Can David Seah’s Emergent Task Planner Help You Get More Done?

Can David Seah’s Emergent Task Planner Help You Get More Done?

David Seah, productivity, time management

This is Week 34 of a Year of Living Productively

This week I tested whether David Seah’s Emergent Task Planner could help me get more done. I pre-planned 3 tasks and added more as they “emerged.” I also estimated how much time the tasks would take and scheduled some of the pre-planned tasks. Scroll to the bottom of last week’s post for details.

How The Emergent Task Planner Saved My Sanity This Week

  • Got me thinking about my MITs again. I’ve gotten away from thinking about the most important tasks to accomplish each day. The Emergent Task Planner (ETP) definitely helped me narrow down my list of want to and must do’s.
  • Reminded me to be realistic. I really wasn’t far off in terms of estimating how much time my tasks would take, but that was AFTER I’d written them down. My usual approach is to live in lala land, imagining I can “get caught up” in one day. hahaha
  • Gave me a place to write. I didn’t do this until later in the week, but I really enjoyed brainstorming on the extra lines provided. I drafted a terrific blog post idea. No, I don’t think that’s the point of the extra space, but I was shying away from the form because of perfectionism. Feeling free to take notes on it made it much more appealing.

How The Emergent Task Planner Made Me Crazy This Week

  • Couldn’t keep track of the paper. It got better toward the end of the week, but at first, it was really annoying to realize that I’d left the form on a different floor of the house. I didn’t feel free to just work without it as I have with other paper approaches because of the time tracking issue. I knew I would have no idea how much time I actually spent without referring to the form before starting a task.
  • Cramped by the task ordering. I don’t think I did the tasks in order any day this week. I didn’t feel it mattered so much within the first three tasks, but I was doing tasks that emerged first and didn’t feel this was in the spirit of the form. Maybe I’m wrong, but in any case, it made the form less appealing for me.
  • My inner rebel. It seemed that as soon as I committed to doing a task this week, that was it: I wouldn’t do it. It seemed to be my inner rebel rearing her ugly head. She may have had enough of all this productivity hacking! Either that, or I was just really tired. I gave myself permission to let things go. I’m OK with that, except in some situations (not this week), that attitude has meant I’ve forgotten some critical things. I tend to be an all-or-none lady. I don’t think this has anything to do with the ETP, however.

Did The Emergent Task Planner Help Me Get Things Done?

Given my attitude, yes. I was tempted to say no, but the truth is I think I would have done even less without the process of writing out my plan each day on the ETP. That being said, I’m not that excited about continuing to use it. Maybe I’ll change my mind when my rebel has been placated.

**UPDATE**

I don’t need a paper planner like this now that I’m using Skedpal. However, I think this may be a good analog tool for people who aren’t as rebellious as I am.

GTD, productivity, Do it Now, Nerd Fitness, Steve Kamb

The Productivity Approach I’ll Be Using for Week 35

This week I’ll be testing Steve Kamb’s Do it Now approach. Just as Steve Kamb, the blogger behind Nerd Fitness, suggests, I am going to stop putting off daily living tasks until later. Instead, I will do them “now.”

The concept. Steve argues that we make work for ourselves by putting off things like dishes, laundry, and clean up. Doing it later means doing it longer. The principle of Do it Now does not mean that you interrupt your work for every person, demand, or idea that presents itself.

This is not a new concept to me at all. In fact, it’s a problem I thought I’d mastered. But slowly, I’ve noticed that I am not immediately hanging up my clothes, putting my dishes in the dishwasher, or putting school books away “now.” I am waiting for that magical time period when everything is quick and fun to do known as “later.” Of course, later usually makes tasks more onerous.

If you’d like to join me this week, here’s what you do. Read Steve’s post and watch the funny (and strangely motivating) video he includes. Purpose to handle all those little tasks that should be done as you think of them “now.” If you’d like to comment or share this post, you’d better do it now. You know you won’t have time later. 😉

To see if Do It Now helped me, click here.

Are you on Google+? Follow me here.

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

Week 33: David Seah’s Ten for Ten

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Can David Seah’s Ten for Ten Help You Get More Done?

Can David Seah’s Ten for Ten Help You Get More Done?

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.

**UPDATE**

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.

Are you on Google+? Follow me here.

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

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Can the 12 Week Year Help You Get More Done?

Can the 12 Week Year Help You Get More Done?

12 week year

This is Week 32 of a Year of Living Productively

This week I tested whether The 12 Week Year {affiliate link} could help me get more done. This week was the 12th week I have been using the approach. Scroll to the bottom of last week’s post for more details.

How The 12 Week Year Saved My Sanity The Past 12 Weeks

  • Helped me determine which goals were most important to me. I have a hundred different projects I’d like to work on in any given week. When the time frame expands to a year, I’m convinced that I can finish everything I can dream up. The 12 Week Year helped me get serious about what three goals I could realistically accomplish in a summer. The wonderful thing was I felt validated in choosing goals that weren’t necessarily have-to’s, but were want to’s.
  • Helped me break the projects down into weekly tasks. When I begin a big project, I often dive in without thinking through everything that must be done and how long each step will take. The book encouraged me to do it and the online program I paid for made it really easy. I never saw my goals as overwhelming, because I just looked at what I had to do this week to make them happen. I was also prevented from procrastinating because I knew full well that I couldn’t get it all done last minute.
  • Introduced me to time blocking for goals. I wrote about how much I enjoyed time blocking and I’m sure the reason I loved it is because it gave me permission to pursue my want-to’s in a time-protected way. Putting the time block for this work early in the week is both symbolic (this is important!) and practical (you’re more likely to do it).

