I’ve always been quite fascinated by productivity.
In high school and college, I managed to stay productive for 7 years by declining to do almost all homework assignments. This worked quite well because I valued other parts of my life more, but my teachers were a little exasperated, to say the least.
Nowadays that I’ve got a leadership roles in various organizations, I can’t afford to not be productive, and interestingly enough I’ve begun to see how my old high school approach is actually useful.
The issue with not doing stuff should be a case of priorities vs the time available to actually get stuff done. There is almost always more work to do if you want to find it.
The issue then is not the amount, but being able to prioritize what is important both for yourself and the organization that you’re part of.
This is why to-do lists are actually a fairly bad way of managing what you want to do. Because they are so easy to create, one ends up taking way too much on board, and then either overworking or doing things faster and sacrificing quality.
A better approach is to schedule things on your calendar. It’s a reality of life that we have a limited amount of time available, both during the working week and also in life in general.
Scheduling tasks forces us to confront this reality and ensure that we focus on what really matters.
Everything else? It can slide.