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Here’s a handy graph depicting my typical workflow:

productivity_workflow

I used to think I perfected this method as a largely self-taught homeschooler. I thought everyone else used the obviously-inferior sequentially-applied constant effort approach that they taught in those school buildings, along with home-ec and how to submit to authority and other useless things.

You know, the stuff dorks do. People who think of “productivity” usually aren’t very productive of anything that matters. Mainly, they make Visio diagrams.

I was on the verge of patenting my approach, which I called total distraction and denial until brink of failure when I found this graph, convincing me that there’s at least one other person out there just as enlightened as I am. Now, I am angry at one @kellabyte on Twitter. BTW: I hate you, Ms. Kellabyte.

I think the real reason I do things this way is because of this: I know nothing is ever going to be perfect, but I want it to be perfect sooo badly. I really, really do. Thus, I know if I put in slow, steady effort in the first phases of a project, the day before it’s due I’m going to look at whatever I’m doing and want to rip it up and start over, anyway. There’s something about an approaching deadline that crystallizes the mind beautifully.

Plus, there’s that adage about how hard work pays future dividends, but procrastination pays off right now. Any good businessman knows that the secret to success is quick cash flow. That’s why you can get discounts if you pay up-front for whatever it is.

But really: Don’t depend on this method. The right thing to do is to chip away at whatever it is on a regular basis. Set aside some time each day to work on it and keep working on it. Set a deadline because the difference between a dream and a goal is a deadline. Write a little each day. Always be writing or cooking or designing or playing or whatever it is you’re doing. Just keep doing it.

Then be ready to panic and cry anyway when you decide to start over a day before it’s due.

Because that’s what the cool kids do.

Photo credit: twitter.com/kellabyte

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