How To Build The Ultimate Productivity System
by Chris Kyle
The first people on earth were pretty stupid.
They had brains the size of peanut M&M’s and spent their days hunting wild animals, wearing only a leopard print dress and a rat strapped to each foot.
But they did invent the to-do list…maybe?
What if cave paintings weren’t a form of primitive decoration…what if early man was instead making a weekly to-do list? Start a fire…check. Hunt deer…check. Kill tiger…check. Pull Deirdre by the hair…check.
My prehistoric point is this:
The humble to-do list was the world’s first productivity tool…arguably, it’s still be best.
Create A System, Not A List
Of course it’s not without its flaws. It’s sometimes hard to compare and therefore prioritize to-dos…and mixing work and personal tasks can often be confusing.
And then there’s the question of what goes onto your list. It’s both time consuming and energy zapping to think of new things to add each day.
This can be overcome if you focus on creating a system rather than a one off to-do list.
A list is just a point in time, a system is as far as your mind can stretch. A list is for getting stuff done today, a system is building a lifelong habit of being productive. A list is where you’re going in the next few hours, a system is a compass for your life. A list is for amateurs. A system is for professionals.
So it’s time you got yourself a to-do list system. I can help you.
Steal My To-Do List System
Here is the to-do list system I’ve used to become remarkably productive.
I say remarkably because I’ve been using it for 2 years and it has improved my output tenfold. It’s laughably simple and infinitely flexible. It takes 30 minutes to set up and needs just 5 minutes of reviewing each day.
Are you sold? Coolio, let’s dive in.
Step 1: Brainstorm
You need to transfer all those thoughts and ideas onto paper. It doesn’t have to be pretty and it probably won’t be, but that’s ok. You’re bottling your brain farts here, not dancing a rendition of Swan Lake. Take as long as you need but don’t force it if little appears. If you run out of things to dump, move on…you can and will return to this step over and over.
Step 2: Sort
Look at your mess. Look at what you’ve spewed onto the page in front of you. Now smile. You’re on your way to building a system. It’s time to start forming lists. Get a notepad and group related tasks together under headings. For example, you could put together a work list, a grocery list, a housework list, a homework list, a side project list, a must read book list and must see movie list. Whatever type of list is applicable to your life situation. You’re basically creating a bank vault of curated lists here, which can then be used to feed the next step.
Step 3: Filter
Here’s the smart bit. All the tasks you’ve collected up to now are dormant. They’re sitting politely in lists but aren’t being worked on…yet. This is where you bring them to life. And to do that, you need to pluck them from their comfy homes and filter them into one list. Having one list to work off is the key to getting productive using a to-do list system. It’s the only place you actually work on tasks. So every task on this list is live. If it’s not on this list, it doesn’t get worked on. Fact.
Step 4: Do
Do it. Work on the task. Then take a big thick dirty marker and strike a line through it. Sigh. Enjoy. You have a system in place. You are being productive.
Step 5: Tea
I say tea, I mean review. Actually, I mean drink tea and review your system. Take 5 minutes at the start or end of your day and do some housekeeping on your lists. Tidy up your completed items, move some new tasks into your one list, and build the habit of maintaining your new productivity system.
And that’s it. See I told you it was simple. Give it a go and let me know how you get on!
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