
A well-thumbed copy of Tribe of Mentors sits on your bookshelf. His two-hour podcast episodes auto-download to your phone, which you listen to on x2 speed of course. Tim’s reading list is your speed reading list. You even know all about his dog.
It’s best you never meet.
5. You Think In Terms Of Next Actions
Are you ringing the contractor with the bad news or Stephen from marketing? Is it your responsibility to distribute the report or Sarah’s?
And the deadline for the project, it’s next Friday, right? If your calendar is a shield for defending your best self, then next actions are a sword you use to slice through the work week.
6. You Treat Meetings Like The Enemy
You’d rather rub lemons in your eyes than spend 30 or even, gasp, 60 minutes on a conference call or sitting in a room with a large group of people talking about one topic. All you can think about is your To Do list and what you could have accomplished in that time.
What’s more, you die a small death inside each time someone wraps up a meeting without summarizing who is doing what and when.
A plague upon their houses.
7. You Spend More Time Reviewing Your Calendar Than Watching Television
You muse over the best time for block booking 30 or 60 minutes to work on your most important projects. Should you set time aside in the morning or the evening for deep work?
You’ve color-coded everything so you can see at a glance who you need to talk to or update and when. Yes, your calendar is a triumph of personal micromanagement.
Who has time for Love Island or This is Us anyway?
Bryan Collins is the author of The Power of Creativity. He writes about topics like productivity and leadership. He lives an hour outside Dublin in Ireland.