I recently came across a very intriguing productivity system at a blog known as Zen Habits. It’s called Haiku Productivity, and the key to it, according to blogger Leo Babauta, is “to limit yourself to an arbitrary but small number of things, forcing yourself to focus on the important stuff and eliminate all else.”
A Haiku, of course, is a traditional Japanese poem whose highly restrictive form compels its writer to focus only on the most meaningful words and images. How does this apply to productivity? The answer is simple: it forces you to put limits on everything you do. “If you think this will allow you to accomplish twice as many tasks, you’re wrong,” explains Babauta. “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 I like best about this system, aside from its simplicity, is the fact that it can easily be altered to suit every personality. Most of us have a pretty good sense of what particular things make us stressed and disorganized throughout a day… and what we need isn’t a collection of individual quick fixes or “life hacks” (though those are certainly fun in limited doses) but a large, systematic lens that helps us see what’s important in life and what isn’t without being too prescriptive.