Are you impressed by people who accomplish so much?
And I know their secret.
Soon you can be just as productive as they are.
Hang on here…
The secret in two words
Highly productive people are:
They have a plan. A goal.
They break it down into steps.
They do the steps.
When you’re failing
If you’re anything like me, then the moments you’re failing, it’s when you don’t have a plan.
If I don’t have a plan, I spend way too much time procrastinating.
And by "plan" I don’t mean a thing in my calendar that says: 8:04: write email, 9:17: create product.
It’s nothing like that.
My checklist is my best friend. We do everything together, even watching Netflix.
Okay, I have that checklist in my head. At the moment it consists of one point:
- Watch the next episode of Suits
Without checklists, which I create in Notion of course, I would get very little done.
Another thing that helps a lot to get more done is…
Even my checklist is automated.
The things I do daily pop up on my checklist daily. That means I don’t have to think about what to do. It’s just there, in front of me.
And it feels so good to click that little box and check it off.
I use other kinds of automation, like using FastKeys (look it up). I’ve used such tools since around 2000. When I was on a Mac, I used Typinator.
I use spreadsheets with formulas. Made once, work forever.
In case I convinced you that checklist is imperative to getting things done…
What should you add to your checklist?
You don’t need to add things that are so ingrained into your daily routine that you wouldn’t dream about not doing them.
Unless you like the little buzz you get from checking off the "done" field.
I will sometimes have "write email for [name of product]." Most of the time I don’t, because I write an email every day without having to plan it.
If you’re building a new habit of, say, writing 3 tweets a day, add that to your checklist.
If you prospect on Facebook (ugh!) or LinkedIn (yay) and it’s new to you, then add that on your checklist.
If you do more than just 3 things a day, even though they are on your backbone and you just do them without thinking, I would add them to a checklist.
Just in case.
Show up daily
Imagine that you want to get fit. So you go to the gym and work every muscle in your body for six hours every Sunday.
If you can walk on Mondays, I’m in awe. And if you can build muscle that way, I’m in even more awe.
I’m not a fitness trainer. But I’ve found that this is true for every muscle in your body.
Including your writing muscle.
If you want to write better stories (stories sell) then it works your story-muscle better to write for 15 minutes every day instead of 90 minutes one day a week.
After all… what are 15 minutes? It’s nothing, right?
When you do a little every day, you avoid overwhelm.
I’ve given this example before, but it’s written in my memory with a sharpie, so I’ll share again.
And I’ll NEVER make this mistake it again.
Near the end of 2010, I joined a "100 articles in 100 days" challenge from Ezine Articles. We would get a price if we could show 100 approved and published articles on their platform.
It was a win-win.
If I wrote that many articles, it would mean:
- I only had to write 1 article (400+ words) a day – doable
- I would get lots of writing practice
- I would get lots and lots of traffic to my website
- I would get a prize, yay. I think it was a big coffee mug, and I still use two of those
So with 100 full, long days ahead of me, I did what any writer would do:
When I woke up December 31, the last day of the challenge, I had only written 75 articles.
I was with my daughter in her apartment. She offered me a table, a chair and coffee. So I sat down with my laptop and started writing.
I did it! I wrote 25 articles that last day, but I don’t recommend it if you’re not in the habit of writing so much.
Since April 1st I’m in a new challenge: Write 1 million words during 9 months…
That’s 275 days writing 3,636 words a day. Doable.
I don’t write on Saturdays, so that’s 4,255 words per day.
Still doable, yes.
And this week, I decided I would also take Sundays off from "work." So now I need to hit 5,128 words per day. Which I’ve done so far.
But getting behind and writing 250,000 words the last day?
I THINK NOT!
So my point: do a little every day.
Now you know the secret of prolific people
- They use checklist (can be in their heads after many years)
- They do a little every single day, 5-6 days a week
I’m sharing my checklists as I create them, and if you’re interested in my templates, you can find them at NotionBritt.com
Let me know if you want a checklist you don’t see over there.