by Darrin Schenck

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by Darrin Schenck

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Yes, I am a firm believer in this one, and I use it myself every day… a Get Sh*t Done list.

Have you ever laid in bed thinking about stuff you need to do tomorrow, even trivial stuff?  You are losing sleep because you are trying to ensure that when you wake up you’ll remember the things you need to do.  You can’t let go enough to drift off into sleep, and you pay the price.  Or you wake up with a bunch of thoughts on your mind of what you need to do, but you get a third of the way into your morning routine and now all the sudden you can’t remember most of them?

It is an easy fix for any of these examples.  Write it down.  That’s it…just write it down, in whatever form is going to best serve you.  I have skinny tablet with lines on it laying on the kitchen counter every morning, waiting for me.  I also use the notes app on my phone quite a bit.  I do that a lot, in fact all of my ideas for blogs are in two different folders in my notes app.  An idea may strike at any time, and I know better, from experience, that I cannot rely on remembering it later.  Especially a few days later when I can get back to the coffee shop to write again.  Even a few minutes some times is enough for an idea to come and go, never to be recovered from my own internal hard drive.  I apologize to all of humanity for some brilliant ideas that never came to fruition due to me forgetting.

When it comes to productivity, nothing is better than a list of things you need to accomplish.  This answers the questions of:

–What was that thing I needed to get from the store?

–What else was there for me to do?

–What did my wife say she needed me to do for her today?

–What are my responsibilities for today?

All of this is easy, now that you have written it down.  When I have a weekend day that I have a bunch to do, I may bang it all out before 10AM if I can, or I may choose to go to the coffee shop and sit and write for a while before doing anything else.  Either way, I have my marching orders for what I need to do during the day, and I can check them off the list as I go.

Doing this becomes self-reinforcing, believe it or not.  Scratching a line through something on your list becomes a satisfying thing, and you’ll want to do more.  It is literally a hit of dopamine to scratch things off of a GSD list.  This is the best part, you get stuff done AND you get the feel-good hit of dopamine that we humans crave so deeply.  It is the definition of a win-win.  You are only going to be a successful as your habits and patterns in life are set up for.  Writing a to do list is a huge help in conquering the day to day tasks that pile up in a hurry.

My personal tip is one that serves me well.  I write my GSD list the night before as best I can.  I will usually add to it the next day, but at least I am waking up with a game plan of what I need to do.  In my calendar, five days a week, in the 6-7AM time slot is my workout.  Three days a week of weight training and two days of cardio and ab work.  I usually hike one day a weekend as well, so that is six out of seven days of physical exercise to start my day.  I have a huge bottle of water sitting on my bathroom sink, so immediately after brushing my teeth, the next thing I am doing is consuming at least 24 ounces of water.  More comes with me to the gym.   I come home, and my protein powder container is already on the counter waiting for me.  I make a shake and walk the dog while I am drinking it.  Then I come home and make breakfast; 50 grams of protein to start the day.  Check.   I am removing the “friction” of my morning routine as much as possible by doing these things in advance.  I am starting the day in a highly productive manner, and I am setting the tone for the rest of the day.  It makes it easy for me, and therefore they get done.  This is my “essentials” list that apply to every day.  My GSD list kicks in right after, whether it is sitting down at my desk and getting to work for a block of time, or I am doing things on the list.  Either way, I have a routine for every day activities and a list of whatever else needs to get done.  This is how I manage to get as much done as I do.

Whatever version of this you choose to use, the main thing is that you do it.  You will feel and BE so much more productive, it will blow your mind.  And it is easy, just get started.  Start small, write a list with two or three things on it tonight and do them tomorrow.  Notice how you feel when you are drawing a line through the first thing on your list, and then the next.  Your life will be easier when you live this way, I promise.  PRO TIP:  I am so much more responsive to clients and prospective customers because of this approach.  I clear things off of my To Do list quickly and therefore I can address their needs much faster.  I don’t wait until the end of the day, or three days later, to get back to someone.  I can usually email them within minutes of them reaching out.  And believe me, people notice.  I constantly read return emails that start out “…thanks for the quick reply!”  And on the other end of the spectrum, I get emails at 9PM, or over the weekend.  This makes me think one of two things:  That company needs to hire more people to spread the workload around to, or this person is terrible at time management.  I do my best to be organized and responsive, and that is one criteria people look at for choosing a business partner.  My wife appreciates the same approach, getting things done around the house makes her feel like she doesn’t have to do them herself.  And in all honesty, it keeps me focused and on track as well.  In other words, there is NO downside to doing things this way.

I urge you to deploy this easy hack to a more productive and organized life.  You will benefit greatly, I swear!

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