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A Masterclass in Getting Stuff Done, Straight from the Experts - Ambition & Balance

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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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

A Masterclass in Getting Stuff Done, Straight from the Experts - Ambition & Balance

A Masterclass in Getting Stuff Done, Straight from the Experts - Ambition & Balance

https://doist.com/blog/masterclass-in-getting-stuff-done/#

doist.com

6

Key Ideas

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’s less about “how” and more about “what”. When you’re focused on unimportant objectives, you feel painfully stuck. It’s like trudging along on a treadmill; sure, you’re running, but you’re not actually getting anywhere. On the contrary, when you’ve had a deeply productive day, you’ll know 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.

Productivity takes planning

Rather than wondering what we need to do next, hour-to-hour or minute-to-minute, planning ahead allows us to save time on indecision and helps us execute on everything we want to get done with greater precision.

Approaching what we need to do with intention makes productivity feel like second nature. 

Balance is central to productivity

Be ambitious when it comes to your career, but equally so in nurturing the important relationships in your life and practicing balance in all areas of our life. 

Focusing all the hours in the day squarely on your career is a fast-track to burnout. Neglecting self-care can be a powerful driver in a lack of productivity and a diminished ability to focus

Choosing purposeful work

Purposeful work involves activities that are simultaneously engaging and impactful and leads to a complete immersion in work that feels incredibly rewarding.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & 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 con...
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.

6 more ideas

Writing The List In The Morning

Although it might feel natural to create your to-do list first thing in the morning, it's too late.
Writing the list at the end of the day allows you to leave work behind and tra...

Including Too Many Tasks

Ideally, create a ‘top three’ tasks at the beginning of your to-do list. 

Long lists are a problem because most people aren’t aware that “we only have about three to six good hours of work in us each day.”

People also tend to underestimate how long a task takes. 

Including Someday Items

Aspirational tasks, like writing a book, don’t belong on a to-do list; instead, create a separate bucket list. 

Daily to-do lists should be focused. If you have a big project you want to complete, you can put it on your to-do list if you chunk it out into smaller, more attainable tasks.

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Precrastination

This is the compulsion to immediately work on new tasks, despite long-term costs and tradeoffs.

While the procrastinator delays important tasks too long, the precrastinator...

Precrastination

This is the compulsion to immediately work on new tasks, despite long-term costs and tradeoffs.

While the procrastinator delays important tasks too long, the precrastinator doesn’t delay unimportant tasks long enough.

What causes precrastination

The ultimate cause of precrastination is short-term, emotionally-driven decision-making.

Just like in procrastination, precrastination involves making a decision based on what feels good in the moment rather than what’s in our long-term best interest.

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Effectiveness Vs Efficiency
  • Effectiveness is goal orientation. It's picking something to do. This is doing the right things—picking a goal and doing that goal.
  • Efficiency is doing things in an economica...
Scott Hanselman
Scott Hanselman

"Effectiveness is doing the right things, but efficiency is doing things right. That means effectiveness is picking a direction and efficiency is running really fast in that direction."

Scott Hanselman
Scott Hanselman

"Hope is not a plan. Hope is nothing but waiting and letting life happen to you."

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The weekly review

It’s dedicated time to think about the past week, reflect on what went well and what didn’t, and plan for the week ahead. 

It’s a chance to get aligned with your goals and ensure ...

The 3 parts of a weekly review
  • Get Clear: process all your loose-ends.
  • Get Current: make sure all your items are up to date.
  • Get Creative: come up with new ideas to improve how you live and work.
Benefits of weekly reviews
  • You gain an objective view of the week: a weekly review forces you to practice intention by taking time to pause and reflect as you consider what you did versus what you planned to do.
  • You become proactive in planning: a weekly review isn’t only a retrospective, but a prospective too. It lets you run through the upcoming Monday to Friday proactively.

4 more ideas

GTD (Getting Things Done)

GTD is a productivity method for organizing your to-dos, priorities, and schedule in a way that makes them all manageable.

Its 5 principles are:

  • Capture
  • Clarify
  • Org...

"GTD is an organizational system. It doesn't put rules around how you actually do your work. Instead, it focuses on how you capture the work you need to do, organize it, and choose what needs your attention"

"GTD is an organizational system. It doesn't put rules around how you actually do your work. Instead, it focuses on how you capture the work you need to do, organize it, and choose what needs your attention"

GTD: Capture
Capture everything. Your to-dos, your ideas, your recurring tasks, everything. Put it in a pen-and-paper notebook, a to-do app, a planner, whatever you prefer to use to get organized.

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Mental States

It’s really important to monitor mental states. They will usually affect whether we do our exercise, eat healthy, binge watch TV shows, drink alcohol, eat junk food, or are open-hearted (or ...

Moving Into a Mental State
  1. Recognize that you’re in the wrong mental state. It’s not likely to lead to a calm focus. It will lead to you doing busywork or seeking distraction.
  2. Experiment to find a set of actions that can help you move into the right mental state. This is going to be different for each person, but with some experimentation, you can discover things that work for you.
Activities For A Better Mental State
  • Meditation
  • Go for a walk
  • Get up and move around
  • Talk to someone (if you’re worried about something)
  • Having a cup of tea
  • Taking a power nap
  • Having a cup of coffee (differs for each person)
  • Getting into a quiet, uncluttered environment
  • Turning off your wifi router
  • Using full-screen writing apps
  • Playing calming music
  • Reading an inspirational quote or article
  • Talking to someone (including a therapist, if needed)
  • Bringing playfulness to the task

2 more ideas

The Planning Fallacy

We all have busy schedules, but we are incorrectly planning our day around the time we have, not around priorities.

Our estimates on how long certain tasks will take are almost always ...

Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
“What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important."
The 4 Kinds of Priorities

The Decision Matrix on how to approach tasks has 4 quadrants:

  • Quadrant 1: The Urgent Problems which are important.
  • Quadrant 2: Not Urgent but important tasks
  • Quadrant 3: Urgent but not really important
  • Quadrant  4: Distractions and time-wasting tasks. 

Prioritize the important (Quadrant 2) to attain maximum benefit from your work.

2 more ideas

Define balance for yourself

Balance looks different for everyone. It all depends upon what you value at any given time, what you want to achieve, and when you want to achieve it.

But thinking of your care...

What you say 'Yes' to

The wrong move is to say “yes” if you don’t have the available resources to do another task.

If it’s not a ‘hell yes,’ then it’s a ‘no.’ That means if it’s a “maybe,” then it’s a “no.”

Make conscientious choices

... about how you spend your time.  Others will come to value your time only if you value it first.

For example, be aware of the calendar invitations that you accept. If it’s from your boss or client, you probably have to go. But if it’s a group meeting that you could easily catch up on from one of your colleagues, decline.

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Brian Tracy

Time management is not a peripheral activity or skill. It is the core skill upon which everything else in life de..."

Brian Tracy
Work Around Your Energy Levels

Productivity is directly related to your energy level.

Find your most productive hours — the time of your peak energy — and schedule Deep Work for those periods. Do low-value and low-energy tasks (also known as shallow work), such as responding to emails or unimportant meetings, in between those hours.

Plan Your Day the Night Before

Before going to bed, spend 5 minutes writing your to-do list for the next day. These tasks should help you move towards your professional and personal goals.

You’ll be better prepared mentally for the challenges ahead before waking up and there won’t be any room for procrastination in the morning. As a result, you’ll work faster and smoother than ever before.

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