Zen to Done - Ultimate Productivity System

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Zen To Done (ZTD): The Ultimate Simple Productivity Systemby Leo BabautaIts about the habits and the doing, not the system or the toolsTable of ContentsA brief personal note........................................................................................................................ 1 Zen to Done..................................................................................................................................... 2 The 10 Habits of ZTD....................................................................................................................... 31 Collect. ..................................................................................................................................................... 4 2 Process. ................................................................................................................................................... 4 3 Plan. ........................................................................................................................................................ 4 4 Do (focus). ............................................................................................................................................... 5 5 Simple trusted system. ............................................................................................................................ 5 6 Organize. ................................................................................................................................................. 5 7 Review. .................................................................................................................................................... 6 8 Simplify. ................................................................................................................................................... 6 9 Routine. ................................................................................................................................................... 6 10 find your passion. ................................................................................................................................... 7How to form the habits..................................................................................................................... 7Habit Change Methodology......................................................................................................................... 8Minimal ZTD. The simplest system possible...................................................................................12The Four Habits......................................................................................................................................... 12 1 collect. .................................................................................................................................................... 12 2 Process. ................................................................................................................................................. 12 3 Plan. ...................................................................................................................................................... 13 4 Do (focus). ............................................................................................................................................. 13What the Minimal ZTD system leaves out......................................................................................13 The minimalist implementation.......................................................................................................131Zen to Done by Leo Babauta from Zen Habits. Action Marketing Plan version. You can freely distribute this documentA brief personal noteLeo Babauta is one of my preferred authors and I follow his excellent blog Zen Habits. Some time ago Leo created his own productivity system called Zen to Done, a twist to the well known GTD (Getting things Done) productivity system by David Allen. GTD is great, but it can be a too complicated, and if you are like me then your days as an entrepreneur are busy, and probably you have no time to learn and apply complex things. I became instantly in love with ZTD, that keeps some of the best things of GTD and seeks to make everything simpler, easier and clutter free. The last thing we need as entrepreneurs is more noise, the solution to those awful busy days is not doing more, it's doing less and doing it better. Leo is a generous person that allowed his material to be shared, copied and modified. I use his system and I thought it can be an excellent tool for smart entrepreneurs who know that more is not always better and that there must be a solution for busy days other than die of exhaustion. So here is his system of productivity, Zen to Done. If it's as useful for you as it is for me, then it will be invaluable. Really.Zen to DoneIn order to capture the essentials of being productive & organized, while keeping things as simple as possible, Ive developed my own productivity system: Zen To Done (ZTD). ZTD captures