This is Week 8 of a Year of Living Productively
This week I tested the principles of Mark Forster’s book, Do It Tomorrow. Specifically, I declared a backlog of all former tasks which I then spent the first part of each work day on. The majority of other tasks were accomplished the following day from when they came in. Scroll to the end of last week’s post for more information about my test week.
How Do it Tomorrow Saved My Sanity This Week
- Helped me accomplish more routine tasks. I did more of my planned routines this week than I did when I was specifically testing routines! The book really reignited my vision for why I have routines in the first place. I developed them to address specific problems I’ve identified. Not doing them means I have more hassles.
- Gave me the satisfaction of being done for the day. I can’t say enough about the feeling of doing everything I should and being able to call it a night. Not only that, but I knew I had done more than a few easy one-off tasks. I was working on a variety of things that made me feel reliable and that I was progressing on my goals. I was also motivated to finish tasks because I knew if I didn’t, they’d be on the list again tomorrow.
- Relieved stress over undone tasks. Declaring a backlog gave me immediate piece of mind and the belief that I really could be on top of my work. Can’t remember feeling that way since I was in college and the terror of failing had me working ahead on assignments.
How Do it Tomorrow Made Me Crazy This Week
- Having two scheduled days in a row put me behind. My two busy days with little time for tasks made my perfectionism kick in. I was demotivated because I had failed to do a day’s work. I forgot what Mark Forster’s admonition was for situations like this. First, just do what you can and catch up on the proceeding days. If necessary, non-urgent tasks can also be scheduled across several days.
- I had to think about my commitments. In order to do everything I want to do, I have to stay really, really busy. I really don’t like to admit that some of my interests will have to go if I want to get a day’s work done.
Did Do it Tomorrow Help Me Get More Done?
Without a doubt. I couldn’t be more delighted and I am unwilling to give it up this week! I will say that I’ve had more energy this week than I’ve had in a long time, but the philosophy resonates with me and that energizes me, too.
Surprisingly, I don’t use Do it Tomorrow anymore. I eventually found that it didn’t make sense to tackle every incoming task tomorrow, even though it was nice to get a head start on a lot of projects. The problem for me is that when it rains, it pours. Tasks tend to get processed in bulk on an open day that is followed by a busy day. Now, I schedule tasks for certain days of the week to batch them. I pay bills on Mondays. I manage blog tasks on Tuesdays, and so on. If I can’t get to something, it gets pushed to the following day or week, depending on the task and its deadline.
The Productivity Approach I’ll Be Using for Week 9
If you’ve not heard of the Pomodoro technique, you haven’t been reading anything about productivity. But even if you’re into productivity hacks like I am, you may not be familiar with the whole approach.
The concept. I knew that Pomodoro meant working for a set period of time and taking a break. That’s all I thought it was. A Pomodoro is a 25-minute work period followed by a 3-5 minute break. After four Pomodoros, a 15-30 minute break should be taken.
The information that was new to me is that tasks to be done for the day (listed in order of importance) should be recorded and the number of Pomodoros required should be estimated. (Tasks should be grouped so they will take at least 25 minutes). Each completed Pomodoro for that task should be indicated with an X. Interrupted Pomodoros don’t count.
The Pomodoro Technique should be an excellent complement to Do it Tomorrow. Just as in Do it Tomorrow, Pomodoro requires same-day urgent tasks to be written below the line of tasks that were planned. I plan to use a paper planner and the Promodoro timer app on my iPhone to track my Pomodoros.
If you’d like to join me this week, here’s what you do. Read about the Pomodoro Technique in the free PDF or watch the video. Decide if you will use the paper recording forms, an online tracker, or an app. Plan your tasks and estimate the number of Promodoros or just work according to the 25-5 x 4 + 15-30 minute break schedule.
To see how my test with Pomodoros went, click here.
If you’ve tried Do it Tomorrow to increase your productivity, please vote in the poll below.
Here are the links to the productivity hacks I’ve tried so far: