There was a mention in GTD about how effective tricks and toys can be with your productivity, and since I’d read that I’ve relentlessly pursued honesty with myself on what cool toys I’ve bought in the name of productivity and actually use well, versus the stuff that suckered some money and dreaminess out of me but is nothing more than cool looking clutter.
The cool clutter designation has grown to embarrassing proportions, however I have to share this tip about a fairly new toy that is working magic for me. It’s the $14.99 Office Max Self-Inking Date Stamper.
Let’s face it: Wasted time and duplication of effort can run rampant for us simply because we pick something up to work on it, then put it aside (yes, even back in IN when no one is looking), re-file it, re-tickler it, or renegotiate our agreement with it in “mind-like water” GTD head-clearing style, patting ourselves on the back for going through the decision process.
But the fact remains that we still didn’t DO it.
In my book, I have lied to myself.
In a lucid moment (one of my new favorite phrases, thank you Chris) a few weeks ago, I realized just how much I was fooling myself by calling my procrastination “renegotiation.” I also was having pretty good success with my new habit of dating everything — Ctrl C to save the days date, then a quick Ctrl V to enter it into everything digitally done; however picking up a pen for a piece of paper was getting as annoying as reaching for my mouse. So on another money-sucking impulse buy I purchased the Office Max Self-Inking Date Stamper.
Except this time I struck gold.
Every time I handle a piece of paper I date stamp it.
Collect into inbox — Stamp!
Processing inbox — Stamp!
Reviewing tickler — Stamp!
Print anything — Stamp!
Delegate — Stamp!
Defer — Stamp!
Started to DO, but didn’t finish — Stamp!
Started to Read, but didn’t finish — Stamp!
Didn’t finish ANYTHING — STAMP!
Yes, I am still picking up something besides my mouse or a pen, but this mechanical wonder of old offices gone by is a toy for me, not an annoyance. Pure and simple fun to use … any need for more fun on your desk?
Now this is not a wimpy little dater: This one stamps a 2-line bright blue and red 1.5 x.75 image that screams at me,
I DARE YOU TO IGNORE ME AGAIN!
I even date stamp post-its now, and slap them onto non-paper things I’ve picked up and not finished the job with. Having to see that line-up of dates on the number of times I have renegotiated a previous agreement with something has effectively killed my bad habits with procrastinating about doing stuff. If I just multiply the number of dates times 5 minutes, realizing the time I have lost in kidding myself about something creates BIG incentive with me for getting the dirty deed done once and for all.
It may very well be the best $14.99 + tax I’ve spent in a very long time. I’m even thinking of naming the little guy.