I have posted about Task management my way – pen and paper which gives me the basic tools and a simple system. What I needed in order to achieve my own goals was a philosophy that works for me. I have tried GTD but found it too complex for my needs. Then I came across ‘Zen To Done: The Simple Productivity E-Book!‘ written by Leo Babauta of Zen Habits and that e-book suits me perfect.

Zen To Done takes some of the best aspects of a few popular productivity systems (GTD, Stephen Covey and others) and combines them with the mandate of simplicity. It makes things as simple as possible, and no more.

As simple as possible is what I was looking for. Zen To Done (ZTD) has a focus on doing, here and now, more than on planning or on the system. ZTD focuses on simplifying which is in line with my pen and paper solution.

Zen To Done is a set of ten habits that will help you get organized, simplify your life, get things under control and, last but not least, actually get things done. You can pick those habits out of the ten that will work for you. To really master a new habit, and to make it stick, focus on few (1-3) at a time and work on them for a month.

Each of the ten habits has its own chapter in the e-book, here is just a brief list.

  1. Collect tasks, ideas, projects etc. Write them down and later add them to your to-do lists.
  2. Process your inboxes. I need to work on that.
  3. Plan for a week ahead, focus on MIT (Most Important Tasks) or “Big Rocks”.
  4. Do, one task at a time. Finish them!
  5. Simple trusted system. No complicated system and do not keep on trying out new tools.
  6. Organize, have a place for everything. And put it there right away!
  7. Review your system and goals weekly.
  8. Simplify and eliminate. Reduce your goals and tasks to the essentials.
  9. Routine, set and keep routines.
  10. Find your passion. Seek work for which you are passionate, passion gives energy.

I already worked on habit one, three, four, five and seven before I came across ZTD. And I have touched on habit eight, Turning 2008 into 80-20. Now I have to set those habits which take me about halfways in the ZTD and then start working on the other habits.

If ten new habits sounds far too much there is a minimalist version of ZTD, the first four habits. Set those and you have achieved a lot.

This was originally posted at another (now extinct) blog of mine.