We may feel productive when we’re constantly switching between things, constantly doing something, but in all honesty, we’re not. We’re just distracted.
– Leo Babauta
Time Management is a discipline in and of itself, and there are many experts and methods in the field. You may have heard of the GTD Method by David Allen, popularized in his book Getting Things Done, the art of stress-free productivity, a comprehensive method for managing your time for both your personal and professional life.
You may also have heard of ZTD for Zen To Done, a method developed by Leo Babauta as a response to the many questions and skepticism that surrounded the GTD Method. I highly recommend reading Getting Things Done, though I personally find the ZTD method much more user-friendly.
A game-changing first step: simplify!
What would you like to simplify? Eliminate? Reduce? One approach I like from Leo Babauta that I couldn’t find in the GTD method is the fact that it might be good to start simplifying things first rather than establishing a system to manage all your tasks as they are.
Once you’re done with the simplification step, you can get the full benefits of the ZTD by deciding to adopt 10 habits, one at a time ideally, in the order below:
Habit 1: Collect
Pretty much the same first step as in the GTD Method: it starts with having everything in one place from where you will manage any incoming task, idea, project, goal. This can be a notepad, a bujo, a file or anything that is portable, easy and simple. I recommend that this collecting system help you synchronize both your personal and your professional priorities
From the top down, works especially well with emails and to do lists: do it if it takes less than 2 minutes, delete it, delegate it, file it or put on your notepad/calendar.
Habit 3: Plan
Define your 1 to 3 Most Important Tasks (MIT) for the day each day, and finish them first thing. The MITs come from the main 1-3 Projects you have defined to achieve the goals you are after
Habit 4: Do
One of the most important principles: do one task at a time with no distraction, email checking, no answering phone calls, etc.
Habit 5: Simple system
Simple lists. Focus on doing what you have to do now. Avoid Paralysis Analysis
Habit 6: Organize
Keep your work area clear, never pile things up, don’t put things away.
Habit 7: Review
Review your system and goals weekly, monthly and even yearly. See what progress you made and actions to move forward next week, month, etc.
Habit 8: Simplify
Reduce your goals and commitments to the essential (see The Power of Less)
Habit 9: Routines
Tap into the power of daily, weekly, monthly routines and habits.
Habit 10: Find your passion
Ask yourself the right questions (see Question Yourself), revive your dreams and passion, and make a career out of them.
Zen To Done: The Ultimate Simple Productivity System *Affiliate link
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-free Productivity *Affiliate link