the essential spirit of the new system: that of simplicity, of a focus on doing, in the here and now, instead of on planning and on the system. If youve been having trouble with GTD, as great as it is, ZTD might be just for you. It focuses on the habit changes necessary for GTD, in a more practical way, and it focuses on doing, on simplifying, and on adding a simple structure. ZTD attempts to address five problems that many people have with GTD. I should note that GTD isnt really flawed, and doesnt really need modification, but everyone is different, and ZTD is a way to customize it to better fit different personality types. ZTD addresses five problems people have with GTD: 1) GTD is a series of habit changes. This is the main reason why people fall off the GTD system its a bunch of habit changes that 2Zen to Done by Leo Babauta from Zen Habits. Action Marketing Plan version. You can freely distribute this documentare attempted all at once. If youve read Zen Habits long enough, you know that focusing on one habit at a time is best, and guarantees the most success. In addition, GTDers dont apply proven habit-change methods (the ones I talk about on this site) to change their habits. Solution: ZTD focuses on one habit at a time. You dont have to try to adopt the entire system at once its overwhelming and its too hard to focus on your habit changes if you do too many at a time. Instead, focus on one at a time, and adopt the system in phases. Use proven habit-changing methods (30-day challenge, commitment, rewards, motivation hacks, etc.) to successfully adopt each new habit. 2) GTD doesnt focus enough on doing. While its called Getting Things Done, often what we end up doing most of the time is Getting Things in Our Trusted System. The book, while presenting an excellent system, focuses more on the capturing and processing stages than it does on the actual doing stage. Solution: ZTD focuses more on doing and how to actually complete your tasks, in a simple, stress-free manner. 3) GTD is too unstructured for many people. This can be one of the brilliant things about GTD its lack of structure, its in-the-moment decision making about what to do next but it can also be a huge source of confusion for many people. Some people need more structure in their day, and GTD can be disorienting. Different people have different styles. Solution: ZTD offers a couple of habits to address this: the plan habit, where you simply plan your three MITs for the day and your Big Rocks for the week, and the routine habit, where you set daily and weekly routines for yourself. These habits, like all the habits of ZTD, are optional. If they dont work for you, dont adopt them. But for many people, they will compliment the other great parts of GTD perfectly. 4) GTD tries to do too much, which ends up stressing you out. GTD doesnt discriminate among all the incoming stuff in your life, which again is part of its beauty. But the problem is that we put everything on our lists, and end up being overloaded. We try to do everything on our lists. This isnt really a problem with GTD, but a problem with how we implement it. But it should be addressed. Solution: ZTD focuses on simplifying. Take as much stuff off your plate as possible, so you can focus on doing whats important, and doing it well. 5) GTD doesnt focus enough on your goals. GTD is purposely a bottom-up, runway-level system. While it does talk about higher levels, it doesnt really go into it much. As a result, GTD is more focused on doing whatever comes at you 3Zen to Done by Leo Babauta from Zen Habits. Action Marketing Plan version. You can freely distribute this documentrather than doing what you should be doing the important stuff. Solution: ZTD, as mentioned above, asks you to identify the big things you want to do for the week and for the day. Another habit in ZTD is for you to review your goals each week, as a way of staying focused on them throughout the year. GTD contains an element of this, but ZTD extends it. Again, GTD is a brilliant system, and works very well. But ZTD takes some of the problems that people have in implementing it, and adapts it for real life.The 10 Habits of ZTDEach of these habits should be learned and practiced one at a time if possible, or 2-3 at a time at the most. Focus on your habit change for 30 days, then move on to the next. The order listed below is just a suggestion you can adopt them in whatever order works best for you, and you dont need to adopt all 10 habits. Experiment and find the ones that work best with your working style. Habits 1-8 are the most essential, but I suggest you give Habits 9-10 serious consideration too. I will expand on each of these 10 habits in future posts.1 Collect.Habit: ubiquitous capture. Carry a small notebook (or whatever capture tool works for you) and write down any tasks, ideas, projects, or other information that pop into your head. Get it out of your head and onto paper, so you dont forget it. This is the same as GTD. But ZTD asks you to pick a very simple, portable, easy-to-use tool for capture a small notebook or small stack of index cards are preferred (but not mandated), simply because they are much easier to use and carry