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David  Seah, to do list

This is Week 33 of a Year of Living Productively

This week I tested whether David Seah’s Ten for Ten could help me get more done. I tried to complete ten tasks a day, earning as many points as possible. See the bottom of last week’s post for more details.

How Ten for Ten Saved My Sanity This Week

  • Gave me credit for doing tasks later in the day. Getting more points the more tasks I did was like getting an Atta Girl — something I really respond well to.
  • Liked not having to commit to ten tasks up front. So many productivity approaches want you to plan your tasks in advance and then life happens! It was so nice not to feel penalized for going with the flow.
  • Enjoyed working from a short paper list. As much as I appreciate the access and email connectivity that digital task managers provide, there’s still something about paper that helps me relax.

How Ten for Ten Made Me Crazy This Week

  • Confusion about what tasks to add. This week was unusual in that we couldn’t follow the usual order every day with some of my kids being out of town. It gave me the opportunity to use Ten for Ten only with tasks apart from my routine and with everything. There were problems with both approaches. When I only added tasks that weren’t part of my routine, I felt ripped off. Doing chores in the evenings is hard for me. When I did it and didn’t get credit for it, I was annoyed. But when I added everything I did, I reached 10 tasks in no time and it didn’t feel legitimate.
  • Confusion about task size. It would be easy to break a job down into small subtasks and be done with Ten for Ten in no time. I wasn’t clear if the tasks should take about an hour? In that case, I would have to add my routine tasks like homeschooling.
  • No competition. If I had been in a public competition with this in which I had an opportunity to shine, it would have been much more effective. As it was, I didn’t feel anyone cared how many points I earned. They just wanted to know what was for dinner!

Did Ten for Ten Help Me Get Things Done?

For a day. I was excited about it the very first day, but the confusion quickly got in the way of its effectiveness. Not sure if more rules would help or I would just rebel against them.


Like so many people, I am attracted to pretty forms like these. But their arbitrary nature doesn’t work for me. I am not interested in completing a certain number of tasks, but the most important ones, however long they take. I also don’t want to work ten hours a day!

David Seah, productivity, time management

The Productivity Approach I’ll Be Using for Week 33

This week I’ll be testing David Seah’s Emergent Task Planner. Looking at David’s recent post, I realized I had missed hearing about another approach to productivity he has been talking about since 2006. Using his paper planner, you choose 3 tasks to work on  and block out time for them. After those are complete, you can add 3 more and so on.

The concept. After determining that I can manage about six tasks a day, I was really excited that this planner not only meshes with that, but allows me to add three of the tasks as they emerge. Just because I can handle six tasks a day doesn’t mean that they are all pre-planned. In addition, the planner allows us to keep track of time, take notes, and record interruptions.

If you’d like to join me this week, here’s what you do. Read David’s post and download the free forms he shares. Note that he also sells the planner on Amazon and has made some updates to it.

Click here to see if David Seah’s Emergent Task Planner worked for me.

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Here are the links to the productivity hacks I’ve tried so far:

A Year of Living Productively

Week 1: Paper To-Do List

Week 2: Covey’s Quadrants

Week 3: Routines

Week 4: Paper Planner

Week 5: SMEMA

Week 6: Guilt Hour

Week 7: Envision Ideal Day

Week 8: Do it Tomorrow

Week 9: Pomodoro

Week 10: Time Warrior

Week 11: Scheduling

Week 12: The Repeat Test

Week 13: Personal Kanban

Week 14: Eat That Frog

Week 15: Vacation

Week 16: David Seah’s 7:15AM Ritual

Week 17: Another Simple and Effective Method

Week 18: Daily/Weekly/Monthly To-Do List

Week 19: Ultimate Time Management System

Week 20: Getting Things Done

Week 21: Time Blocking

Week 22: Morning Ritual

Week 23: Beat the Week

Week 24: Productivity Ritual

Week 25: Make it Happen in 10 Minutes

Week 26: Focus & Relief List

Week 27: Accountability Chart

Week 28: Limiting Choices

Week 29: Zen to Done

Week 30: Heatmapping

Week 31: Gamification

Week 32: The 12 Week Year