Just because you are busy, does not mean you are at your most productive. The More Product; Less Process principle is about targeting your work to have the greatest possible impact. By cutting out activities that eat up your time, you can increase the amount of work you actually get done.
Thinking about Productivity
Many people have already expressed this concept, in tons of different ways:
- The 80/20 rule (aka the Pareto Principle) suggests that 80% of the product comes from 20% of your work.
- In The One Thing, Gary Keller and Jay Papasan suggest that you should focus your energies on ONE thing only. That thing should be the one that matters most to you, and that will have the greatest impact.
- Timothy Ferriss outlines his strategy for streamlining his workload in The 4 Hour Workweek. Define; Eliminate; Automate; Liberate.
But when I came across MP;LP two years ago, it really resonated with me. As a phrase, I found it a useful, pithy mantra to help me decide where to invest my time and effort.
MP;LP in Digital Archiving
So why am I writing about productivity on this digital archiving blog?
Because - as you may have noticed - some of the things I am suggesting you do are preeetty time intensive.
I get it!
The point of what I am doing here, is to help you get on top of saving your digital treasures forever... SO THAT you can get on with creating things that are worth saving forever!
I absolutely respect your time and effort.
So here is how you can apply MP;LP to saving your digital treasures.
Know Your Why
Do your digital things matter to you? How would you feel if they got lost, deleted or corrupted?
If you have put hours of work into something and would be devastated to lose it, then you owe it to yourself to archive it.
If you wouldn't be that fussed, then don't waste your time.
Set Your Goals
Once you know why you are bothering, it should be pretty clear what your priorities are.
For example, if you are a photographer it may be important to you that your digital photographs are safe. So your goal might be to identify and save your photos. There is no need to bother archiving the rest of your material, if you do not consider it your treasure.
If you are a small business owner, you may prioritise business continuity. So you would focus on your working files, and not worry about the rest.
In short, decide what is important to you and focus on that.
Design a System for Future-You
Okay, so you are all enthusiastic and ready to throw yourself into this. Setting up your digital archive will be a big ol' project at first.
But afterwards Future-you is going to have to live with the system you set up. If the system you set up is too complex, then you:
1. Waste time in the future. Future-you does not want to have to go through loads of work to put new digital files in their correct place.
2. Waste your time now. If Future-you abandons your system in frustration, then you wasted your time setting it up.
Why waste your own time? Make sure it is easier to stick to your digital archiving system, than it is not to.
If a machine can do something for you, don't do it yourself. Just don't.
The One Action Rule
If you cannot automate something, then design it for lazy Future-you. If adding to your digital archive involves anything more than a drag-and-drop, then your system is too complicated.
Try and keep your process as simple as possible.
Quit Doing Unimportant Stuff
Once you have a system that works, get on with life. Do what makes you you. Create things you will be proud of.
Quit wasting time doing things that don't align with your goals. Don't sit there tweaking folder structures and file names. Don't aim for perfect - once your archive is good enough, stop.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my article! I have already said how much I appreciate your time and effort. My favourite thing about humans is how creative we are. I hope this inspired you to focus on the things you find the most meaningful.
If you are creating digital things that you love, then invest in them. But don't let digital archiving take up all your time. With that in mind, I publish a new article every Tuesday with advice on how to care for your digital treasures. If you would like me to email these to you, then why not join my email community, and I will send you new articles once a month.
As always, you are welcome to get in touch with me on Twitter! I'd love to hear how you are applying the More Product; Less Process principle to any area of your life.