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Analog Productivity

April 11, 2015
E-Portfolio Goal Thermometer

E-Portfolio Goal Thermometer

Sometimes I strike a strange balance between analog and digital when it comes to my work habits.

I love Google Drive and Evernote, but part of my learning process when I’m trying to squeeze as much as possible out of a book or article is to write it down in a single subject notebook. Then it gets transcribed into the digital space (such as Evernote) – so I’m reading it twice, writing it twice. It’s stuck in my head pretty well after that.

When it comes to tasks and goals, I’ve tried so many different to-do list apps and programs, but nothing beats a piece of scratch paper or a bit of my calendar spread for writing down what needs to get done – the satisfaction of the highlighter swipe across the task is much more fulfilling for me than clicking “Complete” or “Done” on a screen.

I did this with my E-Portfolio for my MLIS in the fall of 2013 (see image to the right). I set goals for myself, based on percentages and given dates, and wrote down the date that I got the email back from my professor saying that I had completed the corresponding competency to her satisfaction. On November 14, 2013, when I finally filled in J with a green highlighter and wrote the date, I was immensely pleased with myself.

I got in the habit last year of creating daily and/or weekly to-do lists. I would get the same satisfaction crossing off items and doing quick calculations to know how productive I had been  – 80%? 90%? 100%? Given, this wasn’t an accurate productivity score – it didn’t factor in helping patrons on the phone or at the desk, or doing other routine service desk duties. Still – it was a little bit of daily motivation that didn’t require me to manage something like HabitRPG (as cool as it is). Also, having a little notepad next to me at the desk works a lot better than my phone. From what I can tell, you get the most out of HabitRPG when you have friends who also use (play?) it, which means getting buy-in from your social circle. While this isn’t impossible, I’m not sure if my social group would support a thing like this. It’s not the same as saying “Hey guys! Want to try out a new RPG Saturday night?”

The balance I’ve struck works for me. It’s not fancy. It’s not techy. But it generates the right amount of “small win” achievement-based motivation I need to tackle large projects.

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