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Cranking Widgets: Turn Your Work into Stress-free Productivity

Every Monday is Productivity & Organization Day at Zen Habits.

One of the great revelations that David Allen makes in Getting Things Done is his analogy of cranking widgets. In a nutshell, he talks about those simple jobs where you come to work in the morning with a pile of widgets to crank, and you leave work with a pile of nicely cranked widgets. It’s a mindless job, but there’s not much stress, and it’s satisfying, and it’s simple. And you know if you’re being productive because you are really cranking those widgets.

For most of us, it’s not that simple. We’ve got a million emails, voicemails, phone calls, documents and visitors to deal with. That’s on top of a list of projects and to-dos that can drive anyone crazy. With all of that going on, we look at our list and see an item that says, “Redesign website” or “Research market trends”. Frankly, those are not widgets that can be cranked. They are intimidating projects that might sit on the to-do list while we go check out our favorite blog (Zen Habits, most likely!).

So what to do? Turn your work into a Cranking Widgets job.

Here’s how:

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