To-do lists don’t work in creative careers. That’s because you can’t schedule inspiration. Here’s an alternative to to-do lists that will ensure you stay both creative and productive. First eluded to in Nickel City Pixels Workspace II! (as featured on Lifehacker), in this newest video I elaborate on my Gamified Index Card System.
In #indiedev, if you want to be productive you can’t wait for motivation, you need to stay disciplined. That requires being honest about the hours you put in and logging tasks religiously. It also means being candid about what “work” is a distraction, and what work is going to get results. And as time is money, you need to know how much each goal costs.
This Gamified Index Card System addresses all these issues and then some. On a stack of index cards, each of which represents a two-hour chunk of time, write a task and assign it a point value. The more critical the task (or the less likely you are to actually getting around to doing it), the higher the point value should be. Rather than scheduling to-do tasks, choose from the slush-pile of index cards according to what seems most promising then and there, as inspiration strikes. As you complete tasks, pin them to a corkboard. At the end of the day, log and tally your tasks and make sure you’re somewhere near your daily quota.
To keep yourself honest use a timer. Logging your tasks and daily point values enables you to see where your time is going and where it is getting results. Give yourself points for getting results too; it will help ensure you’re not simply spinning your wheels down the slippery slope of busy work.
The Gamified Index Card System addresses the failings of to-do lists. It will help you be both creative and productive. I highly recommend it! Please try it out and let me know how it goes!