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Interesting Findings And World Unfolding Through My Eyes.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Haiku Ways

I’m sure you’ve heard of the Pareto principle, known also as the 80/20 rule. While I don’t think that the percentages of that rule are exact, the principle is true: you should focus on the few things that get you the most benefit.

But while that’s nice in principle, in practice it’s hardly ever done. Why? Because we have too much thrown at us at once, and we’re too busy juggling everything coming at us to take a minute and evaluate what’s essential, what gets the most benefit for the least amount of effort, and what we should really focus on.

There’s no systematic way to focus on the essential stuff, and eliminate the rest.

Until now. I’ve developed a system I call Haiku Productivity, based on some good ideas by others (and I won’t be able to name them all, but know that I am indebted). The key to Haiku Productivity is to limit yourself to an arbitrary but small number of things, forcing yourself to focus on the important stuff and eliminate all else.

Haiku: Limited but powerful
To understand this simple concept, think about the form of the haiku (the common version, at least): it’s poetry in 17 syllables, with 3 lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables (I know there are variations and this is only a rough definition, but that’s not important to this article). The point is that the form of the haiku is extremely limited, to a small number of lines and syllables.

What this does is forces the poet to focus on only those words that mean the most to the poem. While other forms of poetry can go on for pages, haiku are short and compact. As a result, haiku can be some of the most powerful poems in any language.

With such a limited form, you cannot just use any amount of words you want to express a concept. You have to focus on one small but essential concept, and as a result you accomplish a lot with a few syllables. That’s what Haiku Productivity is.

Limited but Productive
So how does this apply to productivity? Well, if you think this will allow you to accomplish twice as many tasks, you’re wrong. You’ll accomplish fewer tasks. But you will most likely be more effective, because you will have to choose only the essential tasks — the ones that will give you the most benefit for your limited time.

What are the other benefits of Haiku Productivity, besides increased effectiveness? Besides forcing you to focus on essential tasks that have a large Return on Investment (ROI), it forces you to eliminate the non-essential tasks. No other system forces you to do that. It forces you to make the best use of your time. It forces you to limit the time you spend on things, which means you have more time for other things that are important to you, and you are able to focus on what you want to focus on, instead of everything coming at you.

It simplifies your life and makes you less stressed out.

Haiku Productivity: Place Limits on Everything
For those who enjoyed Zen To Done (ZTD), this is an extension of those concepts.

The rule of Haiku Productivity is: put limits on everything you do.

That’s it. One rule. What are the things you do? It’s different for everyone, but common ones might be: email, RSS feeds, goals, time wasters, tasks.

What limits should you set? It’s different for everyone. And it’s arbitrary (there are no logical limits for anything — it’s necessarily arbitrary) but based on your own experience and experimentation.

Posted by Ajay :: 5:47 PM :: 0 comments

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