100 Days of (Productive) Summer


Starting tomorrow, every day for one hundred days I will do the following five things:

1. Get up early. (‘Early’ is defined here as ‘before Tom‘.)

2. Exercise.

3. Write something.

4. Try out one of A Year of Productivity’s 100 time, energy and hacks to be more productive.

5. Blog about it. (This does not count as the day’s writing. I have to write something else as well.)


If there is one thing everyone who knows me would agree on, it is this: time management is not my strong point. ‘Be more organised’ has been one of my New Year’s Resolutions every year since I was seven. You know that Sex And The City line, ‘I will never be the girl with the perfect hair, who can wear white and not spill on it’? Well, I’ll never be the girl who is on time.

Admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery, and I’m always on the lookout for ways to improve. Now, if you’ve ever read many blogs about productivity and ‘life hacks’…I don’t know, maybe it’s only me who finds them so annoying in parts. I mean, stop calling everything a ‘hack’. It’s just a pretentious way of saying ‘tip’. (Having said that I’ve just realised the word ‘hack’ is in my name. I could start my own productivity blog and call it LifeHackwood! No?)

Anyway, although some aspects of these blogs get my back up, there are some  useful tips in there, and some bloggers have achieved impressive results by testing out the tactics that work best for them. One such is Chris Bailey, who spent a whole year testing out productivity tips on himself for his blog A Year of Productivity, and came up with a list of 100 top hacks tips at the end.  And, well, I love a project with an end date. I’d try #100happydays but I fear it would damage my misanthropic pout. Thus: 100 Days of Productive Summer!


This isn’t going to be easy, but I’m going to use a few different ways of making myself accountable.

– social media. If you see me on it, please ask me if I’ve done my 5 things yet today. If not, feel free to give me grief. (Y’know, constructively.)

– Don’t Break The Chain! I’m going to record every day of my progress as a ‘chain’ – it’s a habit-forming method inspired by Seinfeld, so what’s not to like?

– Go F**king Do ItWhen it comes to productivity apps, this is the nuclear option. You tell the app what you want to achieve; give it a time-frame; appoint a ‘supervisor’ to check whether you’ve achieved your goal…and then if you don’t do it, you will be charged money. No, I’m not joking. Tom has agreed to supervise me. Over the course of this project, if I don’t do what I’ve said I’ll do, it could cost me $1000. (It’s an American app, before you ask.)


Starting tomorrow and ending on Wednesday the 10th of September. That’s 100 days, minus a few days off for Latitude and Manchester Pride.

And why? For the love of God, why?

Getting obsessed with productivity for its own sake is as pointless as it is annoying. As usual, this is best illustrated by xkcd:


But I’m not just doing this so I can bore you with it. There are lots of things I want to do, and I need to become more organised in order to do them. For example, I want to:

– get to work earlier. I sometimes have to leave soon after 4 to get to meetings or a campaign session. If I get in earlier, I can get more done.

– be more punctual. That creaking sound you can hear is everyone I know nodding.

– make better use of dead time. I spend 10-15 hours on buses every week, and I’m sure there is something better I could do with that time than work on my 2048 score.

– be better. Being more on top of my life and my time – being better able to prioritise – will, I hope, make me a better councillor, friend, writer, runner, campaigner…all those things I do. Speaking of which…

– do more things.  I have two part-time jobs, one of which is very flexible, and I don’t have any kids. Realistically, I should be able to work on a few more writing projects, train for a lot more races, fit in another handful of commitments. Maybe leave the country every now and again. I’m 30 next year and there’s a lot I haven’t done yet.

Daily updates to follow for anyone who is interested, or is taking bets in how soon I’ll fail. Wish me luck…


2 thoughts on “100 Days of (Productive) Summer

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