Productivity is very important to us around here.
It's more of a complex concept than I had initially taken it for. Not only are there the subtleties of which activities count as productive or not -- Wal considers movies productive, and not TV, but there's a loophole for watching a TV series on DVD -- but also the priority of and motivation behind the "productive" tasks.
These sorts of things are both productive and detrimental to your highest priority tasks (when they are difficult or odious).
Take today, for example. I promised that I would do a certain messy multi-part grading task, to return today. I made the promise yesterday, around noontime. Last night I could only make it through the first step. Once again I found myself in the procrastinator's productivity -- yes, I did need to file emails a bit to find the homeworks and download them all, but cleaning out my inbox was definitely not a higher priority than this grading.
Chores vs. Tasks:
I usually separate the two on my to do lists (unless it's one sorted mainly by timing), because, by god, I'm not going to write "do the dishes," every day, cross it out, and then immediately re-write it. I want to get the chores done, because, honestly, our guinea pigs are smelly. I only have a certain amount of time and energy to devote at any time (efficiency and work/life demands notwithstanding), so if I always use it to stay caught up on recurring household tasks (which, spoiler: I don't) that would leave little time for things like my binder system or dentist appointments or preventative maintenance on my car or any of my fun projects, for that matter.
Dear Diary: Today I scoured
At work I log everything I do in detail, so I can easily look back at how much I have accomplished - I'm missing that at home. I've been trying to give myself credit for a) choosing to be productive at all, rather than watching GIRLICIOUS (...reruns) and b) selecting items to work on with some care.
Especially with the electronic to do lists, there's just no long term way of reminding yourself how great you are for vacuuming.
The PRODUCTIVITY SCORING SYSTEM
The points should be somewhat logical, but I'm being pretty subjective with what we call in estimating correction factors-- a task that is normally worth a certain amount may be worth more or less based on the conditions. Also, I've thrown in bonuses and penalties, because that's how I roll.
4/10/08: 82 Points
Guinea Pigs - change out chips: 2 points (15 minutes)
Sweep floor: 1 point (2 min)
(gross guinea pig detritus)
Dishes: 2 points (6 min)
Cat - litter box, scoop & full scrub: 5 points (10 min)
Dentist Appointment: 25 points (2 hrs)
(Normal 40 pts, -15 pt penalty for missing work; hurty, involves leaving the house)
Set Up Appt - dentist for Wal: 2 points (2 minutes)
(1 normal + 1 bonus for efficiency: Once I was satisfied that I liked the new dentist and that he had a good chance of liking them too, I checked if they took his insurance and scheduled him in while still standing at the desk. No calling or searching listings needed.)
Grocery Store Run: 10 points (15 -5 penalty for putting off grading; involves leaving the house)
Errands: 2 points (Got indicated dental supplies at grocery store, thus saving another trip out)
Workout - missed scheduled: -5 (Poor neighbor. Sorry!)
Blog Post: 5 points (30 min)
(Avoided penalty by waiting until grading deadline was met)
Grading - Doing the stupid assignment again so I can grade from it: 7 points (1.5 hrs)
How did I manage to change just enough that my previous work wasn't enough? Argh.
Grading - Commenting on and scoring homeworks: 20 points (1.5 hours)
(50 points if done before asked. 30 if hadn't been squeezing the deadline)
Emailing out grades: 1 points (10 min)
Movies - The Misfits: 1 point
(+5 awesome movie, -4 missing most of it and doing other things)
Dental Care Routine: 1 point (5 min)
(I better get some damn credit for this, because, bah.)