Productivity Advice for Bono

September 4, 2007

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Evaluating your activity in terms of the return on investment of your time and effort is a great strategy for getting more done.

Have you ever got some random song stuck in your head? I have. The other day I was walking through the supper market, and heard that U2 song “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”. It actually got me thinking about a conversation I once had with a friend.

A while back I was chatting with that friend about his work, and a realization he had just made. He was telling me that he’d recently slipped a bit in terms of organization by letting his desk get messy.

He recounted that just the day before, he had spent 15 minutes looking for an important document … without finding it. So he decided to spend the next 15 minutes cleaning his entire desk, and lo and behold - he found what he was looking for.

Right then and there he decided that in the future if ever he couldn’t find something within 5 minutes, he would stop looking, and start cleaning. That’s actually great advice.

I tend to evaluate things in terms of the ROI (return on investment) for my effort. I think it’s a great way to prioritize one’s activities. Using that criterion, my friend made a wise choice in deciding to invest his time cleaning, rather then spend his time looking.

So I’m not sure if Bono still hasn’t found what he was looking for all those years ago. But if he hasn’t, I would definitely recommend that he stop looking, and start cleaning.

(Originally posted 07/06/07, reposted with audio 09/04/07)

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2 Responses to “Productivity Advice for Bono”

  1. Josh on September 24th, 2007 11:11 pm

    My advice? Never leave anything important on your desk - and throw anything there away regularly! Use google desktop search to find any important files or emails.

  2. natejust on September 25th, 2007 6:29 am

    Hey Josh,

    Totally agree here. It reminds me of that expression, “out of sight, out of mind.” The inverse is also true, “In sight, in mind.”

    Cluttered desks lead to cluttered and distracted minds!

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