Trying to be Organised in a Start-Up – Why I Don’t Bother

There are three days left until hand in and, naturally, it is going to be tight. Doable, but tight. Then I go and make what I now know to be an extremely foolish mistake.

During some of my earlier and more desperate times I would find myself searching for what their authors and presenters like to call ‘productivity hacks’.

Definition: The Productivity Hack – These are generally considered to be new insights or techniques for increasing productivity. If you’re lucky you may stumble across a real gem, a piece of thought provoking writing, written by a competent human with the genuine intention of helping the reader. More likely though, is that you will find something written or presented (as these are very commonly found in video form) by those infuriating people who always seem exhaustingly happy and endlessly eager. They have the extraordinary ability to say a lot of words, very fast, in a staggering range of tones, whilst at the same not saying anything meaningful at all. By the end of these videos you sit wiping the sweat from your forehead, chugging a pint of water, and wondering what the hell just happened. How they are able to sustain such energy and positivity is not for us mere mortals to ever truly understand. I for one am convinced that such people must be a) deeply disturbed, b) Oscar worthy actors, or c) absolutely off their faces on the finest of Colombian snow. The videos especially are made much more entertaining should you assume c.

Anyway, fed up with my frankly lack lustre in-built time management approach (by which of course I mean I have no approach at all) I decided to try out one of the simpler techniques I’d lucked upon. So with an almost alien sense of determination I set about splitting up and categorising my tasks. I gave each a reasonable time required estimate, and organising everything in to the next three days. For the first time in a long time I had a real plan. I even had a spare hour at the end in case any tasks ran over. It is fair to say that at this point I sure was feeling pretty chuffed with myself. What an absolute rookie I was.

Two hours in to life as a reformed productivity guru I was summoned to an emergency meeting with He Up High to discuss that very project. Just over an hour later I emerged. What was the outcome of this meeting you may wonder? Change in required deliverables? Bringing forward of the deadline? Maybe the extending of the deadline? OK, by now you probably aren’t thinking the last one. But no it was none of these, the conclusion was…. we needed another meeting that afternoon. This second meeting was different, because unlike the first it managed to drag on for an hour and a half. Fortunately this time we didn’t conclude that we needed another meeting. In fact nothing was concluded at all. So after a combined two and a half hours, it had finally been agreed that the current approach was indeed the right one. Sitting back at my desk I looked longingly over to that morning’s time plan. It did at least manage to give me some pleasure. There is a little part in all our brains that simply loves to shred things.

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