How The 12 Week Year Made Me Crazy the Past 12 Weeks

  • Didn’t take advantage of accountability. When I did Body for Life and wrote So You’re Not Wonder Woman (which is free on 9/20/13 on Kindle), I had accountability to keep me honest. I had told many people I was doing BFL and I was speaking at a women’s retreat where I would have the best opportunity to share my book with potential buyers. I just didn’t have that kind of accountability this time, nor do I think I could have created it because the goals weren’t the public “I’m going to do it!” type.
  • I failed to review my reasons. One of the aspects of BFL that worked for me was reading over my “why’s” for getting fit every day. I didn’t do that with the 12 Week Year and I think that’s one of the reasons I didn’t enjoy as much success.
  • Too many goals. When I read that I could have up to three goals, I remember thinking, “Hm.” My experience is that I don’t do well having more than one big project at a time to focus on. I hoped this time would be different and it wasn’t. While I loved being able to switch from project to project during my 3-hour time block, that was the end of what I loved. Because I had three goals, I wasn’t able to make progress and accommodate the unexpected. We had a house guest this summer and then I was given an opportunity to host a podcast. I also have a new book project that replaced one of the goals I had started with. Finally, when planning three goals, the potential for underestimating how much time tasks will take is multiplied by three.

Did The 12 Week Year Help Me Get Things Done?

Yes, though I didn’t complete my three goals. I completed 90% of one goal, 50% of the second, and 10% of the third. The good thing is I’m pretty satisfied with my progress given the circumstances. I completed 100% of the new podcast goal and I’ve made good progress on the new book goal, too. I plan on creating a new plan for completing the book as my next 12 Week goal and reading my reasons for writing daily.

**UPDATE**

I had three goals for the past 12 weeks and accomplished them all! One thing that I don’t do is plan everything out in elaborate detail. It’s too frustrating when you have to reschedule. But intermediate deadlines can be very effective if needed and I love setting goals for the quarter as opposed to the year.

Dave Seah

The Productivity Approach I’ll Be Using for Week 33

This week I’ll finish testing Ten for Ten from Dave Seah. A big thank you to Brain Cutlery for the suggestion! The idea is to try to accomplish ten tasks in ten hours and earn points as you go. More points are awarded for tasks finished later in the day. Tasks can be added as you’re ready to work on them, rather than at the beginning of the day.

The concept. The first three tasks are starred because accomplishing them in a day is a great feat in itself. Points are designed to reward you for working beyond that. The method should help in breaking tasks down into reasonable sizes, too. This is a variation on the gamification theme from last week, but it really appeals to me. I just love the look of this form!

If you’d like to join me this week, here’s what you do. Read Dave’s post and download the free forms he shares. We can compare points at the end of the week! (Just a reminder that I am not vouching for sites I link to. They may contain language or opinions you find objectionable. But then that applies to this website, too, doesn’t it? Thanks for understanding.)

If you’d like to see if Ten for Ten worked for me, click here.

Are you on Google+? Follow me here.

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

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Could David Seah’s 7:15AM Ritual Help You Get More Done?

Could David Seah’s 7:15AM Ritual Help You Get More Done?

David Seah

This is Week 16 of a Year of Living Productively

This week I tested whether David Seah’s daily ritual could improve my productivity. While David met with a friend via chat at 7:15 every morning, I connected with a friend via email sometime during the day and committed to doing a task for 15 minutes. Like David, I then reported back when the work was done. We took Sundays off. Scroll down to the bottom of last week’s post for details.

How David’s 7:15AM Ritual Saved My Sanity This Week

  • Got me going on tasks I’ve been avoiding because of the social pressure. One of the rules my friend and I adopted was that we would only commit to tasks that we wouldn’t otherwise do. Thus, showering and eating lunch weren’t options. I did some work on a book project, but after that worked on my project for the week. Knowing that my friend would do her work made me feel compelled to do mine.
  • Gave me a structure for completing less urgent work. If I hadn’t been doing the ritual, I don’t think I would have done anything on the book project, because it isn’t pressing. I think this is a huge concern in productivity as most of us are perpetually putting out fires.
  • Helped me see someone else’s perspective. It was interesting for me to see someone else come up with tasks and report back on how it went. While I am working on my own productivity, I would like to be helpful to others, too. My friend said she liked the ritual, but she had some issues with it.