around than a PDA or notebook computer. The simpler the tools, the better. When you get back to your home or office, empty your notes into your to-do list (a simple to-do list will work for now context lists can come in a later habit). Read more.2 Process.Habit: make quick decisions on things in your inbox, do not put them off. Letting stuff pile up is procrastinating on making decisions.4Zen to Done by Leo Babauta from Zen Habits. Action Marketing Plan version. You can freely distribute this documentProcess your inboxes (email, physical, voicemail, notebook) at least once a day, and more frequently if needed. When you process, do it from the top down, making a decision on each item, as in GTD: do it (if it takes 2 minutes or less), trash it, delegate it, file it, or put it on your to-do list or calendar to do later.3 Plan.Habit: set MITs for week, day. Each week, list the Big Rocks that you want to accomplish, and schedule them first. Each day, create a list of 1-3 MITs(basically your Big Rocks for the day) and be sure to accomplish them. Do your MITs early in the day to get them out of the way and to ensure that they get done.4 Do (focus).Habit: do one task at a time, without distractions. This is one of the most important habits in ZTD. You must select a task (preferably one of your MITs) and focus on it to the exclusion of all else. First, eliminate all distractions. Shut off email, cell phone, Internet if possible (otherwise just close all unnecessary tabs), clutter on your desk (if you follow habit 2, this should be pretty easy). Then, set a timer if you like, or otherwise just focus on your task for as long as possible. Dont let yourself get distracted from it. If you get interrupted, write down any request or incoming tasks/info on your notepad, and get back to your task. Dont try to multi-task.5 Simple trusted system.Habit: keep simple lists, check daily. Basically the same as GTD have context lists, such as @work, @phone, @home, @errands, @waiting, etc. ZTD suggests that you keep your lists as simple as possible. Dont create a complicated system, and dont keep trying out new tools. Its a waste of time, as fun as it is. Either use a simple notebook or index cards for your lists, or use the simplest list program 5Zen to Done by Leo Babauta from Zen Habits. Action Marketing Plan version. You can freely distribute this documentpossible. You dont need a planner or a PDA or Outlook or a complicated system of tags. Just one list for each context, and a projects list that you review either daily or weekly. Linking actions to both projects and contexts is nice, but can get too complicated. Keep it simple, and focus on what you have to do right now, not on playing with your system or your tools.6 Organize.Habit: a place for everything. All incoming stuff goes in your inbox. From there, it goes on your context lists and an action folder, or in a file in your filing system, in your outbox if youre going to delegate it, or in the trash. Put things where they belong, right away, instead of piling them up to sort later. This keeps your desk clear so you can focus on your work. Dont procrastinate put things away.7 Review.Habit: review your system & goals weekly. GTDs weekly reviewis great, and ZTD incorporates it almost exactly, but with more of a focus on reviewing your goals each week. This is already in GTD, but isnt emphasized. During your weekly review, you should go over each of your yearly goals, see what progress you made on them in the last week, and what action steps youre going to take to move them forward in the coming week. Once a month, set aside a little more time to do a monthly review of your goals, and every year, you should do a yearly review of your years goals and your lifes goals.8 Simplify.Habit: reduce your goals & tasks to essentials. One of the problems with GTD is that it attempts to tackle all incoming tasks. But this can overload us, and leave us without the necessary focus on the important tasks (MITs). 6Zen to Done by Leo Babauta from Zen Habits. Action Marketing Plan version. You can freely distribute this documentSo instead, ZTD asks you to review your task and project lists, and see if you can simplify them. Remove everything but the essential projects and tasks, so you can focus on them. Simplify your commitments, and your incoming information stream. Be sure that your projects and tasks line up with your yearly and life goals. Do this on a daily basis (briefly, on a small scale), during your weekly review, and your monthly review.9 Routine.Habit: set and keep routines. GTD is very unstructured, which can be both a strength and a weakness. Its a weakness for some people because they need more structure. Try the habit of creating routines to see if it works better for you. A morning routine (for example) could include looking at your calendar, going over your context lists, setting your MITs for the day, exercising, processing email and inboxes, and doing your first MIT for the day.An evening routine could include processing your email and inboxes (again), reviewing your day, writing in your journal, preparing for the next day. Weekly routines could include an errands day, a laundry day, financial