My Productivity Hack: 4 hour work day and GTD

Productivity has been one of my biggest challenges. Well, let me rephrase. Consistently producing extremely productive days has been one of my biggest challenges. I'm an overachiever and since that came naturally, I've never had to be scientific about getting things done. Until lately, at least.

Getting Things Done

Photo by rintakumpu

The last few years, I've noticed its become harder and harder stay on track. Twitter, IRC, Digg, Email, IM, Facebook, etc., etc., ad infinitum, are always competing for my attention, and when they're all a keystroke away, it becomes too easy to check it "just this once"... again.

They say realization is the first step to fixing the problem. I've been working on that lately. Between launching multiple websites, speaking at multiple conferences this fall, and launching a new company... well, let's just say my time is at a premium. Figuring out how to use my time efficiently has been forced to the top of my priorities.

One tool I've started using is Cultured Code's Things. I switched from OmniFocus because Things focuses on being simple. Dead simple. Yes, I know you use the standard GTD workflow in OmniFocus, but I'm a categorizer. I have over 1,000 tags in my delicious. That's just bookmarks!

Another thing I'm getting ready to start this next week is something I pulled out of Scott H Young's post. He says to setup your tasks in weekly and daily goals. Each day, pick the things from your weekly list that have to get completed, then do them. You don't stop working until those are done, but when they are, you stop regardless of whether it is 10 AM, or 10 PM.

This suites itself well to the categorization schema of GTD and Things. I just started by clearing everything out of my Next bucket in Things and putting them all in Someday bucket. Then, I triaged that list 58 items and pull the 16 that need to happen this next week. I'm sure that list is going to grow, but this gives me a start. Each day this week, I'm going to start the day by pulling tasks out of the Next list, and those are the things that have to get accomplished that day. Once I'm through it, I'll switch gears onto other projects.

I think I might be onto something here. I haven't seen this style of GTD before. That said, I haven't really spent a lot of time looking around. I know one of my big problems the past few weeks using Things is that I tend to just keep adding tasks into Today. I have a dozen things marked off as completed for the day, but most of them were added right before I switched gears into it. This should help keep me in check.

Got any ideas on how you use GTD? Does something else work for you? I'd love to hear some feedback, so I can see how to hack this to make it better.