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Week 2, 2022 — Issue #186

Schedule It or It Won’t Get Done: Inspiration, Process, and Use Case

Photo by Elena Kloppenburg on Unsplash

Each week: three ideas on and about the future of work. This week: three ideas on the lightweight process that I use to get WorkMatters published on time, every time.

I recently had an opportunity to present my working process to a group of colleagues interested in personal productivity and time management.

I explained how my process has evolved over time and what it currently looks like, and I used WorkMatters as a use case to explain how it works.

Here’s a summary:

1. Inspiration

I got introduced to Getting Things Done (GTD) in the mid-2000s and I’ve since taken to heart concepts like the Second Brain, Outcome Thinking, and Next Actions. I’ve found these ideas to be immensely helpful, but I’ve kept experimenting with systems like Agile Results and OKRs for goal-setting and the Pomodoro Technique for time management. More recently, I’ve also been inspired by Atomic Habits and Why We Sleep to leverage behavioral and sleep science in order to ‘lubricate’ the process for balance and sustainability.

2. Process

My workflow is best described as a lightweight GTD system with a strong emphasis on scheduled time. I capture incoming tasks and responsibilities in Todoist and I review, clarify and organize them in a 25-min ‘planning’ session that I have scheduled on weekday mornings. Importantly, I also book today’s Next Actions in my calendar. This is key, because in my experience: if I don’t schedule it, it won’t get done. The process repeats daily, but I try to interject a retrospective at regular intervals to take stock and set direction.

3. Use Case

I began writing WorkMattters in mid-2018 and it wasn’t before long that I settled into the schedule depicted below. I write on Tuesday mornings and I typically have a draft ready by the end of that first sitting. I then leave it, returning on Friday mornings to clean it up to get it out the door. It varies a bit, but it’s usually a few hours end-to-end. Most importantly, however, is that I decide on next week’s topic by Tuesday afternoon, meaning I give it a week to percolate before Tuesday rolls around and it’s time to write again.

I’m not a strong writer nor am I very good at hitting deadlines. But this process has allowed me to publish WorkMatters on time for 186 weeks straight. That’s quite an achievement if I might say so myself… and it’s primarily thanks to good process.

That’s all for this week.
Until next time: Make it matter.

PS. I owe a lot to the inspirations mentioned above. But it’d be all for naught if it wasn’t for the addition of scheduled time. Hence this week’s title: schedule it or it won’t get done. Google Calendar is my greatest productivity tool!



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