One of the beautiful things about humans is how diverse we are. Not just in the way we look, dress and eat, but in the way we feel, think and process. What works for one person won’t necessarily work for another, and trying to force a square peg into a round hole is just an exercise in frustration.
This truth is particularly apparent in the realm of productivity.
Productivity “hacks” are everywhere these days. As of July 2023, James Clear’s book “Atomic Habits” has sold 15 million copies worldwide. Clear’s approach to habit formation has made waves because it feels far more accessible and achievable than many others—and indeed, many have found it life-changing—but what if consistent habits and routines aren’t a part of your makeup?
That’s the question Elizabeth Filips addresses in a script-flipping video describing how her brain simply works differently.
Filips is an artist, medical student, author, podcaster and YouTube creator who has accomplished an astonishing amount in what she refers to as her “chaotically organized” life. For her, productivity doesn’t look like consistency, habit and routine—the things that are so often drilled into us as the keys to getting things done. Rather, she’s learned to harness her passion-led motivation and work in huge, productive spurts of focus.
Essentially, it’s the inverse of the “Atomic Habits” method of small, consistent improvements. Rather than get 1% better at something each day, Filips “primes” her passion for a task, waits until she gets to a point of “I have to learn this now!” and then makes 100%, 500%, 5000% improvements, all in one fell swoop.
It’s a familiar way of working for people with ADHD, only Filips actually explains the methodology of it in a way that turns it into a legitimate productivity approach. It’s not necessarily laziness if you can’t keep up with routines and habits—it may be that you are wired for more of a passion-primed sprint way of getting things done rather than a purposefully paced marathon.
Watch Filips explain:
Filips also created a follow-up video explaining how one potential downfall of this method is that you might quit things too often when the passion for them wanes. She explains how to not quit everything you start in this video:
Here’s to the various ways we all think and work and make the best use of our time. Productivity doesn’t look the same for everyone, so if you feel like you’re a square peg trying to squeeze yourself into a round hole when you read about habits and routine, maybe you just need to embrace chaotic organization. There’s no “wrong” way, as long as what you’re doing works for you.