Getting Everything Done

A couple of weeks ago I read a blog post that changed my life. I definitely owe Ryan Carson a thank you for posting How I Manage My Todos, Priorities and Calendar.

I have tried various productivity hacks over the years, but have never stuck with them. Typically I use a system like GTD just long enough to dig out of a hole. This time something stuck though. By sticking to 5 key ideas, I have seen my productivity explode.

5 Keys to Increased Productivity:

  1. Wake up early.
    I have started waking up at 5:00 AM. This gives me time to get a few things done before I workout (usually 6am).
  2. Do not check email first thing in the morning.
    Email is like a drug; once you start, it is hard to stop. I find that when I check email first thing in the morning, I end up spending all day in my inbox. Now I am trying to make sure that all of my key areas of focus receive attention BEFORE I check email. My typical schedule has me checking email no earlier than 10 am.
  3. The first task of each day is to create that day’s schedule.
    This was a really new idea for me, but it makes complete sense. If I want to make sure everything gets done, I have to plan to do everything. Each morning I open up my calendar and my task list. I then schedule tasks and other priorities (time with family, workouts, meals) in all of the free time. I am starting to experiment with planning my daily schedule the night before.
  4. Know your priorities, and schedule them.
    I have 5 areas that I need to focus on every day: Bizen sales, Bizen product development, L2M expansion, L2M process improvement, community involvement. I also have non-work priorities that I schedule in such as: time with my wife, exercise, kids activities, reading, etc. I try and schedule time for all of these things every day. For the 5 areas of my work, I schedule at least 1 pomodoro for each area, each day.
  5. Every task has a due date.
    Nothing makes it into my todo list (I use OmniFocus) without a due date. If there are any past-due tasks when I am scheduling, I either do them right then or assign a new due-date. Sometimes I decide that a task is no longer important and delete it. But I never have tasks without a due date.


  1. Jorge Azevedo June 8, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    I’m really surprised. That Ryan Carson post had a huge impact on me. I thought I was the only one! Such a weird thing, isn’t it? For me… I think that when I read it I just realized that that’s how I wanted to live my life.

  2. For me it’s always been a mistake to try to schedule my day the night before. Scheduling my day the night before typically gets me too jazzed up to sleep. Also, if I do it right, planning in the morning can get me excited about my day.

  3. […] I am going to go do some email now. Feel free to check out my email dashboard and see if I am making any progress. I also need to make sure I am Getting Everything Done. […]

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