Have you ever wondered how other people get things done? I always find myself wondering how certain people I look up to produce so much work. Do they have project managers? Do they just do everything on a whim? How do they juggle multiple projects? Is everything queued? How do they get things done?
I’ve always wanted to know how they do it because I constantly struggled to get anything done. I still have no idea how most people do it, but I’ve been working to find out what works for me. Considering I could never find this resource when I was looking for it, I decided perhaps I can create a starting point for you. Here’s how I get things done:
Every three months my brother and I meet to set quarterly goals. We divide these goals into 6 different sections.
- Things to keep doing (ex. Read everyday)
- Things to do more of (ex. Share what I’m working on)
- Things to start doing (ex. Taking walks and exploring)
- Things I want to be learning (ex. Type design)
- Tangible Goals (ex. Read 6 books)
- Long Term Goals (ex. Have the Know Where Co. site live)
These are all recorded in Evernote, and by also writing down each others, we are able to keep each other accountable throughout the quarter.
Every week we meet again to set weekly accountability lists. These are actionable items we expect to do that week. These take into consideration our goals that we set for the quarter as well as any client work that comes up or any other similar developments. During these meetings, we always start by reviewing the previous week to see what we got done, what didn’t get done, and what can be improved. Just as the quarterly goals are recorded in Evernote, as are these.
Every day I set a to-do list for the next day. However, it’s not actually a to-do list, instead, I schedule out what I’m going to be doing the next day. This schedule is physically written down in a small journal and throughout the day I cross off each time block and jot down any necessary notes. I’ve made traditional to-do lists in the past with check boxes next to task items, but it never worked out. Scheduling my day gives me a more realistic perspective towards what I can actually accomplish that day.
Every night I look back at what I did for that day and rewrite it on the page next to it. This is my period of reflection. I look to see where I slipped up, where things popped up, and to see how much I have gotten done for my weekly accountability. This reflection may seem redundant, however, it’s integral to the process; it gives me the opportunity to actually acknowledge what I did that day in more detail and will in turn help me better schedule my days. I’ve found that it’s easier to stick to a schedule than a traditional to-do list because I don’t have to think about how to allocate my time and effort because I already did that the night before.
Above all, the best way to get things done is to have momentum—simply keep at it. You can set up any kind of system you want, but it will always come down to you putting in the work. Taking action and getting things done isn’t the result of a system, it’s a habit. The system simply gives more intentionality to the habit.
It took me a while to learn this because I was fixated on getting the system right, but when I focused on first building momentum and developing healthy habits, everything else was put into place to make things more efficient and purposeful. If you’re having trouble starting, read Focus On Taking Action & Keep Moving Forward. When you’ve become more action-oriented, give this system a shot and let me know if it works for you.