Zen To Done (ZTD): The Simple Productivity System

By SysBots

“It’s in regards to the habits and the doing, not the system or the instruments.”

In an effort to seize the necessities of being productive & organized, whereas holding issues so simple as doable, I’ve developed my very own productiveness system: Zen To Performed (ZTD).

ZTD captures the important spirit of the brand new system: that of simplicity, of a give attention to doing, within the right here and now, as an alternative of on planning and on the system.

For those who’ve been having hassle with GTD, as nice as it’s, ZTD may be only for you. It focuses on the behavior adjustments crucial for GTD, in a extra sensible approach, and it focuses on doing, on simplifying, and on including a easy construction. Learn on for extra.


ZTD makes an attempt to deal with 5 issues that many individuals have with GTD. I ought to notice that GTD isn’t actually flawed, and doesn’t actually need modification, however everyone seems to be totally different, and ZTD is a solution to customise it to higher match totally different character varieties.

ZTD addresses 5 issues folks have with GTD:

1) GTD is a sequence of behavior adjustments. That is the primary purpose why folks fall off the GTD system — it’s a bunch of behavior adjustments which might be tried all of sudden. For those who’ve learn Zen Habits lengthy sufficient, that specializing in one behavior at a time is finest, and ensures probably the most success. As well as, GTDers don’t apply confirmed habit-change strategies (those I discuss on this website) to vary their habits.

Resolution: ZTD focuses on one behavior at a time. You don’t need to attempt to undertake the whole system directly — it’s overwhelming and it’s too exhausting to focus in your behavior adjustments for those who do too many at a time. As an alternative, give attention to separately, and undertake the system in phases. Use confirmed habit-changing strategies (dedication, rewards, motivation hacks, and so forth.) to efficiently undertake every new behavior.

2) GTD doesn’t focus sufficient on doing. Whereas it’s known as Getting Issues Performed, usually what we find yourself doing more often than not is Getting Issues in Our Trusted System. The e-book, whereas presenting a wonderful system, focuses extra on the capturing and processing phases than it does on the precise doing stage.

Resolution: ZTD focuses extra on doing — and the way to truly full your duties, in a easy, stress-free method.

3) GTD is just too unstructured for many individuals. This may be one of many good issues about GTD — its lack of construction, its in-the-moment choice making about what to do subsequent — nevertheless it may also be an enormous supply of confusion for many individuals. Some folks want extra construction of their day, and GTD could be disorienting. Totally different folks have totally different kinds.

Resolution: ZTD presents a few habits to deal with this: the plan behavior, the place you merely plan your three MITs for the day and your Massive Rocks for the week, and the routine behavior, the place you set every day and weekly routines for your self. These habits, like all of the habits of ZTD, are non-obligatory. In the event that they don’t be just right for you, don’t undertake them. However for many individuals, they are going to praise the opposite nice components of GTD completely.

4) GTD tries to do an excessive amount of, which finally ends up stressing you out. GTD doesn’t discriminate amongst all of the incoming stuff in your life, which once more is a part of its magnificence. However the issue is that we put all the pieces on our lists, and find yourself being overloaded. We attempt to do all the pieces on our lists. This isn’t actually an issue with GTD, however an issue with how we implement it. But it surely ought to be addressed.

Resolution: ZTD focuses on simplifying. Take as a lot stuff off your plate as doable, so you may give attention to doing what’s vital, and doing it properly.

5) GTD doesn’t focus sufficient in your targets. GTD is purposely a bottom-up, runway-level system. Whereas it does discuss greater ranges, it doesn’t actually go into it a lot. Because of this, GTD is extra centered on doing no matter comes at you relatively than doing what try to be doing — the vital stuff.

Resolution: ZTD, as talked about above, asks you to establish the massive belongings you need to do for the week and for the day. One other behavior in ZTD is so that you can evaluate your targets every week, as a approach of staying centered on them all year long. GTD incorporates a component of this, however ZTD extends it.

Once more, GTD is a superb system, and works very properly. However ZTD takes a number of the issues that folks have in implementing it, and adapts it for actual life.

The 10 Habits of ZTD

Every of those habits ought to be discovered and practiced separately if doable, or 2-Three at a time on the most. Focus in your behavior change for 30 days, then transfer on to the subsequent. The order listed under is only a suggestion — you may undertake them in no matter order works finest for you, and also you don’t must undertake all 10 habits. Experiment and discover those that work finest along with your working fashion. Habits 1-Eight are probably the most important, however I counsel you give Habits 9-10 severe consideration too. I’ll increase on every of those 10 habits in future posts.

1 accumulate. . Carry a small pocket book (or no matter seize instrument works for you) and write down any duties, concepts, tasks, or different info that pop into your head. Get it out of your head and onto paper, so that you don’t neglect it. This is similar as GTD. However ZTD asks you to choose a quite simple, transportable, easy-to-use instrument for seize — a small pocket book or small stack of index playing cards are most popular (however not mandated), just because they’re much simpler to make use of and carry round than a PDA or pocket book laptop. The easier the instruments, the higher. While you get again to your property or workplace, empty your notes into your to-do listing (a easy to-do listing will work for now — context lists can are available in a later behavior). Learn extra.

