The Productivity Project (2016) by Chris Bailey. To get more done, strive for imperfection.

A passage by Chris Bailey (pp. 4-5) in The Productivity Project (2016) describes campuses in the 1960s and 1970s that were built without any paths:

“During the 1960s and 1970s, the University of California at Irvine was one of a group of universities that decided to build their campuses without any paths. (I went to school in Canada, but I love this story.) Students and faculty simply walked in the grass around the campus buildings as they pleased, without following a walkway that was already paved for them. A year or so later, once the school could see where the grass was worn around the buildings, they paved over those paths instead. The sidewalks at UC Irvine don’t simply connect the buildings to one another in a predetermined way – they’re mapped to where people natu­rally want to walk. Landscape architects call these paths ‘desire paths.’ ”

[End of text]

CBC Ontario Today, Jan. 14, 2016

The above-noted book was the subject of a CBC Radio, Ontario Today broadcast, which I found of much interest, entitled: “What slows you down?”

An online note reads:

“After graduating from university, Chris Bailey embarked on a year-long experiment to figure out what makes him more productive and what slows him down. He went several weeks with little sleep; cut out caffeine and sugar; got up earlier; worked longer. The result is his new book, The Productivity Project: Accomplishing More by Managing Your Time, Attention and Energy.”

The online note refers to several related links:

The path to meaningful work: Chris Bailey at TEDxGatineau

Listen to the Jan. 14, 2016 CBC Ontario Today podcast with Chris Bailey here >

Ten tips for being more productive

Ten tips to make you more productive in 2016

The above-noted link features the following ten tips from Chris Bailey:

1. Consume caffeine strategically, not habitually.

2. Work on your hardest, highest return tasks at your peak energy time of the day.

3. Group grocery shopping, choice and maintenance tasks on a specific day.

4. Compartmentalize email and social media to specific times.

5. Take quick, frequent breaks throughout the day.

6. Focus on one task at a time. Multitasking is simply less productive.

7. Allow your mind to wander a little every day, so creative solutions can bubble to the surface.

8. Schedule less time for important tasks.

9. To get more done, strive for imperfection.

10. Slow down, so you’re able to work more deliberately, and with intention.

[End of text by Chris Bailey]


A previous post addressed, from a different angle. the topic of getting things dome:

WOOP (Oettingen 2014): Wish | Outcome | Obstacle | Plan: Getting things done by focusing on the task at hand


A Jan. 17, 2016 Guardian article is entitled: “Sweet nightmares: a guide to cutting down on sugar: Sugar is making us fatter and sicker. Yet we still don’t realise how much we’re eating. As the government considers imposing a tax, we look at how to cut down without missing out. Plus: alternative recipes.”


2 replies
  1. graeme decarie
    graeme decarie says:

    I hate being organized. The stimulant that makes me productive is a local, diet ginger ale that sells at six big bottles for five dollars. That and hoofprints frozen yogurt.

    Give my best to Bob. I’d like to know about him and Jim.


  2. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    My own level of organization is and is not phenomenal. Often when I seek to get something done, I start with something else because I know that I will then go off on a tangent and do what I was planning to do when I sought to get something done.

    I’m pleased that I learned so much years ago, about the topic of Buddhisms and violence, by starting off with a close study of world military history which led naturally after some years to a close study of Buddhisms and violence. That was a great way, in my case, to find out about such a topic. I would never have learned as much just by studying Buddhist versions of Buddhist history. Again, I would not have begun to read about military history had I not started with a project to learn about the history of police services in the local neighbourhood where I live.

    Another reason I began to read about military history was the fact that I wanted to learn something about the life and times of a local European settler, a colonel who built a log cabin in 1797 not far from where I live. Little is known by way of historical evidence about the colonel which meant that reading about military history would enable me to get a sense, through indirect means, of what his life was about.

    Allowing the mind to wander a bit

    The early morning hours, just after I’ve woken up, is a great time. I’ve found, to practise Item No. 7 (above): “Allow your mind to wander a little every day, so creative solutions can bubble to the surface.”

    I love my two cups of morning coffee which I brew at home. Nothing strategic about it but I look forward to reading the author’s comments about what he’s learned about caffeine. I may change by approach to coffee once I’ve read his observations. I would like to get into the habit of drinking green tea. The evidence in favour of the latter is impressive as I recall from my reading about such topics.

    At the Jan. 14, 2016 CBC Ontario Today interview (a link to it is available at the post above), Chris Bailey mentioned that a feature of mindfulness meditation is that every time a person manages to get one’s thoughts back to the task at hand during such a form of mediation, which is to focus on one’s breathing, the mental muscle that is associated with the training of one’s capacity to attend to things is strengthened.

    Bob Carswell

    I will put together, with Bob’s help. an update about him and Jim Carswell. I recorded extensive information about Jim’s life when I met with Bob Carswell for coffee in December 2015, but have not gotten around to writing up a report based on the interview. This time I will see if I can arrange for Bob to write something out.

    Good to know about the ginger ale. Chris Bailey also devotes some passages, in his record of his productivity project, to sugary drinks.

    An interesting feature of his project is that he followed his dream, which was to put all else aside, at an early stage of his life, and to focus on exploring his obsession, which in his case is productivity – a topic that had thoroughly intrigued him, on a theoretical and practical / experiential basis, since childhood.


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