Minimal ZTD: The Simplest System Possible | zen habits
The Four Habits
1 collect. Habit: ubiquitous capture.
Carry a small notebook (or whatever capture tool works for you) and
write down any tasks, ideas, projects, or other information that pop
into your head. Get it out of your head and onto paper, so you
don’t forget it. This is the same as GTD. But ZTD asks you to
pick a very simple, portable, easy-to-use tool for capture — a
small notebook or small stack of index cards are preferred (but not
mandated), simply because they are much easier to use and carry around
than a PDA or notebook computer. The simpler the tools, the better.
When you get back to your home or office, empty your notes into your
to-do list. Read more.
2 process. Habit: make quick decisions on things in your inbox, do not put them off. Letting stuff pile up is procrastinating on making decisions. Process your inboxes
(email, physical, voicemail, notebook) at least once a day, and more
frequently if needed. When you process, do it from the top down, making
a decision on each item, as in GTD: do it (if it takes 2 minutes or
less), trash it, delegate it, file it, or put it on your to-do list or
calendar to do later. See Getting Your Email to Empty and Keeping Your Desk Clear for more.
3 plan. Habit: set MITs for week, day. Each week, list the Big Rocks that you want to accomplish, and schedule them first. Each day, create a list of 1-3 MITs (basically your Big Rocks for the day) and be sure to accomplish them. Do your MITs early in the day to get them out of the way and to ensure that they get done.
4 do (focus). Habit: do one task at a time, without distractions.
This is one of the most important habits in ZTD. You must select a task
(preferably one of your MITs) and focus on it to the exclusion of all
else. First, eliminate all distractions. Shut off email, cell phone,
Internet if possible (otherwise just close all unnecessary tabs),
clutter on your desk (if you follow habit 2, this should be pretty
easy). Then, set a timer if you like, or otherwise just focus on your
task for as long as possible. Don’t let yourself get distracted
from it. If you get interrupted, write down any request or incoming
tasks/info on your notepad, and get back to your task. Don’t try
to multi-task. See How NOT to Multi-Task for more.