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How to Get Things Done

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MJ DeMarco

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How do you get things done? And productively?

Two key components of productivity for myself is this:

Organized Workspace

For me personally, I noticed that I get things done when my home office is clean and organized. A disorganized workspace for me, means a disorganized mind. When my mind is disorganized, nothing gets done and I skip from task-to-task with no real progress. In a state of disorganization, I keep busy but experience limited productivity.

The moment I clean up my workspace, my productivity shoots thru the roof.


Daily To Do List
Every evening, I write out a To-Do list for the following day. If I don't do this, the next day suffers in terms of productivity. My To-Do list becomes my work schedule and keeps me inline with my action items. On the side of the To-Do list I have the notation "TW" which stands for "This Week".

TW is items I want accomplished this week. This simple To-Do list is responsible for myself being able to accomplish some monumental tasks by simply breaking-them down into smaller, achievable tasks.

What techniques and/or tools do you use to GET THINGS DONE? I'd like to hear what everyone does on a daily and weekly basis.

Getting things DONE DAILY is the only way to start a journey onto long-term success.
 

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AndrewG

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Nov 3, 2007
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I always make a to-do list, not the night before though. Sometimes if I have a lot to do I'll make a list and add things I've already done then cross them off. It makes me feel like I've accomplished a lot and keeps me going.
 

LightHouse

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Organized Workspace
For me personally, I noticed that I get things done when my home office is clean and organized. A disorganized workspace for me, means a disorganized mind. When my mind is disorganized, nothing gets done and I skip from task-to-task with no real progress. In a state of disorganization, I keep busy but experience limited productivity.

The moment I clean up my workspace, my productivity shoots thru the roof.
Its so intresting that you post this today. Because just earlier this morning i was emailing the ol' lady explaining that i am realizing the lack of productivity in my stems from my desk being a mess, i sit down feel overwhelmed and one of two things happen.

I #1 try to start everything and the same time thinking i can knock a few out at a time (which means inturn i go nowhere) or #2 i look over everything and dont even start.
 

Bilgefisher

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I am a horrible procrastinator. It drives me nuts. What I do is use my weakness to my advantage. I find a few things that need to be done that I have been putting off and put them on my to do list. I then find something else that could be done, but I hate doing on top of my list. Sure enough, those other things end up getting accomplished while I'm putting off my dreaded task. I don't do this everyday, but I have used this tactic on numerous occasions.

Its funny how you can play mind games with yourself when you know whats coming.
 

kimberland

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Jul 25, 2007
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I'm a to do list person too.
I write it out weekly
with a breakdown by day.

I keep it to less than 5 critical things a day.

I'm also a binder person for paperwork.
Everything in binders with tabs for easy look up.
Project training, easier to bring a binder in to the boardroom.

I usually do my to do list
in the order of "freshness of brain needed."
So writing a chapter of my novel
would be done bright and early.
Form filling out would be late at night.
 

Yankees338

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I don't use a to-do list as often as I should, but when I really need to get something done, I put it in my calender on my phone for a time that I know I'll be available. When the time comes, it'll ring and remind me to get started. Usually it works, but sometimes I just continue to procrastinate (also a big problem for me).
 

Bilgefisher

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Does anyone else reward themselves for completed tasks? It could be a simple as a candy bar or a pop.
 
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MJ DeMarco

MJ DeMarco

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Does anyone else reward themselves for completed tasks? It could be a simple as a candy bar or a pop.
Absolutely .... I make a point of rewarding myself when I hit major milestones. When I achieved a net worth in excess of $5MM my reward to myself was a Lamborghini Diablo.

I told myself when I sold my business my reward was going to be a Saleen S7 but just haven't been able to pull the trigger on that.

Point is ... anytime you make major milestones, reward yourself. These "gravy goals" are prime motivators to getcha going when the day beats you up.

On a daily basis, I'd reward myself with stupid time ... for example, "If you finish this, you can go play Xbox for 4 hours". I know, sounds obsessive compulsive, but yeah, it works for me.

~ MJ
 

J P D

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Nov 6, 2007
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Does anyone else reward themselves for completed tasks? It could be a simple as a candy bar or a pop.
I reward myself all the time...I'll show you guys what I got myself when it gets here. Very similar to how PhxMJ rewards himself, just on a smaller scale for now, you'll see what I mean...

Staying organized is a must if you want to get anything done. Otherwise you have too much jargon in your head competing for attention. I find it's best to get it all out and onto a piece of paper, prioritize it, then execute. I'm one of those people who has to write everything down and has a notebook with them at all times. I've always been that way and I don't think I'd make it ten minutes without a written out plan of attack. Long term life goals or day to day tasks, I like to keep everything organized and planned out. I just look at my paper and do what it says without any further thought. This way I can concentrate on doing what I'm doing instead of what I have to do next. simple as that!
 

djs13

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I write out a to-do list but I find that larger things are alot more difficult. For example, recently I haven't been writing out a daily to do list but more of a weekly or bi-weekly to do list. This has been happening because I've had larger tasks like "edit book," "Transfer edits from hard to soft copy" and "finish web site for book." Obviously these tasks are pretty big and take up more than a day. So after I get home from school, do homework, watch a little TV (while doing my HW) then I crack down and start doing some of the things on my list.

