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The Little Handbook for Getting Stuff Done : zen habits

Shitty first draft

Don't worry about perfectionism, just get the task done. Then go back and revise. 

But don’t overthink it, just focus on doing.

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The Little Handbook for Getting Stuff Done : zen habits

The Little Handbook for Getting Stuff Done : zen habits

https://zenhabits.net/gsd/

zenhabits.net

9

Key Ideas

Obstacles to Getting Stuff Done

  • The habit of putting off starting, because it’s uncomfortable.
  • Maybe you get started, but then constantly switch to other tasks.
  • You put off starting (or finishing) because conditions aren’t perfect, or the work isn’t perfect.
  • Rely too much on other people and not taking responsibility.
  • You get pulled away by constant distractions and interruptions. 
  • Fear, uncertainty, feeling overwhelmed & self-doubt and tiredness.

Picking one important thing

If you focus on getting the small stuff done but not the big stuff, or switch between tasks all the time, you’ll be less effective.

Pick one important thing to focus on at a time and learn to evaluate what tasks and projects are of higher value to you.

Starting

It's best done by focusing on the smallest first step and practicing just launching into that.

Pick the tiniest first step, and launch into it.

Focus sessions

Pick a short interval (10 minutes, 15, 20, or 25) and practice focusing on one task during that session, until the timer goes off. 

Then take a break, and try another focus session.

Managing a tasks list

It's a great skill for keeping yourself focused and Getting Stuff Done. Choose a to-do program, put your tasks in the to-do list and every day just pick a few to focus on.

And at the beginning and the end of each day step back and taking a look at the overall picture, to adjust your plan and refocus.

Shitty first draft

Don't worry about perfectionism, just get the task done. Then go back and revise. 

But don’t overthink it, just focus on doing.

Taking full responsibility

It means not blaming others for your difficulties in getting things done. 

Recognizing the obstacles but taking responsibility for finding a way, or accepting what needs to be accepted, or recognizing your part in the dynamic you’ve created.

Communicating

Communicate clearly and honestly, so that everyone is clear on responsibilities and boundaries and consequences of not honoring those responsibilities and boundaries.

Creating structure

Having a minimal structure is good. You can adjust over time:

How will you start your day so that you’ll work on the important stuff? How will you do your focus sessions so you won’t be too distracted? How will you review your day so that you’ll learn from what happened? How will you create accountability?

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Moving Away From Pseudo-Work
Moving Away From Pseudo-Work

Pseudo-work is when one works just for the sake of work, and is productive on paper but hasn’t really achieved anything substantial, or contributed to one’s core objective.

Focusing on Meaningful Work
  • When the focus is on the essential, we start to work on what matters to us the most. It makes us avoid the urgent work shoved in our faces which may not be important at all.
  • Focusing on meaningful work helps us prioritize our day in the order that aligns with our purpose and mission. It makes us less stressed out and more joyful.
  • Productive work, which is challenging and even discomforting is welcomed as it is important and meaningful to our lives. The distractions then no longer disturb us as we are giving the work our entire focus.
Keys To Essential Meaningful Productivity
  1. Be clear on what matters to you, and focus on that.
  2. A lack of structure makes the entire day random and accidental. It is good to have a certain structure for all your tasks while keeping it flexible.
  3. Remind yourself the reason for it being important to you, and then give it your heart and soul. Keep yourself in a playful, relaxed mode.
  4. Move towards any fear you encounter, and not away from it. It may be a small obstacle but our psychological fears make us feel discomfort or groundlessness.
  5. Batch out small errands into specific, time-bound activities, leaving time for more important things.
Productivity is simplicity
True productivity is putting the right things on your to-do list, exclusively answering emails that matter, and only taking meetings that will propel you forwards. 

It...

Helping others
Givers, those who are other-focused, paying more attention to what people need from them, dominate the top of the success ladder.

Productivity shouldn’t only be the pursuit of self-improvement, but also a mission to improve the lives and the work of people we encounter.

Prioritize the work that excites you
Minimize the things you dread and meetings you don't want to attend as much as possible: say “no”, delegate, and automate.

This leaves you to make room on your calendar for discussions that exhilarate you.

When what you spend your time on is congruent with your interests and values, progress feels conveniently close.

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Zen to Done (ZTD)

It's a productivity system that teaches how to take a simple approach to improving your productivity, by encouraging you to focus on forming one productivity-boosting habit at a time. 

The Minimalist Habits of Zen to Done
  • Collect: Get ideas and to-dos out of your brain and onto a list.
  • Process: Review your list daily and decide how to act on each item.
  • Plan: Pick a few high priority items to accomplish each week and every day.
  • Do: Schedule time to accomplish your selected to-dos without interruptions.
The Collect Habit

To clear your mind and improve focus, get your ideas and to-dos out of your mind and onto a list. 