2 course of. Behavior: make fast selections on issues in your inbox, don’t put them off. Letting stuff pile up is procrastinating on making selections. Course of your inboxes (e mail, bodily, voicemail, pocket book) at the least as soon as a day, and extra ceaselessly if wanted. While you course of, do it from the highest down, making a call on every merchandise, as in GTD: do it (if it takes 2 minutes or much less), trash it, delegate it, file it, or put it in your to-do listing or calendar to do later.

Three plan. Behavior: set MITs for week, day. Every week, listing the Massive Rocks that you just need to accomplish, and schedule them first. Every day, create a listing of 1-Three MITs (principally your Massive Rocks for the day) and make sure to accomplish them. Do your MITs early within the day to get them out of the way in which and to make sure that they get finished.

Four do (focus). Behavior: do one process at a time, with out distractions. This is without doubt one of the most vital habits in ZTD. You need to choose a process (ideally one among your MITs) and give attention to it to the exclusion of all else. First, eradicate all distractions. Shut off e mail, cellular phone, Web if doable (in any other case simply shut all pointless tabs), litter in your desk (for those who observe behavior 2, this ought to be fairly simple). Then, set a timer for those who like, or in any other case simply focus in your process for so long as doable. Don’t let your self get distracted from it. For those who get interrupted, write down any request or incoming duties/information in your notepad, and get again to your process. Don’t attempt to multi-task. See How NOT to Multi-Process for extra.

5 easy trusted system. Behavior: hold easy lists, verify every day. Mainly the identical as GTD — have context lists, similar to @work, @telephone, @house, @errands, @ready, and so forth. ZTD suggests that you just hold your lists so simple as doable. Don’t create a sophisticated system, and don’t hold making an attempt out new instruments. It’s a waste of time, as enjoyable as it’s. Both use a easy pocket book or index playing cards in your lists, or use the best listing program doable. You don’t want a planner or a PDA or Outlook or a sophisticated system of tags. Only one listing for every context, and a tasks listing that you just evaluate both every day or weekly. Linking actions to each tasks and contexts is sweet, however can get too difficult. Preserve it easy, and give attention to what you must do proper now, not on taking part in along with your system or your instruments.

6 arrange. Behavior: a spot for all the pieces. All incoming stuff goes in your inbox. From there, it goes in your context lists and an motion folder, or in a file in your submitting system, in your outbox for those who’re going to delegate it, or within the trash. Put issues the place they belong, instantly, as an alternative of piling them as much as kind later. This retains your desk clear so you may focus in your work. Don’t procrastinate — put issues away.

7 evaluate. Behavior: evaluate your system & targets weekly. GTD’s weekly evaluate is nice, and ZTD incorporates it nearly precisely, however with extra of a give attention to reviewing your targets every week. That is already in GTD, however isn’t emphasised. Throughout your weekly evaluate, it is best to go over every of your yearly targets, see what progress you made on them within the final week, and what motion steps you’re going to take to maneuver them ahead within the coming week. As soon as a month, put aside just a little extra time to do a month-to-month evaluate of your targets, and yearly, it is best to do a yearly evaluate of your 12 months’s targets and your life’s targets.

Eight simplify. Behavior: cut back your targets & duties to necessities. One of many issues with GTD is that it makes an attempt to deal with all incoming duties. However this may overload us, and go away us with out the mandatory give attention to the vital duties (MITs). So as an alternative, ZTD asks you to evaluate your process and challenge lists, and see for those who can simplify them. Take away all the pieces however the important tasks and duties, so you may give attention to them. Simplify your commitments, and your incoming info stream. Make sure that your tasks and duties line up along with your yearly and life targets. Do that each day (briefly, on a small scale), throughout your weekly evaluate, and your month-to-month evaluate.

9 routine. Behavior: set and hold routines. GTD may be very unstructured, which could be each a power and a weak spot. It’s a weak spot for some folks as a result of they want extra construction. Strive the behavior of making routines to see if it really works higher for you. A morning routine (for instance) may embrace taking a look at your calendar, going over your context lists, setting your MITs for the day, exercising, processing e mail and inboxes, and doing all of your first MIT for the day. A night routine may embrace processing your e mail and inboxes (once more), reviewing your day, writing in your journal, getting ready for the subsequent day. Weekly routines may embrace an errands day, a laundry day, monetary day, your weekly evaluate, household day, and so forth. It’s as much as you — set your personal routines, make them be just right for you.

10 discover your ardour. Behavior: search work for which you’re passionate. This might be your final behavior, however on the similar time your most vital. GTD is nice for managing the duties in your life, and making an attempt to not procrastinate on them. However for those who’re captivated with your work, you received’t procrastinate — you’ll love doing it, and need to do extra. The behavior to type right here is to always search issues about which you’re passionate, and to see if you can also make a profession out of them if you discover them. Make your life’s work one thing you’re captivated with, not one thing you dread doing, and your process listing will nearly appear to be a listing of rewards.

See the ZEN TO DONE E-BOOK, now on the market.

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