At the day job there is a chronic issue with micromanagement. My particular district has struggled with results for the last decade or so; the answer the powers that be have come up with involves tracking—anything and everything—and conference calls—nearly every day, sometimes feeling like they last all day—and incessant nagging for “action plans.” Apparently, the ideal solution to this problem is to make more useless work for people and take up time they could otherwise use to apply themselves to tasks that would help them hit targets and solve the issue in the long run.
But I digress.
My specific office is usually shielded from the micromanaging because we have consistently good results and our manager doesn’t bother us with requests about tracking and plans when those demands comes down the ladder. She was gone for two weeks recently and my manager stepped into that role to cover. She barely made it through. And I barely made it through having to hear about it.
As I tried to come up with something to write about today, I scrolled through old posts like I normally do when looking for inspiration. I saw my 6 Month Tracker Post and thought I should do an update. I immediately realized I had decided a couple of months ago that I am not going to continue with that kind of productivity recording come 2018 (I will write a wrap up post). Then I thought, yeesh, I track myself in a lot of odd ways.
Of course, this led me to the big thought: Am I micromanaging myself?
I have a tendency to let life take over and forget to do my tracking. Then I spend close to an hour sometimes playing catch up. That’s close to an hour I could spend writing. Or reading. Or getting better things done. I have somehow conflated tracking with productivity; I have turned the recording of productivity into actual productivity in my mind, and that is not the case.
For instance, if I am behind on my targets and goals and I start seeing those numbers regularly somehow I believe I will recognize that I’m failing and I’ll intuitively correct the problem. Instead of applying myself to writing I track how little writing I’m doing—like giving myself trouble will help me straighten up and fly right. Having seen this kind of treatment firsthand in my district I know the opposite is true. It sucks the fun and life out of everything. It destroys motivation. It wastes time.
I do like to track my output and the time I spend doing all the things I do in terms of writing. But I need to develop a system that doesn’t detract from the joy of writing. Because it should still be a joy regardless of how hard it can be. I used to record my word output in timed intervals. It was easy and let me be competitive with myself. It was fun. Why did I change that?