GTD by dave Allen is the system and process I use to organise myself thanks to Steve Cree, but often the wheels fall off, and here’s a simple way to keep going when things get out of control.
Leo Babauta has a book called ‘The Power of Less’. The central idea of the book is to work out your goals, set limitations so that you do less but do what’s important. The book aims to help you discern what is essential and what to get rid of by getting you to think about your life goals. One useful exercise it had was to make a list of EVERYTHING I do (it was huge) then go back and highlight what were the most important things.
Chapter 8 is called ‘Simple Tasks’ To put flesh on that idea “do less, but do what’s important” he suggests at the start of every day you CHOOSE YOUR THREE MOST IMPORTANT TASKS and do them before you do anything else. When life is falling apart and I start living in a reactive way, I go back to this as a basic discipline.
It’s simple but powerful. I normally get my three MIT’s done by lunch and do more after, but it’s a great sense of accomplishment to set three important things and get them done. He suggests that you make at lease one of the three things be a ‘big picture’ thing, that is helping you move forward in a particular area, so that your 3 MIT’s are not just 3 urgent or menial tasks, but the three most important things that you can do that day.
So today my three MIT’s are – a private time of prayer and bible reading, writing a letter and doing the church bulletin, which I’ve finished so now I can get even more done. On a different day it might be sermon preparation so it takes all morning to get one done.
There were some other good ideas in the book…
Make SMALL changes (p42) – eg Start with 5-10 minutes of exercise not 1 hour, wake up 10 minutes earlier, clean one desk not your whole study.
EMAIL: Let it be your slave not your master. Turn off auto check and check it just once or twice a day (10am and 4pm). Empty your inbox. Don’t check it first thing in the morning so that it sets your agenda.