How David’s 7:15AM Ritual Made Me Crazy This Week

  • Difficult to choose tasks. My friend especially found it challenging at times to decide what to do. I also felt like if I actually wanted to do something that maybe I was cheating. I’m not sure that we were being faithful to David’s intent in this, however. He didn’t say you could only do work you were resisting.
  • 15 Minute time limit is limiting. My friend found that she often wanted to stop after 15 minutes simply because she could. She felt this could be a real problem for work like writing that would only have you in the groove by this point. I only quit after 15 minutes once. I liked the time limit because I was tired this week and it got me off the couch. Once started, I felt I wanted to keep going.
  • Our timing didn’t match. My friend didn’t think this would work for her if she were working a regular job (she’s off now). We might have found it more beneficial if we had committed and worked at the same time, but as it was, it worked. There were times that I committed and didn’t work until much later, but still that commitment drove me to finish the work.

Did the 7:15AM Ritual Help Me Get More Done?

Yes. It really gave me a much-needed jumpstart on my summer projects and helped me work even when I didn’t feel like it. I don’t see continuing to do it day after day, but it’s an excellent way to get unstuck. Because my friend and I are starting Body for Life, we will be checking in regularly on that. Accountability works.

**UPDATE**

While I don’t use any of the specifics of this ritual, I do have a small group of bloggers I check in with every week. Even though not all the bloggers participate regularly, the ritual of posting my goals and writing how I did on them is enormously motivating for me. Accountability is super important for my productivity.

The Productivity Approach I’ll Be Using for Week 17

mark-forster

This week I’ll be testing Another Simple and Effective Method by Mark Forster. Yep, he’s been at it again and has created another list gamification method. The method involves creating a list of tasks of any size, choosing a task to do, doing it, and crossing it off with a line that extends across the paper. You next do a task from each section that’s been created and repeat. Tasks that are worked on and need to be continued are crossed off and added to the end of the list. Urgent tasks are just done regardless of the list.

The concept. The method seems to encourage working on tasks that would otherwise languish on the list and also divides the work into many small, more manageable lists.

If you’d like to join me this week, here’s what you do. Read Mark’s blog post on the method. Choose your means of making a list. Paper seems to make the most sense to me, so that’s my method. Make a list of tasks you’d like to complete. I may add some of my remaining backlog tasks, just to see how the method handles them. Choose a task to work on for as long as you like. Cross it off completely and re-enter if needed. Choose a task from the first section, work on it, and so on. I will use adhesive flags to help me remember where I left off. Dots and paperclips would also work.

To see how my week with Another Simple and Effective Method went, click here.

If you’ve tried David Seah’s 7:15AM ritual to increase your productivity, please vote in the poll below.

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

 

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Could Taking a Vacation Help You Get More Done?

Could Taking a Vacation Help You Get More Done?

beach

This is Week 15 of a Year of Living Productively

This week I tested whether taking a vacation could improve my productivity. I’ve actually been testing it for the past two weeks. Scroll to the bottom of this post to see my plans for this test.

How Taking a Vacation Saved My Sanity This Week

  • Focused my efforts before leaving. Getting ready to go on vacation made decisions about what to do so easy. I had a wonderful closed list of tasks to work with and I finished them all.
  • Restored my motivation. While on vacation, I had plenty of time to read and think about my goals for the summer and next school year. I have returned as a woman on a mission with a lot more energy to boot.
  • Gave me time to focus on what matters most. The time with my family gave me a better perspective on the tasks I face each week. So much of what I worry about just doesn’t matter.

How Taking a Vacation Made Me Crazy This Week

  • Couldn’t avoid everything. Being a blogger and a mother of six means you can never really “go dark.” I had to do some work while I was gone, but thankfully it was minimal.

Did Taking a Vacation Help Me Get More Done?

Yes! And I think I will realize the benefits of it for several weeks. One thing I did that made this an excellent vacation was plan nothing for the day after I returned. I was able to clear email, handle a few urgent tasks, do laundry, grocery shop, and more.

**UPDATE**

Vacations are still saving my sanity. I usually take a vacation with my whole family once a year and with my husband, too. Even more importantly, I take a vacation every Sunday now. The break motivates me so much for the upcoming week.

The Productivity Approach I’ll Be Using for Week 16

David Seah

This week I’ll be testing David Seah’s 7:15 AM Ritual. Every morning at 7:15 AM, David chats with a friend or two online and commits to a task he wants to jumpstart for 15 minutes. When the 15 minutes are up, he reports his progress and experience. I considered doing an online chat with a friend who is in a different time zone. We agreed that making an email commitment to our 15-minute task and then reporting back will work better for us. We’re afraid that a chat would become just that!

The concept. David’s ritual leverages the power of accountability, timed work, and routine. I’ve tested the power of timed work and routine and find both to be invaluable. I haven’t yet tested accountability, though I would argue that this blog series is all about it! While most people are willing to drop their commitments to themselves, few are comfortable with dropping the ball when a commitment has been made to someone else. I’m willing to bet that accountability doesn’t require face time.

If you’d like to join me this week, here’s what you do. Read David’s article. Recruit a friend who is willing to do the ritual with you. Decide when and how you will touch base each day.   Daily commit to a task that you want or need to do; spend 15 minutes doing it; then report back to your accountability partner.

Click here to see how my week of David Seah’s ritual went.

If you’ve tried taking a vacation to increase your productivity, please vote in the poll below.

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

 

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