Documenting to-dos in the moment lessens the likelihood that you'll forget to do something and gives you a master list of to-dos to reference when you're trying to decide where to direct your time.

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The philosophy of working "smart"

... is to maximize your productivity when you are working so that you can get more stuff done in shorter periods of time.

By working smarter, you'll find yourself with more time in th...

Find the to-do list app that work for you

The best one for you depends entirely on your working style and personal preferences.

You can use a physical notebook around everywhere you go, but it's easier to use a to-do list app or tool that syncs across all your devices. That way, you can access your to-do items whenever and wherever you need to, whether you're at your desk, in a meeting, or on a business trip.

Prepare in advance

Write out your to-do list the day before:

  • You'll free your time to dive right into your to-do list in the morning - one of the most productive times of day.
  • It can help you spot obstacles ahead of time and prepare accordingly.
  • Knowing what you have going on well in advance could help you relax and sleep better the night before.

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The Pomodoro Technique

Pomodoro is doing focused work in 25-minute sessions throughout the day. After each session, take a five-minute break. After completing four consecutive Pomodoros, take a 20 to 30-minute break.

The Problem with Pomodoro

Pomodoro is excellent for tackling tasks you don't feel like doing or jobs that require little thought.

However, other tasks, like writing or coding, require uninterrupted time. The problem with the Pomodoro method is that the timer is a consistent interruption that prevents you from getting into a state of flow.

The Flowtime Technique

It is a modified Pomodoro. And it solves Pomodoro's big problems.

  • It works by writing down one task you intend to work on during a focus session.
  • Then work until you start feeling tired or distracted, write down the end time, and take a break. A break can be anything from 5 minutes to 15 minutes.

Because you're not tied to a timer, you're more likely to find yourself in a flow state from time to time.

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Using a productivity system
Using a productivity system

The idea of a productivity system is to organize the stuff you need to do.

There are many systems out there. But you may have no idea which system to pick. You may start we...

The purpose of using a system

There are only three different kinds of systems:

  1. The system of other people: You respond to the time pressures of other people.
  2. The system of feelings and moods: You might work a lot when you feel creative.
  3. A system of your own design: Moods and outside pressures still matter, but they're not the only guiding factor on what to do.

Building a habit of a productivity system is about creating a buffer between you and your temporary emotions or external pressures.

Your system needs to fit your work

Any system is designed using a particular set of assumptions about your work. The assumptions need to fit your situation.

For instance, the weekly/daily goals system works well when you have a number of concrete tasks to complete. But if your tasks are open-ended or contain only one task, then the system doesn't fit the task.

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There is no perfect method for everyone

There is no "one size fits all schedule" for maximum productivity.

Because we all have particular strengths and weaknesses when it comes to time management and productivity, what works...

The Time Blocking Method

It involves planning out your day in advance and dedicating specific hours to accomplish specific tasks. 

It’s important to block out both proactive blocks (when you focus on important tasks) and reactive blocks (when you allow time for requests and interruptions).

The Most Important Task Method (MIT)

Instead of writing a big to-do list and trying to get it all done, determine the 1-3 tasks that are absolutely essential and then focus on those tasks during the day. 

You don’t do anything else until you’ve completed the three essential tasks.

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The "One Thing"

We all have that 'One Thing' on our task list that is the most important thing on the list, that would be the most meaningful and yet we’re not doing it.

It's so meaningful and import...

Create a space

Put aside all the messages, social media, distractions, smaller tasks, organizing and tidying. 

Instead, have a small space (even just 10-15 minutes) for this important task, and nothing else.

Meditate on meaning & feelings

For just a minute, mindfully drop into your body and feel your fear, resistance, frustration, overwhelm. Let yourself feel it fully.

Then let yourself feel the love you feel for those who you’ll be serving by doing this task.  

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How to Develop Habits
  • Focus on just one habit, for 30 days.
  • Put it on paper, together with your motivations, obstacles, and strategies for overcoming them.
  • Commit fully, pr...
attributed to Aristotle
attributed to Aristotle
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”
Confucius
Confucius
“Men’s natures are alike; it is their habits that separate them.”

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The time-blocking method

Simply means planning out your day in advance and dedicating specific hours to accomplish specific tasks.

Doing this requires determining in advance what you will accomplish and exactl...

The most important task method (MIT)

Rather than writing out a massive to-do list and trying to get it all done, determine the 1-3 tasks that are absolutely essential and then relentlessly focus on those tasks during the day.

Once you determine your 1-3 most important tasks, they are scheduled first in your day. You then make progress on essential items before you get bombarded by distractions. 

The Pomodoro Technique

Is all about working in short, massively productive, intensely focused bursts, and then giving yourself a brief break:

  • Choose a task
  • Set your timer for 25 minutes
  • Work on the task until the timer ends
  • Take a short break (around 5 minutes)
  • Every 4 Pomodoro sessions, take a longer break (15-30 minutes).

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