I’ve always been a fan of optimization. It’s part of what makes us human: After all, we’ve been optimizing since the first human picked up a stick.

In 2015, I set out to optimize every aspect of my life through a series of grand experiments. For this series, I will focus on what I discovered while experimenting on my productivity.

Finding a foothold

The difficulty with improving productivity boils down to one human flaw: We think our future self can do something even if our present self cannot. Let’s say you want to increase your productivity when writing a book. You’ll probably think ‘Tomorrow, I’ll write 6 pages’. Now ask yourself, if you did half a page today, what are the odds of you doing 6 pages tomorrow?

I believe we can reconcile our future and present selves by learning to estimate how much we can achieve.

The benefits of forecasting

Accurate performance forecasting will trigger a chain reaction:

How to start performance forecasting

To improve your performance forecasting skills, you firstly need to begin tracking your daily activity.

Then, look at how much you did today. Was it zero minutes? This doesn’t matter as long as you set tomorrow’s goal with this in mind: today’s performance + a small increase.

Keep refining your forecast based on what you’ve produced today. Soon you will start achieving your goals and in the process, you will learn more about yourself.

In my next post, I will address the issues associated with productivity and health.

If you have any comments or question, feel free to tweet me @PierreAclement