Personal Productivity – Setting up your day for success

Making change requires work, work requires time and time is limited.

I am writing this post primarily to assist my friend Michael (who is new to personal productivity) but I also hope it will be useful for many people working on improving personal resilience in their lives.   I’ve been a practitioner of  “Getting Things Done”, a method of personal productivity from the book of the same name for about 4 years now.   I have written  on this subject  before on my page on personal productivity but this time I thought it might be useful to publish  how I set myself up to have a good productive day. The post will be brief as I have time boxed this activity to 30 minutes.

STEP 1 Review my todo lists

  • For personal todos I use and application called “Things”
  • For Shared todo’s I use “Remember the milk”
  • For work todo’s (which I use an A4 spiral bound book)

I’m at home and working on Personal todos. I review my todos in “Things” and write out the ones I want to do onto post its

Post Its

STEP 2 Reorder my notes in the order I will work on them

Tasks Ordered

STEP 3 Write out my plan adding times to each activity

Day Plan GTD

NOTES

It is now 6:41 it took about 5 minutes manage my lists and 36 minutes to take photos and write this post so I am behind so need to wrap this up. I hope you find this useful. As I said before I believe personal productivity is very important I reccomend reading getting things done. Other books and materials  I have found useful  on this subject can be found here.

 

 

Comments

  1. Michael says

    Being new to “Getting Things Done”, I am still adapting to doing it every day, have never really been a list type person, more someone who does what they feel like, as they feel like it. As I belatedly become an adult I have realised that this is maybe ok in your early 20s but as you enter your 40s it’s probably not the way to go.

    I have found using the techniques Paul has helped me with gives more structure to my life and this is not such a bad thing. There are 2 parts, firstly the big picture stuff that you want to do with your life and this is great as a general road map, so to speak. Then there is the daily to do list which is very important. I find this gives my day more direction, lets me plan what I’m going to do and in what order. Often I find yesterdays list becomes the basis of todays list, those 2-3 things that you didn’t finish yesterday. While I was a slow learner and didn’t always do a new list, I have become more regular and hence getting more done and feeling better. I don’t waste time wondering what I have to do or trying to remember what bills I have to pay etc. This actually makes life much easier your not forgetting to do things and if you don’t feel like thinking you don’t have to, just follow the list. And as Paul will tell you there is a great deal of satisfaction in looking with at a list with everything crossed of.

  2. Jeremy Burrows says

    Hi guys.

    This looks good but how does this work when wanting to work on larger or longer term goals. It seems as though you’re only doing short-term things. An improvement I would suggest is the writing down should actually be done on a computer so you can keep it and make updates and notate the updates to actually see how things change and evolve. Also with the list writing Paul I’m surprised you don’t use excel for that because as Michael pointed out the lists look quite similar from day today that we would need to make minor adjustments.

    I’ll explain my system.
    First I write all my goals for the year, this includes financial, relationship, fitness, items to purchase, educational, artistic. This is one list
    This year I have created a simple pro forma on Excel for a weekly planner. I put into this all the non-variables to start off with such as work then I put in how I’m going to use my spare time. I always refer to my goals when writing up my weekly planner so that I’m always working towards those goals.

    Also, this year I’ll write up a 5 year goal list.ong term planning is a great thing.

    • Paul says

      Jeremy
      great points!

      Ticking lots of things off your todo list does is great but does not get you anywhere if you don’t know where your going.
      ON LONGER TERM GOALS
      I have only put down part of my system in this post. My system is based on the system described in the book getting things done. I recommend buying it.(Everyone should buy it)
      In GTD there are these concepts of the 6 horizons of focus
      Runway:

    • 10,000 level
      20,000 level
      30,000 level
      40,000 level
      50,000 level
    • They are 6 horizons of View with the final being “If I can have everything I want in life with no limitations what would my life look like? ” So for the post above I have been talking about is even before the “Runway” Getting the strategic view is something that I have worked on recently and I have horizons of focus up to the 30k mark. One of my projects for this year is to fill it out to the 50k mark.

      ON EXCEL

      For quick things paper and pen is best for me. For reorganizing items post its are awesome. For longer term storage of todos I use paper (at work) and todo list applications (at home), For my 30k (1 year plan) I use google spreadsheets.

      I’ll probably do a follow up post sometime with more about other parts of my system

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