November 12, 2017self productivity
I’m a procrastinator. Back when I was an employee this wasn’t a great problem: most of the time there was a project manager who decided the priorities, gave me my tasks to accomplish and so on. But now I’m a CTO of my own company: nobody tells me what to do, I must learn how to manage myself and my coworkers.
I need some kind of system for managing, prioritize and track my duties. This is not something you can build up in a day, it takes a lot of thinking, a lot of discipline and patience.
So I’m going to keep track of my tries and achievements in a series of blog posts.
My system of choice
I spent a week reading and comparing different management methods and their implementations on different platforms and I ended up choosing a personalized version of ZTD as system: I think is quite reliable, more focus oriented and easier then GTD.
In short: you collect tasks, informations, ideas and everything that pops in your mind in a single list called “Inbox”. At least once a day, you “process” your Inbox: if it’s a task and it takes less then 2 minutes to do it, do it immediately, otherwise move it to your actions list; if an item requires the action of another person, put it in a waiting for list; if the item is something that you want to keep for future references, store it in a store list (or some other file system); trash every item you don’t need.
If an action is too big, split it down to smaller actions. For example, the task/goal “Learn Japanese” can be divided into “Take Japanese lesson one”, “Take Japanese lesson two” and so on. You can keep a reference about your progress in the main task.
The next step is planning: select the MITs (Most Important Tasks) you want to accomplish that week and schedule them first. Each day create a list with 1 to 3 MITs for today and be sure to accomplish them.
Doing: do one task at the time, without distractions. This is fundamental. If you are interrupted, write down the incoming task or information for later and get back to your task. Do not try multitasking.
There are other steps in the ZTD system, but I’m going to focus on these four for now.
I’m going to implement these system using the following tools:
Trello: where I’m going to keep all the different lists. The kanban style of visualization is very useful. The Android app is quite good too.
Zapier: this is useful to automate my inbox list: it can create Trello cards from various sources: Github, Gitlab, RSS, etc… I’m not really 100% sure this is a correct method; one should be able to choose what to put in his/her inbox, probably an automation is not the best idea. I’ll try it and take a decision.
It’s all for now. I’m going to write about my system again in the future, in order to document how it performs for me. It’s also a way to keep myself focus on what I want to achieve: a productive life with less stress.