But lately I've been just chipping off a little bit each day on the larger things and I really can't wait until I finish editing this book, finish the site and can start selling this book online!! :smxB: Then I can go back to easier and smaller goals that aren't as time consuming.
 

LamboMP

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Aug 13, 2007
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I keep a TO DO LIST in a book in journal format. I like being able to look at previous days and see dated entries of the progress I have made for the month, and for the year.
This way, I can see which days of the week Im more productive, and which days I can improve on(the days in which I tend to get less work done on (ie. Sundays)). I find its easier to monitor progress in this way.
 

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ErikV10

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Aug 2, 2007
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I have a To-Do List and I also keep everything organized.

Another thing that I really like to do since I get bulk amounts of mail (bills) everyday is if I have bills, I'm not going to store it until before the end of the month. Instead, I do it on the spot and mail it the next day. That way, I won't miss any important bills. It helps a lot. ;)
 

liv42dy

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Nov 6, 2007
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In Utah, just about everybody carries a Franklin Planner (myself included). I keep several "to do" lists for the several different parts of my life: home maintenance schedules, pet care/veterinary visit schedules, grocery shopping schedules, personal doctor visit schedules, a schedule to review my finances; and, of course, separate schedules for my business, including, days to schedule meetings, days to prepare for meetings, and days where I step back to take a look at the big picture of my business to see if I'm still on track. And, the most essential schedule I keep is my daily PLAY time schedule (otherwise I would go nuts)!

I have broken down all of these activities into yearly, bi-yearly, monthly, bi-monthly, weekly, and daily activities. Yeah....I know.....I'm anal! My karate teacher says I'm so anal I even schedule my bathroom breaks. Hey, I'm a researcher....I get paid to be anal.

But it's just as important for me to relax and have some fun! As a matter of fact, I schedule everything else around my "fun time". Believe it or not, I get a lot more done in a day than I would otherwise.
 

Rawr

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Do the thing you dread the most right away in the morning and your productivity will shoot up. Or so I heard lol, I am the worst procrastinator I know, I am doing a paper now that is due tomorrow morning and I had FIVE FREE DAYS to do it.

Mark Cuban once noted that it is impossible to change your behavior - either you are a late riser or not, either very organized or not.. do you agree or disagree? I have forced myself to take 8 am classes for the last 1.5 years in college thinking it will boost my productivity. As a result, the major thing that is getting boosted are my absences from those classes.
 

yveskleinsky

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Mark Cuban once noted that it is impossible to change your behavior - either you are a late riser or not, either very organized or not.. do you agree or disagree?
Totally disagree. I think that we all have strengths and weaknesses- it's all in how we perceive these traits which determines whether or not they remain.

Generally, we are motivated (as Tony Robbin's says) by either pain or pleasure. I found this to be 100% true. For example, I am not naturally neat and organized. This is something that I have to work really hard at. ... My best friend growing up was super neat and organized and I always admired her for that- however, that admiration never moved me (enough) to make me want to be that way! As soon as I made the connection that being organized and tidy= success (and shifted my focus from being organized= stifling) did I start making the change. ...I was motivated at a deep level to do so. I have made drastic changes in my behavior over the past 2 years.

Another example: I am not naturally good in math. I must become good in math if I want to live up to my potential as an investor/business owner- so my desire to achieve overrides my natural inability! It may take me longer to grasp certain concepts- but that's ok, because the end result is what I'm after. ...When I get discouraged about not having more natural ability in certain areas, I focus on my strengths and what I do have in my corner.

If you are trying to change your behavior, look around your environment (emotional, physical, spiritual) and determine if this environment is representing who you are. Write down who you want to become and then figure out what new actions you would have to take to be that person. ...We live in the residual. Everything that is present in our lives now is a result of the past- so the only way to change the future is to change the present- moment by moment.
 

Wimtbimtb

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Dec 14, 2008
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Totally disagree. I think that we all have strengths and weaknesses- it's all in how we perceive these traits which determines whether or not they remain.

Generally, we are motivated (as Tony Robbin's says) by either pain or pleasure. I found this to be 100% true. For example, I am not naturally neat and organized. This is something that I have to work really hard at. ... My best friend growing up was super neat and organized and I always admired her for that- however, that admiration never moved me (enough) to make me want to be that way! As soon as I made the connection that being organized and tidy= success (and shifted my focus from being organized= stifling) did I start making the change. ...I was motivated at a deep level to do so. I have made drastic changes in my behavior over the past 2 years.

Another example: I am not naturally good in math. I must become good in math if I want to live up to my potential as an investor/business owner- so my desire to achieve overrides my natural inability! It may take me longer to grasp certain concepts- but that's ok, because the end result is what I'm after. ...When I get discouraged about not having more natural ability in certain areas, I focus on my strengths and what I do have in my corner.

