I came across a great post about blogging yesterday that was guest blogged by Leo Babauta over at Freelance Switch. His own site, Zen Habits sounded catchy so I wandered by and found a really great post about getting things done.
Leo reframes GTD to ZTD (Zen To Done) and he makes some great points along the way. I’ve had some great experience pushing 20 hours worth of work through a 12 to 13 hour pipeline (day). So I thought I’d share a little of my own GTD philosophy here.
GTD: The Zoom Method
This is a list of personal productivity strategies that I’ve put through the meat grinder. They work for me. If you’ve got your hands up in the air, don’t surrender quite yet. Give ’em a whirl.
1. Keep one list
I use a pad of lined paper. Very high-tech. I divide it into big picture stuff, tasks, and miscellaneous ramblings. Whether you use a pad of paper, a day planner, a Palm Pilot, Outlook or the wall next to your desk, keep only one list. On one page. If your list is longer than that, it’s time to stop listing and start doing.
Big picture stuff is longer term. Maybe a week or a month or so into the future. If something sits there undone for too long I cross it out. It was meant for someone else’s picture.
The task list is the daily or through-the-week stuff that needs to get done. Pretty straight forward.
Ramblings. Phone numbers, events, addresses, pricing, brain-waves. This is where I jot down stuff on the fly. Info. Reminders. Some of it needs to be put into a permanent archive like an address book. And some of it just needs to make sure I get to the dentist at 3:00.
2. Prioritize, consolidate, ruminate and delegate
Prioritize the things on your list. If you’re not sure what to do first, do the stuff that makes you money first and the stuff that costs you money last. Other than that, knock off the easy stuff and then settle in all relaxed on the tougher stuff.
It’s okay to jot down things on napkins, sticky notes, business cards and whatever. But at the start of the day I put all this stuff into my organized list. Remember, keep one list.
I’m always adding to the list. When it starts to get messy, I rewrite out whatever is left on it and add a few new things as needed. It might seem kind of slow and silly, but I do it as needed and it helps me ruminate or, think about, the stuff I need to do.
The easiest way to knock stuff off your list is to get someone else to do it. Sometimes someone else can do better than you can anyway. Delegate.
3. Everything has a place
Whether you’re controlling a 24 square foot piece of desktop real estate or a hundred thousand square feet of manufacturing facility, everything has a place. And at the end of ever day, it needs to go back there. No excuses.
I know, you’re just going to use the whatchamacallit again tommorrow. So make that place where it belongs a little more easily accessible. And put it away when you’re done with it, or at the end of the day. Whichever comes first.
This is the absolute cornerstone of keeping any physical space organized. No matter how big or how small.
4. Keep it simple
Spend less time planning what you’re going to do and more time doing it. I can’t make the Zoom Method to getting things done any simpler than this.
If I could, I would.