day, your weekly review, family day, etc. Its up to you set your own routines, make them work for you.10 find your passion.Habit: seek work for which youre passionate. This could be your last habit, but at the same time your most important. GTD is great for managing the tasks in your life, and trying not to procrastinate on them. But if youre passionate about your work, you wont procrastinate youll love doing it, and want to do more. The habit to form here is to constantly seek things about which youre passionate, and to see if you can make a career out of them when you find them. Make your lifes work something youre passionate about, not something you dread doing, and your task list will almost seem like a list of rewards.How to form the habitsOne of the main problems people have with GTD, probably without knowing it, is that GTD is a series of habit changes that they try to undertake all at once. They get enthusiastic about GTD,7Zen to Done by Leo Babauta from Zen Habits. Action Marketing Plan version. You can freely distribute this documentand try and do it all in one shot, and then fall off the wagon. They get back on, and then fall off again. Its almost like dieting or exercise if you dont adopt successful habit change methods, you will keep failing and eventually get discouraged and quit. Well, if youve been reading Zen Habits for awhile, you know that habit changes arent something to be taken lightly. They can be successful, but it takes a lot of energy and focus and motivation, and its hard to do that with a bunch of habits all at once. I highly recommend that you start with one habit, and apply proven habit-change methodology to that habit, and then once that has become a habit, move on to the next habit. Now, I understand thats not easy. When you take on a system like GTD, you want to do it all at once. Youre excited and enthusiastic! Trust me, Ive been there. But take that excitement and channel it into one habit, and you will be hugely successful. Doing one habit at a time will take some patience, but at the same time its not as overwhelming and its much easier to adopt this way. For some people, GTD can be overwhelming, and a major life change. I am an advocate of gradual life changes, ones that will last for a long time, not just for a few weeks. If you are already good at some of these habits, and if you are good at changing your habits, its possible to do more than one at a time. I wouldnt recommend more than 2-3 at a time, though, because the more you do, the less your chances of success. If you are already good at ubiquitous capture, for example, you could try adopting it as a habit along with, say, processing your inboxes. But dont try to do much more than that. Start simple, and gradually add the other habits as you see fit. Now, which habits should you adopt first? I recommend the order that theyre listed in, but thats far from mandatory. You could easily do them in reverse or scramble them, or form an algorithm to decide. I suggest that if you dont want to do them in the recommended order, see which ones will benefit you the most, and give those a higher priority. Rome wasnt built overnight, and you cant change from being undisciplined, unorganized, procrastinating, unproductive (as I once was Im not accusing you of being these things) to organize, productive, with a do-it-now habit. Give yourself time to make these changes. At the end of this year, if you start now and adopt 1-2 habits per month, you will have some great habits adopted.Habit Change MethodologyWhat are the methods you can use to make these habit changes successful? 1. Commitment. Commit yourself to your habit change, big time. Make your commitment as public as possible 8Zen to Done by Leo Babauta from Zen Habits. Action Marketing Plan version. You can freely distribute this documentput it on your blog, join an online forum and tell them about it, tell your family and friends, send out a daily email update on your progress. The more positive public pressure, the better. 2. Practice. Changing your habits is a skill, and like any skill, it takes practice. Commit yourself to a 30-day Challenge, and try to do your new habit every single day for 30 days. You will be training yourself to do that new habit, over and over. If you mess up, dont beat yourself up, but just try again. Practice makes perfect. 3. Motivation. Find as many ways to motivate yourself as possible. Here are the top 20 motivation hacks proposed by Leo: Chart Your Progress. Recently I posted about how I created a chart to track my progress with each of my goals. This chart is not just for information purposes, for me to look back and see how Im doing. Its to motivate me to keep up with my goals. If Im diligent about checking my chart every day, and marking dots or xs, then I will want to make sure I fill it with dots. I will think to myself, I better do this today if I want to mark a dot. Well, thats a small motivation, but it helps, trust me. Some people prefer to use gold stars. Others have a training log, which works just as well. Or try Joes Goals. However you do it, track your progress, and allow yourself a bit of pride each time you give yourself a good mark. Now, you will