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I have been conscious of being productive at living for a few years now and by and large it has enriched my life. I value time far more than I used to before and that keeps me focused at tasks at hand. I also started taking note of my energy levels, moods and seasonal interests.

However, I am just a human who is experiencing various phases of life, with changes in mindset and physiology that I never anticipated before. And this makes me break my productivity cycles from time to time. I suffer periods of time in days and weeks where I pique and get a lot of things done but then follow with a lull that acts like a quagmire and I sink into it further for a long and unpredictable period till I get that final burst of energy to become productive again.

I am following a custom version of David Allen's GTD on Evernote in combination with Wunderlist. Things do progress well when I look back the years but I feel I miss out my potential.

I read Charles Duhigg's book, The Habit Loop and it helped me hack my mind a bit and I am truly inspired by Steve Job's Stanford commencement where he mentions death as a tool to achieve in life all that is great. Yet, my lulls keep coming back.

Can personal productivity be made consistent? What are the key tenets that need to be worked on? Just time, energy and will or there is something more to it.

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I think everyone needs a 'chill-out' period from time to time. If you are always productive, always working towards your goals then you don't have time to regain energy, let everything you've done sink in and really think about if the goals you've set for yourself are still the ones you want to achieve. Just embrace those less productive periods and use them as a time for reflection. – THelper Jul 8 '14 at 20:35
I do take time off from time to time, however, here I am referring to ups and downs in consistency while I am supposed to get things done. – Atif Abdul-Rahman Jul 20 '14 at 13:58
How are you defining "consistent" - the same number of items, the same number of hours, the same complexity? Or, are you having weeks where you - for lack of a better phrase - refuse to do something that "needs doing"? – Josh Bruce Jul 31 '14 at 1:18
Josh, Its the latter. – Atif Abdul-Rahman Aug 11 '14 at 12:59

The key is to find out the things that stop you from being productive. Then just get rid of them.

Find the pain buttons of your procrastination, write out thoughts at the moments you think about getting things done.

Not all thoughts - just the ones that actually stop you. They are not like the "LOOK I'M A THOUGHT ABOUT WHY I DON'T WANT TO START WORKING RIGHT NOW" ones. Its more like "hey, I'm not the one stopping you from work, so draw your attention somewhere else".

Its all about consciousness. And its starts with concentration and self-observation.

There is "a hack" to make those thoughts to go away forever, but its description is far beyond the answer to your question.

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Thanks Artem, what you are recommending is the same as Charles Duhigg's Habit Loop. Identify the triggers and take corrective action to guide the reaction to those triggers to achieve the sought behavior. I have started a practice since I last posted this question to keep reminding myself of the ultimate goal this cumbersome is helping me come close to, one step at a time. This helps me either split the task further into several subtasks and kill each one by one till I get back on track or simply drop doing those subtasks that I despise with an accepted lowering of quality.Keep the cogs moving – Atif Abdul-Rahman Oct 14 '14 at 12:59

This morning, I found an article as I looked for something on internet. It is about productivity and the author gave 10 tips based on it. I checked it and for me these tips are really useful. For example,

  1. Wake Up Before Everyone Else
  2. Tackle Tasks You Despise First
  3. Procrastinate More Often

...You can check the whole article at here. There is a very famous saying, that is, everything changes except change itself. With the time going by, many things are gonna change, so if you want to keep consistent productivity, you should know your goal and your dream (what you want to achieve) very clearly.

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Thanks Joyce. I am pretty much goal oriented and most activities I have on my agenda are tied to my goals and projects. I am looking for more of an operational hack to get back to track the moment I fall into procrastination. Thanks – Atif Abdul-Rahman Aug 11 '14 at 13:01

I understand your problem.

Working incessantly over a period of time and then relaxing , wont work all the time. You need to be super motivated to do that.

Anyways, I will give you some options / solutions, try them and they may help you to be productive on a consistent basis.

  1. The pomodoro technique- research it and read it.
  2. Use Nirvana HQ to practice GTD.

I hope this helps. All the best.

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I already use the pomodoro technique and have my GTD set on Evernote which is working fine. The problem is maintain consistency or at least make it predictable. – Atif Abdul-Rahman Oct 14 '14 at 12:57

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