The Really Simple Way to Get Work Done | zen habits

The system breaks down to just three rules:

  1. At the end of each week, make a new to-do list entitled, “Weekly Goals”. Write everything you want to accomplish in the next seven days.
  2. Every night, make a new to-do list entitled, “Daily Goals”. Pull from your weekly list and routine every task you want to finish tomorrow.
  3. During your workday, focus only on completing the daily list. Pretend your other work doesn’t exist. When you’ve finished the daily list, you’re done for the day and you’re not allowed to add more work.

Three rules and two to-do lists is such a brainless system it’s easy to miss the psychological power of it.

First, by making your daily goals the entirety of work you can accomplish, you develop a laser focus to get everything done. Knowing you can relax guilt-free after finishing makes you far more motivated to work hard than traditional, infinite to-do list systems.

Second, the weekly goals avoid meta-procrastination, in making deliberately small daily goals lists which miss your important work. This also helps minimize the guilt for relaxing, by knowing you’re on track throughout the week, even if you finish early on one day.

Finally, it’s easy to maintain. Systems such as GTD work well for hyper-organized individuals, but I’m just too disorganized to keep it up. I wanted an approach where I spent time focusing on getting work done, not worrying about all the lists and action item folders I had created.

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