have some bad marks on your chart. Thats OK. Dont let a few bad marks stop you from continuing. Strive instead to get the good marks next time. Hold Yourself Back. When I start with a new exercise program, or any new goal really, I am rarin to go. I am full of excitement, and my enthusiasm knows no boundaries. Nor does my sense of self-limitation. I think I can do anything. Its not long before I learn that I do have limitations, and my enthusiasm begins to wane. Well, a great motivator that Ive learned is that when you have so much energy at the beginning of a program, and want to go all out HOLD BACK. Dont let yourself do everything you want to do. Only let yourself do 50-75 percent of what you want to do. And plan out a course of action where you slowly increase over time. For example, if I want to go running, I might think I can run 3 miles at first. But instead of letting myself do that, I start by only running a mile. When Im doing that mile, Ill be telling myself that I can do more! But I dont let myself. After that workout, Ill be looking forward to the next workout, when Ill let myself do 1.5 miles. I keep that energy reined in, harness it, so that I can ride it even further. Join an online (or off-line) group to help keep you focused and motivated. When I started to run, more than a year ago, I joined a few different forums, at different times, on different sites, such as Mens Health (the Belly-Off Runners Club), Runners World, Cool Running, and the running group at About.com. I did the same when I was quitting smoking. 9Zen to Done by Leo Babauta from Zen Habits. Action Marketing Plan version. You can freely distribute this documentEach time I joined a forum, it helped keep me on track. Not only did I meet a bunch of other people who were either going through what I was going through or who had already been through it, I would report my progress (and failures) as I went along. They were there for great advice, for moral support, to help keep me going when I wanted to stop. Post a picture of your goal someplace visible near your desk or on your refrigerator, for example. Visualizing your goal, exactly how you think it will be when youve achieved it, whether its financial goals like traveling to Rome or building a dream house, or physical goals like finishing a marathon or getting a flat stomach, is a great motivator and one of the best ways of actualizing your goals. Find a magazine photo or a picture online and post it somewhere where you can see it not only daily, but hourly if possible. Put it as your desktop photo, or your home page. Use the power of your visual sense to keep you focused on your goal. Because that focus is what will keep you motivated over the long term once you lose focus, you lose motivation, so having something to keep bringing your focus back to your goal will help keep that motivation. Get a workout partner or goal buddy. Staying motivated on your own is tough. But if you find someone with similar goals (running, dieting, finances, etc.), see if theyd like to partner with you. Or partner with your spouse, sibling or best friend on whatever goals theyre trying to achieve. You dont have to be going after the same goals as long as you are both pushing and encouraging each other to succeed. Just get started. There are some days when you dont feel like heading out the door for a run, or figuring out your budget, or whatever it is youre supposed to do that day for your goal. Well, instead of thinking about how hard it is, and how long it will take, tell yourself that you just have to start. I have a rule (not an original one) that I just have to put on my running shoes and close the door behind me. After that, it all flows naturally. Its when youre sitting in your house, thinking about running and feeling tired, that it seems hard. Once you start, it is never as hard as you thought it would be. This tip works for me every time. Make it a pleasure. One reason we might put off something that will help us achieve our goal, such as exercise for example, is because it seems like hard work. Well, this might be true, but the key is to find a way to make it fun or pleasurable. If your goal activity becomes a treat, you actually look forward to it. And thats a good thing. Give it time, be patient. I know, this is easier said than done. But the problem with many of us is that we expect quick results. When you think about your goals, think long term. If you want to lose weight, you may see some quick initial losses, but it will take a long time to lose the rest. If you want to run a marathon, you wont be able to do it overnight. If you dont see the results you want soon, dont give up give it time. In the meantime, be happy with your progress so far, and with your ability to stick with your goals. The results will come if you give it time.10Zen to Done by Leo Babauta from Zen Habits. Action Marketing Plan version. You can freely distribute this documentBreak it into smaller, mini goals. Sometimes large or longer-term goals can be overwhelming. After a couple weeks, we may lose motivation, because we still have several months or a year or more left to accomplish the goal. Its hard to maintain motivation for a