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Leo Babauta - Zen to Done

Leo Babauta - Zen to Done

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Published by NimlotSRV
A summary of Leo Babauta's book on Productivity.
A summary of Leo Babauta's book on Productivity.

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Published by: NimlotSRV on Aug 15, 2010
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12/22/2013

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Leo Babauta’s Zen Habits
Zen to Done
Collect
We’re going to try to have a place for everything coming into our lives (inboxes), and getinto the habit of writing things down immediately, instead of relying on our brainsto keep track of it all.ZTD asks you to pick a very simple, portable, easy-to-use tool for capture — a smallnotebook or small stack of index cards are preferred.This simple habit of collecting all the information that comes into your life into a tinynotebook (and in a few other inboxes) will greatly improve your organization andeventually your productivity.
Process
Letting stuff pile up is procrastinating on making decisions.The 8 steps of Processing:
i.
Process it from the top down, making quick and immediate decisions.Start with the top item in your inbox, and make an immediate decision.Don’t skip over it or put it back in or delay the decision.
ii.
Delete. If you don’t need it, trash it. Make this your first choice.
iii.
Delegate. Are you the person who should be doing this? If not, send itto someone else and get it off your plate.
iv.
Do do it immediately. If the task will take 2 minutes or less, just do itrather than adding it to your to-do list.
v.
Defer it for later. If it will take more than 2 minutes, add itimmediately to your to-do list to do later.
vi.
File it. If it’s just something you need for reference, file itimmediately. Don’t use a Miscellaneous or To Be Filed file — that’s just putting off the decision. Don’t let your things to be filed pile up —  just file it right away.
vii.
In all cases, don’t leave the item in your inbox. Delete or file it. Work your way down through each item until your inbox is empty. Note: if you have hundreds of items in your inbox, it might be good to tossthem all into a folder to be processed later (and schedule a couplehours to do that), and then start this process with all new items fromthat point on.
Repeat this process, to keep your inboxes empty. If you’ve minimized the number of inboxes you have, this shouldn’t be too hard. Celebrate when your inbox is empty!It’s a wonderful feeling. Remember: Don’t check them all day long — schedule yourprocessing time — and definitely don’t have instant notification on
Plan
 
Take control of your day, instead of letting the needs and wants and priorities of others controlit for you.
Each morning, decide what your Most Important Tasks are for that day.The 5 Steps to Planning:Big Rocks. At the beginning of each week (either Sunday or Monday, you choose), sitdown and look at your to-do list. What do you want to accomplish this week? Try tokeep your Big Rocks to just 4-6 accomplishments per week, at first — later, as youget a feel for what you can accomplish, you might be able to add more. Try to besure to include at least a couple of tasks to further along your yearly goals.Schedule. Now take these “Big Rocks” and place them in your weekly schedule. Placeonly one or two per day, so you aren’t overwhelmed. Place them in 1-2 hour blocks,early in the day if possible.MITs. Each morning, decide what your Most Important Tasks are for that day. Thesewill probably be the same as your Big Rocks for the day, although as things changeyou might have different MITs. Choose about 3 MITs for the day — this couldinclude a Big Rock and a couple other important tasks.Complete them. Now here’s the most important part: get them done. First thing in themorning, before you even check email, get that first MIT done. Clear away alldistractions, and be sure to focus on only that task until it’s done.Look back and say ahh. If you complete your MITs, you will feel great. Be sure to look back on what you’ve accomplished and pat yourself on the back — or even rewardyourself.
Do
All the rest is just busy work if you don’t actually do the things on your to-do list.The 8 Steps to Doing:Choose a Big Rock. First, select a task (preferably one of your MITs) and decide thatyou are going to work on it either until it’s done, or for a set amount of time (say 30minutes).Get zoned. Before you get started, eliminate all distractions. Shut off email, cell phone,Internet if possible (otherwise just close all unnecessary tabs), clutter on your desk,anything that might interrupt you.Timed burst. Set a timer if you like (a simple one like CoolTimer will do), or otherwise just focus on your task for as long as possible. Don’t let yourself get distracted fromit.Interruptions. If you get interrupted, write down any request or incoming tasks/info onyour notepad, or toss the document into your inbox, and get back to your task.Don’t try to multi-task.If you feel the urge to check your email or switch to another task, stop yourself. Breathedeeply. Re-focus yourself. Get back to the task at hand.The inevitable. There are times when an interruption is so urgent that you cannot put itoff until you’re done with the task at hand. In that case, try to make a note of whereyou are (writing down notes if you have time) with the task at hand, and put all thedocuments or notes for that task together and aside (perhaps in an “action” folderor project folder). Then, when you come back to that task, you can pull out yourfolder and look at your notes to see where you left off.Relax. Take deep breaths, stretch, and take breaks now and then. Enjoy life. Go outside,and appreciate nature. Keep yourself sane.
 
Ahhhh. When you’re done, congratulate yourself! Reward yourself with a short break and then move on to your next task.
Simple, trusted system
Use the lists you need, but keep your system as simple as possible.The Setupwork: for everything work-related.personal: all your personal tasks.errands: so you can have an easy errand list.calls: for calls you can make from anywhere.waiting for: a useful list for stuff you need to follow up on.ZTD asks you to use the simplest tools possible, and then forget about them.The ToolsPocket notebook, to carry everywhere and use as a capture tool.In the notebook, write your three MITs for the day, along with “batch tasks” at thebottom of the page. Write your master to-do list, along with separate lists forerrands and calls and follow-ups, in the back of the notebook.Use Google Calendar for appointments and reminders only, Gmail for email, and GoogleDocuments and AbiWord for writing.Once you make checking your lists a daily habit, your life will become much moreorganized and productive.
Organize
Your life can be completely organized with one single rule: put everything in its home.Have a simple filing system.Have a home for everything.Put everything away immediately. Don’t wait until later, do it now!Pay attention to the time between when you’re doing one thing and when you’re doingthe next thing (a transition). That’s when you should put stuff away.Keep flat surfaces clear.
Review
Tap into the power of the Weekly Review in as little time as possible — the SimplifiedWeekly Review.You’ll want to clear away all distractions.Remember: just focus on one goal at a time, making it much more likely that you’llachieve it.The 5 Steps to Reviewing:
Review your single long-term goal, and short-term goal. Review your life goals (if youhaven’t written them yet, take some time to do it now), and from those goals, you shouldchoose one long-term goal that you want to accomplish this year. Just one goal, to allowyou to focus on that goal completely. Only choose one — if you choose too many, youwill lose focus, and focus is the most important component in achieving a goal. Thenchoose one short-term goal that you can accomplish in the next week or so that will moveyou closer to your long-term goal. Once you’ve done this, every week’s Weekly Reviewshould be just a review of the progress you’ve made on that single goal, and a refocusingon that goal. It’s important to refocus yourself on your goal every week, as this will keep

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