A lot of people say that they get their best ideas in the shower or maybe in the car, maybe just in the restroom in general. I don't really get any of it that way. My biggest ideas come while I'm working on other ideas. Sometimes that in itself is a problem.
We all tend to over complicate ourselves with tasks. Many people try and get around this by claiming to be a “multi-tasker”. While computers and smartphones are excellent examples of multitasking, humans are absolutely incapable of it. If you see a job description that has the phrase of multitasking required, run! What they are really saying is there are so many tasks that you're going to be stuck juggling tasks throughout your entire career with them. What it means is, that company has no idea how to delegate responsibilities. They don't know a thing about process management or workflow. Sometimes you even need to know a little bit about the human psyche when you run a successful business. And if you yourself know just a little bit about those things, you'll clearly understand that the phrase multitasking is just a line of bullshit that corporate America has tried to feed you to get you to work harder. After all if a company just piles the tasks on you, you always feel like you are behind. you'll always feel like you aren't cutting it in your position because you're always swimming in overdue tasks.
There's a system that I learned about around a year ago called “Getting Things Done” by David Allen. I learned about this from Adam Curry's significant other, Micky Hoogendijk. I use an app on my iPAD called Pocket Informant HD. It lets you categorize and sort your tasks. Sort of like you would a blog post or submitting something to a search engine. You determine category, project, context and what it is that you're supposed to do next. Sort of like moving things along in giant Bozo buckets.
As long as you keep moving from bucket number one to bucket number two, all the way to bucket number six, your project will get done, and most likely you'll win that new bike! Well maybe you won't win a bike every time, but as long as you keep completing projects on a consistent basis whether that be business, family, personal or whatever you want.
Now it's great to have a to do list and project system that keeps track of what you're supposed to do. The key though, is actually doing it. Here's a system that I'm hoping to use that was inspired by something I read about Jerry Seinfeld. Jerry always had the philosophy that the way to be a better comic was to create better jokes, and the way to create better jokes was to write every single day. But his method is a little deeper than that. He has a great leverage technique that he uses on himself that you can use as well, even when you don't feel like being motivated. He uses a great big wall calendar that has the whole year on one page and hangs it on a prominent wall. For each day that the task of writing was done, he would take a big red magic marker and draw a giant red X over that day. After a few days of Xs, a chain started to develop. The secret is to just keep at it and have that chain grow longer every day. When you look at your calendar you'll love seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next, is not to break the chain. Don't break the chain.
You can use this technique for anything. work projects, fitness programs, dieting, learning something or even a personal vow to give up something like swearing. It works because it isn't just one day efforts that get us through. As with anything it's the consistency that makes us great. Daily action builds great habits, but remember that skipping one day makes it easier to skip the next. Most health clubs out there rely on this factor to stay in business. Credit cards too!
So if you are like me you're probably four days into the year going, “Holy cow, I need to get some resolutions in order!” Think again my friends. You just need to join me in drawing Xs on a big giant calendar. Let's get some stuff done! Single tasks, long chains and consistency every single day.