single goal for such a long time. Solution: have smaller goals along the way. Reward yourself. Often. And not just for longer-term goals, either. In Hack #12, I talked about breaking larger goals into smaller, mini goals. Well, each of those mini goals should have a reward attached to it. Make a list of your goals, with mini goals, and next to each, write down an appropriate reward. By appropriate, I mean 1) its proportionate to the size of the goal (dont reward going on a 1-mile run with a luxury cruise in the Bahamas); and 2) it doesnt ruin your goal if you are trying to lose weight, dont reward a day of healthy eating with a dessert binge. Its self-defeating. Find inspiration, on a daily basis. Inspiration is one of the best motivators, and it can be found everywhere. Every day, seek inspiration, and it will help sustain motivation over the long term. Sources of inspiration can include: blogs, online success stories, forums, friends and family, magazines, books, quotes, music, photos, people you meet. Get a coach or take a class. These will motivate you to at least show up, and to take action. It can be applied to any goal. This might be one of the more expensive ways of motivating yourself, but it works. And if you do some research, you might find some cheap classes in your area, or you might know a friend who will provide coaching or counseling for free. Have powerful reasons. Write them down. Know your reasons. Give them some thought and write them down. If you have loved ones, and you are doing it for them, that is more powerful than just doing it for self-interest. Doing it for yourself is good too, but you should do it for something that you REALLY REALLY want to happen, for really good reasons. Become aware of your urges to quit, and be prepared for them. We all have urges to stop, but they are mostly unconscious. One of the most powerful things you can do is to start being more conscious of those urges. A good exercise is to go through the day with a little piece of paper and put a tally mark for each time you get an urge. It simply makes you aware of the urges. Then have a plan for when those urges hit, and plan for it beforehand, and write down your plan, because once those urges hit, you will not feel like coming up with a plan. Make it a rule never to skip two days in a row. This rule takes into account our natural tendency to miss days now and then. We are not perfect. So, you missed one day now the second day is upon you and you are feeling lazy tell yourself NO! You will not miss two days in a row! Zen Habits says so! And just get started. Youll thank yourself later. Visualize your goal clearly, on a daily basis, for at least 5-10 minutes. Visualize your successful outcome in great detail. Close your eyes, and think about exactly how your successful outcome will look, will feel, will smell and taste and sound like. Where are you when you become successful? How do you look? What are you wearing? Form as clear a mental picture as possible. Now heres the next key: do it every day. For at least a few minutes each day. This is the only way to keep that motivation going over a long period of time. 11Zen to Done by Leo Babauta from Zen Habits. Action Marketing Plan version. You can freely distribute this documentKeep a daily journal of your goal. If you are consistent about keeping a journal, it can be a great motivator. A journal should have not only what you did for the day, but your thoughts about how it went, how you felt, what mistakes you made, what you could do to improve. To be consistent about keeping a journal, do it right after you do your goal task each day. Make keeping a journal a sensory pleasure. Create a friendly, mutually-supportive competition. We are all competitive in nature, at least a little. Some more than others. Take advantage of this part of our human nature by using it to fuel your goals. If you have a workout partner or goal buddy, youve got all you need for a friendly competition. See who can log more miles, or save more dollars, each week or month. See who can do more pushups or pullups. See who can lose the most weight or have the best abs or lose the most inches on their waist. Make sure the goals are weighted so that the competition is fairly equal. And mutually support each other in your goals. Make a big public commitment. Be fully committed. This will do the trick every time. Create a blog and announce to the world that you are going to achieve a certain goal by a certain date. Commit yourself to the hilt.4. Tracking. Its best if you log your progress on your habit every day. This may sound difficult, but it will make your habit change much more likely to be successful. Log it in before you go to bed, placing your log next to your bed. Itll motivate you, and will make you feel great as you look back on all your progress. 5. Support. Join an online group, or do your habit change with a partner. However you find it, get others to do a habit change with you, and it will be much easier. 6. Rewards. Reward yourself often, early on at the end of each of the first three days, and then at the end of every week, and then a big one at the end of your 30-day Challenge. 