I mentioned "Getting Things Done" in an earlier post - as a twist on the system, I decided to start measuring exactly how many Things I got done each day. Every time I finish a task on my to-do list, be it 'Clean the closet' or 'Read the next book on the pMBA list' or 'Take out the trash', I increment the counter by one for that day.
"That's silly," you say. "Surely 'Clean the closet' is a much bigger task than 'Take Out The Trash.' What a useless measurement."
Well, yes, but - in the long run, I think it averages out. This is why tracking the number of open bugs as we approach our ship date is actually a useful thing to do. So while on a day-to-day basis the number might not be useful (spent the whole day reading Book X, therefore I only got 1 thing done) - tracking on a week-by-week basis probably is.
Right now I seem to average 1.25 things done per day. So if I can get to the point where I'm getting 2 things done per day, I can be happy. For a while. And then try for 3.
Of course, I will no doubt start gaming the system. Breaking tasks into smaller sub-tasks; calling things I wouldn't have called tasks (like writing blog entries?) tasks; and so on. To a certain extent that's fine - breaking up tasks makes them more manageable, and recognizing that I'm being productive while I'm writing a blog entry seems fair, too. And at some point I'll run out of ways to game it, and I'll have to come up with real ideas for increasing my productivity.