A "Gradual Commitment" Productivity System


For years I’ve hopped from one productivity system to another:

  • Seinfeld Chains
  • GTD
  • Autofocus
  • Final Version
  • Mini-habits
  • Unscheduling
  • The One Thing
  • Weighted random sampling
  • HabitBull
  • Beeminder
  • and many, many more

I even designed my own productivity software. “HabitShaper”, which is now abandonded. And “Stride”, a task manager based on how CPU’s juggle and complete tasks, which *ahem* I never completed.

All this leap-frogging has just been perfectionism, of course. I know that more important than which system I choose is whether I stick to any system long enough to see the benefits. Seneca said it best:

“Nothing hinders a cure so much as frequent changes of treatment; a wound will not heal over if it is being made the subject of experiments with different ointments; a plant which is frequently moved never grows strong. Nothing is so useful that it can be of any service in the mere passing.”
Seneca, Letter II, “Letters from a Stoic” (c. 65 AD)

But how bad has it been for me, really?
Well, I recently found my New Year’s resolutions from when I turned 15:

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The Collective

An organizational model with the aim of complete freedom for its members. Fear of scarcity drives so much of our behavior. And, as I recently learned, we don’t really have scarcity of resources, but we do have scarcity of money. There simply isn’t enough currency to go around. Banks create money through credit, but they need to be paid back the principal and interest, which they don’t create.

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List of Ideas

I woke at 4am. It’s 5am now, and I couldn’t fall back asleep. I have a lot of ideas that I’m working on. Some that I’ve been refining over years, others are more recent. But none have been publicly shared, and I see no reason to continue keeping these to myself. If anything, it might be my reticence that has kept these from becoming more than ideas. Here they are, ordered by some intuitive combination of “feasibility” and “potential impact”:

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What is Good Enough?

I’ve been trying to find (or choose), a life purpose. It’s something I’ve attempted many times in the past, always coming to some conclusion, and then failing to commit to it in any way. Now I understand that finding a purpose is nothing more than choosing a direction. In other words, my purpose shouldn’t be a destination or outcome, and it shouldn’t be a limit or ceiling. It’s a direction, and nothing more.

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A Venue for Ideas

I am continually producing, modifying, discarding, and reviving ideas. At the same time, I know that bringing ideas to life is a very long road, based on my experiences with Gingko, my PhD, and projects before then. But that doesn’t mean that ideas themselves have no value. They do. This is my venue for sharing my ideas openly. Without fear, and without expectation of reward. I believe deeply that we can all live better if we did so.

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