7. Focus. Its extremely important that you maintain your focus on this new habit for the full 30 days. Thats why its hard to do more than one or two habits at a time you cant maintain focus. Find ways to bring your focus back to your habit. Post up signs or posters around your desk or home. Send yourself email reminders. Put it on your desktop picture. However you do it, keep a laser focus! 8. Positive thinking.12Zen to Done by Leo Babauta from Zen Habits. Action Marketing Plan version. You can freely distribute this documentThis is perhaps the most important element. If you tell yourself that you can do this, that you will do it, then you will. Squash all negative thoughts, and replace them with positive ones. You can do this!Minimal ZTD. The simplest system possibleIf you are in a hurry or think the system is too complicated, then I now present the minimalist version of ZTD a way to be productive without all the fuss.The Four Habits 1 Collect.Habit: ubiquitous capture. Carry a small notebook (or whatever capture tool works for you) and write down any tasks, ideas, projects, or other information that pop into your head. Get it out of your head and onto paper, so you dont forget it. This is the same as GTD. But ZTD asks you to pick a very simple, portable, easy-to-use tool for capture a small notebook or small stack of index cards are preferred (but not mandated), simply because they are much easier to use and carry around than a PDA or notebook computer. The simpler the tools, the better. When you get back to your home or office, empty your notes into your to-do list. Read more.2 Process.Habit: make quick decisions on things in your inbox, do not put them off. Letting stuff pile up is procrastinating on making decisions. Process your inboxes (email, physical, voicemail, notebook) at least once a day, and more frequently if needed. When you process, do it from the top down, making a decision on each item, as in GTD: do it (if it takes 2 minutes or less), trash it, delegate it, file it, or put it on your to-do list or calendar to do later. See Getting Your Email to Empty and Keeping Your Desk Clear for more.3 Plan.Habit: set MITs for week, day. Each week, list the Big Rocks that you want to accomplish, and schedule them first. Each day, create a list of 1-3 MITs (basically your Big Rocks for the day) and be sure to accomplish them. Do your MITs early in the day to get them out of the way and to ensure that they get done. 13Zen to Done by Leo Babauta from Zen Habits. Action Marketing Plan version. You can freely distribute this document4 Do (focus).Habit: do one task at a time, without distractions. This is one of the most important habits in ZTD. You must select a task (preferably one of your MITs) and focus on it to the exclusion of all else. First, eliminate all distractions. Shut off email, cell phone, Internet if possible (otherwise just close all unnecessary tabs), clutter on your desk (if you follow habit 2, this should be pretty easy). Then, set a timer if you like, or otherwise just focus on your task for as long as possible. Dont let yourself get distracted from it. If you get interrupted, write down any request or incoming tasks/info on your notepad, and get back to your task. Dont try to multi-task. See How NOT to Multi-Task for more.What the Minimal ZTD system leaves outThis version leaves out six habits: keeping a system of simple lists, organizing everything, weekly reviews, simplifying your tasks and projects, setting routines for yourself, and finding your passion. While I think these six habits are valuable, they are not absolutely necessary for a minimalist system.The minimalist implementationSo how do you implement this system, and what do you need? First the tools: A small notebook and a pen. Thats all. So heres how you implement the system: Use your notebook to write everything down as you think of it. This allows you to get things off your mind and not forget them. When you get to your desk or home, add those new tasks to your Master To-do List, which you can also keep in your notebook. At the beginning of each day, review your list, and write down 1-3 MITs that youd like to accomplish for the day. Thats your whole planning system. You dont need any more than that. Get your MITs done as early as possible. When you do each task, clear away all distractions and focus on doing that one task only. Do not multi-task. When youre done, move on to the next MIT.14Zen to Done by Leo Babauta from Zen Habits. Action Marketing Plan version. You can freely distribute this documentIf you complete your MITs, go to your Master List and see whats the next most important task on the list. Do it as in Step 4 above. Repeat as needed. You dont really need 10 different lists, and if you dont keep those different lists, you dont need a weekly review. I would still suggest you set yearly goals, and add mini tasks from each goal to your Master List, but thats optional. Also optional: add any of the habits that are left out of this minimalist system later, if you think they would help.15Zen to Done by Leo Babauta from Zen Habits. Action Marketing Plan version. You can freely distribute this document

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