Zen to Done: The Next Challenges

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Several weeks ago, I posted about Leo Babauta’s Zen to Done method for Getting Things Done.  I apologize for not keeping up my blogging on my progress.  But one habit at a time. 

Habit One:  Capturing Everything

More than a month later, I can proudly say I’ve mastered the first step in the program.  I still record everything on Jott, either on the web or by voice messaging Jott.  I’ve been consistent with the exception of three days at the beginning of December.  

The practice has made a difference.  I remember all of my commitments, and I remember when I can do something about them (even trivial commitments like picking up hamburger buns on the way home from work) .  This leaves my active mind to concentrate on work, blog ideas, book ideas, and family.  

Side Benefit of a Comprehensive List

I’ve discovered a fantastic side benefit:  I do less.   The reason I do less is because I can see all of my commitments on a single list.  The low value tasks stick out like a sore thumb.  I feel no guilt saying “no” to tasks that do not add value.  Moreover, I can show my list to people requesting something of me and ask them to judge where their task falls on the value list.  If they say, “at the top,” I know it’s important, at least to them.  If they say, “I don’t know,” they really mean, “nowhere on that list.”  

Next Challenge:  Processing Inboxes

Since I began David Allen’s Getting Things Done method about 10 years ago (I bought the hard back), I didn’t feel I needed to work on this for a month–I’ve been processing my email and paper inboxes to empty at least once a week for years.  It’s automatic.  So I skipped this habit and moved on to my current habit . . .

Habit Three:  Planning

I’ve started doing my Big Rocks first thing in the morning–twice every morning, actually.  

When I get up (about 5:00), I make a cup of coffee (in my Tassimo) and email myself my MITs (Most Important Tasks) for the day.  These are the tasks not related to my day job.  Some tasks involve the book I’m working on, some involve family or the house, some involve other projects I’m working on, like building a simple platform bed for my wife.  

On Sunday Nights, I spend only about 10 minutes planning the week ahead.  I’m not a big fan of elaborate plans, so I don’t go beyond 10 minutes.  

Finally, I write myself a future journal entry.  In other words, I pretend I’m writing about my projects on a future date, after my planned completion.  This 30 minute exercise creates a powerful mental and emotional image of the accomplishment.  Writing, “Last week, Amazon released my new book . . .” is far more powerful than, “I hope Amazon carries the book I think I’m going to write–someday . . . "  Writing about your accomplishments in the past tense is the only way to convince your mind that you can do it.  

How I’m Doing on Habit 3

So far, I’ve been about 60 percent.  That’s better than I’ve been at planning in the past. (I told you that I don’t like planning.)  Now that I’ve publicized my goal, though, I’m sure I’ll get some encouragement from others.  

Finally, A Small Favor

If you notice that I haven’t written about my ZTD progress in a few days, please post a comment to remind me.  I’ll return the favor if you email me.