As part of my 30-Day January Immaculata, I’m experimenting with a method of productivity called Zen To Done (ZTD). The system was created by Leo Babauta, author of the popular blog Zen Habits. A few years ago Leo, like me, decided to make some changes, starting with quitting smoking, and in the past 4 years he’s completely transformed his life and career, becoming a prolific author and blogger. I’m a big fan, and he’s been a big inspiration for me and this site.
Zen to Done is a pared down version of the Getting Things Done (GTD) method which has become very popular and appropriated by folks I admire like Merlin Mann. Zen to Done takes a very simplified approach to these methods, which was why I chose to start my year off with it.
So why a productivity system? Well, whether you know it or not, you are already using a system. If it works for you and you are constantly achieving your goals, fantastic! I encourage you to share in the comments section below. But if you are like me, your system is, for lack of a better word, broken.
My system is to collect my ideas and to-do lists in as many different places as possible. I email myself notes and reminders. I voice record ideas into my iphone. I type messages and email addresses and ideas into my phone’s notepad. I have 4 different notebooks. I have upwards of 40 started documents on my desktop at any given time with new ideas. Occasionally I do finish something, but it’s generally when there is an absolute deadline and I am forced to figure shit out on the fly. Otherwise, I am in a perpetual state of being overwhelmed, not knowing where to even begin. So while I do try to map out my days to a certain degree, the 6 hours of slated “work time” are generally spent bouncing from document to document to Facebook to email to Facebook to Facebook to Facebook.
Here’s a brief look at what Zen to Done does:
- Creates a process for collecting information, minimizing the number of places your ideas and daily tasks are recorded
- Schedules daily and weekly times to process all the information you are recording.
- Makes a weekly plan, which focuses on daily priorities
- Gives tips on how to focus on the daily priorities without distraction
As today is my first day instituting it, I can’t speak on how effective it is yet, but I know that just having read it (it’s a downloadable PDF), I am feeling more on top of my game. I’ve already minimized the number of places I am recording my ideas and tasks, and have my three main priorities for the day all ready to go. Perhaps the greatest testament to it: I’ve written this and it will likely post before 9:30am. That’s crazy!
So, if you are interested in joining me, you can download the PDF here.
Otherwise, stay tuned, as I will be writing at length about my progress with ZTD, as well as sharing other productivity ideas and hacks as I try them out in the coming weeks.