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How to Finish Your Work, One Bite at a Time | Scott H Young

Advantages of using a WD system

  • A WD (Weekly/Daily) system manages your energy. You will get a maximum of work done while leaving yourself time to relax.
  • A WD system stops procrastination because your big projects become bite-sized tasks.
  • A WD system makes you proactive. With a bigger picture in mind, it's easier to put in the important but not urgent tasks.
  • A WD system keeps you from burning out since you only have to focus on the next bite.

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How to Finish Your Work, One Bite at a Time | Scott H Young

How to Finish Your Work, One Bite at a Time | Scott H Young

https://www.scotthyoung.com/blog/2008/04/08/how-to-finish-your-work-one-bite-at-a-time/

scotthyoung.com

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Key Ideas

Pacing yourself

Trying to get work done uses the same principle as running: You have to pace yourself. Runners that sprint at the beginning will be tired out long before they reach the finish line.

One of the ways to pace your work is by maintaining weekly and daily to-do lists.

The principle behind the To-Do List

  • At the end of the week, write a list with everything you want to get done.
  • At the end of the day, write a list containing what parts of that weekly list you want to be finished with tomorrow.

After you finish your daily list, you don't work on more projects or tasks. After you complete the weekly list, you're done for the week.

Advantages of using a WD system

  • A WD (Weekly/Daily) system manages your energy. You will get a maximum of work done while leaving yourself time to relax.
  • A WD system stops procrastination because your big projects become bite-sized tasks.
  • A WD system makes you proactive. With a bigger picture in mind, it's easier to put in the important but not urgent tasks.
  • A WD system keeps you from burning out since you only have to focus on the next bite.

How to Use a Weekly/Daily To-Do List

  • Focus on the Daily List: Once you've decided what chunk of your weekly list to handle, you may put the other tasks out of your mind.
  • Don't Expand the Lists: If you finish your daily or weekly list earlier than expected, don't add a more as this will turn into an infinite to-do list that can cause stress and procrastination.
  • Do a Regular Monthly Review: Pick out a few larger projects and keep them in mind when you write your weekly lists.

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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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Eliminate

See if you can cut your tasks and projects lists in half. Then try to cut them even further a few days later.

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Know what’s essential

You really should focus on one goal at a time, but if you want to do 2 or 3, that’s OK too.

Any smaller tasks are essential if they help you accomplish those goals, and not essential if they’re not related.

Simplify your commitments

You can't do it all. Only stick to those commitments in your life that really give you joy and value.

For the rest, you need to learn to say no, and value your time. 

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Not enough time

It feels like there’s never enough time to do all the things you have in mind.

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Time is rarely the problem

Time is limited, but, your attention, energy, and enthusiasm are more limited than your time.

Start creating habits. Inertia is a bigger enemy than a lack of time. Start doing the task for a few minutes a day. If you have only 10 minutes, use it. If your time is fragmented, cut your task up and spread it out. You'll be surprised how much materializes.
Your list is not a problem

A list of unfulfilled things isn’t a problem to eliminate. It is a challenge. 

  • Prioritize your goals.
  • Do one thing that matters out of all the possibilities.
  • Say no to all the things that don't meet your criteria.
  • Be content with the one thing you did instead of being unhappy with all the things you did not do.

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