I recently bought a book called ‘Todoodlist‘, by Nick Cernis. [Official site: www.todoodlist.com]
In Todoodlist Nick teaches a very simple concept. Ditch complex systems if they’re no more effective than simple systems.
The To Do list is his main example, and one I now use every day.
Old Way: Sure it’s excellent to have a to do list on your iPhone which syncs back to RememberTheMilk on your desktop which syncs to Google Calendar which displays in the side of your gmail inbox and sends you an alert via Instant Messenger or email or SMS when a task is due…
But MAN IS THAT COMPLICATED!
Yes… this was my system until last week…
Certainly for putting off tasks until some point in the future a reminder system is great, but for the day to day, what’s wrong with a little bit of paper?
I was lost in the unproductive world of the over-productive tools.
With a few basics twists on the concept of the to do list / mind map you can make yourself more productive and able to focus better on the task at hand.
This is how it’s worked for me, and I love it so far.
Plus – Nick is a very funny guy. I dream of being that funny and smart. Literally, I dream.
The book is about 100 pages long, and entertains and teaches with interesting stories and essays.
You need to read it. You will probably like it as much as I do.
Yesterday I mentioned Productivity Tricks. So today and tomorrow I’m posting 2 of my favourites.
“Don’t break the chain!”
This technique is credited to Jerry Seinfeld, and you can read about it at lifehacker.
First, you get a calendar (a physical one is better – you don’t want to use something like Google Calendar for this), and you define your Daily Action.
For example: Do you need to write 1 article every day for your website? Do you need to keep your accounts in order to save pain in tax season?
The concept is simple. Day 1, you do your task, and you put a big fat juicy red cross through the day on the calendar. Day 2, you repeat, and your chain has begun!
You now have to keep up your chain of red crosses as long as you can.
This works well because the idea of breaking your chain will grow more painful than the thought of doing your daily task. Woo!
This is an excellent way to form new (positive) habits.
I use it to get myself to write every day, even if I don’t feel like it.
Do you use “The Chain”?