If you are trying to change your behavior, look around your environment (emotional, physical, spiritual) and determine if this environment is representing who you are. Write down who you want to become and then figure out what new actions you would have to take to be that person. ...We live in the residual. Everything that is present in our lives now is a result of the past- so the only way to change the future is to change the present- moment by moment.
That is a very inspring quote " So the only way to change the future is to change the present- moment by moment"
I agree 110% with everything you have said in this thread..:eusa_clap:
 

CVentures1B12

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Oct 18, 2007
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I am definitely a very organized, list person. When it comes to work and business, I COULD be more organized, but then I would look extremely OCD, haha.

When it comes to personal life, I am also very organized but a bit more lax. Many of you will think that this is sad; however, my personal life often has to do with business and work. I love it because I actually love my J.O.B. (even though I will drop it once I get the residual income) and in my spare personal time, I am building my business. It's what I love to do.

In terms of getting things done, I, like MJ, make a list every night on a post-it. Put it in my jacket/pants pocket for the next day. And I reward myself about once a month. Granted it is no Lambo...more like a new video game, pair of pants, shirt, etc. But, also, only reward when I know that I deserve it. And trust me, I am very hard on myself, so that is not often, haha.
 

fanocks2003

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Mar 31, 2008
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How do you get things done? And productively?

Two key components of productivity for myself is this:

Organized Workspace

For me personally, I noticed that I get things done when my home office is clean and organized. A disorganized workspace for me, means a disorganized mind. When my mind is disorganized, nothing gets done and I skip from task-to-task with no real progress. In a state of disorganization, I keep busy but experience limited productivity.

The moment I clean up my workspace, my productivity shoots thru the roof.


Daily To Do List
Every evening, I write out a To-Do list for the following day. If I don't do this, the next day suffers in terms of productivity. My To-Do list becomes my work schedule and keeps me inline with my action items. On the side of the To-Do list I have the notation "TW" which stands for "This Week".

TW is items I want accomplished this week. This simple To-Do list is responsible for myself being able to accomplish some monumental tasks by simply breaking-them down into smaller, achievable tasks.

What techniques and/or tools do you use to GET THINGS DONE? I'd like to hear what everyone does on a daily and weekly basis.

Getting things DONE DAILY is the only way to start a journey onto long-term success.
I use my mobile phone to store day-to-day tasks in the calender. Mainly that.
 

biophase

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MY 3 STEP PROCESS

STEP 1

I learned this very early on in my corporate career. At 4:45pm, if you leave at 5:00pm, make a list of things that you want to do tomorrow. This way when you walk into work, you have a list in front of you. How many times have you crawled into work in the morning and had no idea what to do first?

STEP 2

On that list of things to do, put only ONE task on the list. I know it's seems like a lazy goal, but try it. It works. Obviously, don't put on the list a simple task like "Call John", put something like "Finish the Blah Blah Report". (Sadly, if you complete your one task every day, you will be the best employee at work!)

The reasoning behind this single item list is that you will be interupted by phone calls, meetings, etc... so there will be more work for you to do that you didn't plan for. However, every time you finished doing whatever the distraction was, you will go back to that ONE task. If you go back to a list of 6 tasks, you probably won't continue the one you just left off on and you'd start another one. The end result is that you don't finish anything on your list.

STEP 3

To the best of your ability while doing your ONE task. Don't answer emails, phone calls, text messages. Try to sit and work on it a solid 30 minutes or 1 hour without a voluntary interuption. A voluntary interuption is one that you choose to interupt you. Obviously, if someone walks into your office you must talk to the person, if someone calls twice within 30 minutes I'd answer the second time.
 

michael

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Jul 22, 2008
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I have a long term to do list which is broken down into smaller weekly and daily lists.

I find picking at least a couple tasks to do for the day can help me really drive through my work.

I find when I tuck into some work and get in the groove after 15-20 minutes or so I can keep working productively for a long time. I find that groove once I have started the work and have no distractions around.

Some rock music in my ipod helps me get in that groove and block out sounds which are distracting, some gum and something (of no value) to twist, crush or break satisfies my need to fidget allowing me to sit and work without getting up all the time :D

My only problem is procrastination, I find it best to just flick the laptops wireless off switch sit down at a clean and clear desk and do it.

I'm not yet perfect as far as doing everything I need to or wish to do but I'm getting better.


BTW: I have one excel document for my school goals, one for my goals in the gym, one for my business related goals and one for general/random goals.

Each document has a sheet/tab representing each week and I like to plan ahead my items to do and print them off each week. After each week has passed I will go back to the excel document and log my progress and results.

A bit OTT for some but it helps for me
 

Imatk

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Dec 10, 2008
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9
I've never had a to-do list, on paper anyway.

I usually have all that stuff in my head, although having it on paper might help me to focus on one task at a time rather than thinking about all of them at once.

Thanks for the post :)
 

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