Since I started executing this todo-list system, I’ve been 10x more productive every day. I RARELY get into slips, because this system works around them.
Now, before I get into it, be aware that EVERYONE’S DIFFERENT. What works for me might not work for you, but read through and see if some of this resonates with you.
1. Set your vision
If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll get caught the small tasks every day.
- Set your long-term vision
- What do you want your life to look like? Who are you? What do you do and what do you have?
- Write down your long-term vision in this order, and read it every day. Add in some pictures (example: Your ideal body, your dream car, dream house, etc.). Throw in some quotes and principles you want to live your life by.
- Read it every day. Seriously, every day.
- This is super underrated. We all have some idea of who we want to be, and what we want our life to look like in the future. By NOT doing this, you’ll leave your future self up to chance. Do you really want to take that risk?
- Set 6-12 month goals
- Find out where you want the different areas of your business to be in 6-12 months. Reverse-engineer it, and find out what the major tasks that need to be done are.
- For example:
- Goal: Have a 95% automated affiliate business
- Pinpoint all procedures in the business
- Categorize procedures: eliminate, automate, delegate
- Find someone a VA for low-level stuff
- Find or train a media buyer to take over day-to-day campaigns
You can then break each of these down into smaller tasks. These smaller tasks can then be done on a daily or weekly basis (see how in the next section)
2. Front-load your planning
Don’t plan out your week or your day the day off.
- Weekly Planning
- On Saturdays, Sundays (or Monday mornings at the latest), plan out your week. Look through your 6-12 month visions and pick out a handful of tasks/projects that will move you closer towards that 6-12 month vision.
- Night/Morning Ritual
- One of the keys to getting a consistently efficient start to the day is to make sure your morning goes smoothly. The best way to do this is to make sure everything is prepared the night before.
- My nightly ritual currently consists of:
- Picking out the clothes I’m going to wear the next day and putting in the same spot
- Taking a shower (so I don’t have to do it in the morning)
- Putting my laptop in my bag (or putting in the place at home where I’m going to use it)
- Putting my headphones next to my bed, so they’re ready for my guided morning meditation
- Preparing my to-do list for the next day
- Doing all this the night before doesn’t really require that much effort, and usually doesn’t take more than 10-20 minutes (the shower taking the longest). But it makes my mornings SUPER consistent.
- I get up at the same time every day as well, as that makes my mornings a lot more consistent. Through experimentation, I’ve found that getting varying amounts of sleep and getting up at the same time works better for me than getting consistent amounts of sleep and varying waking times.
3. My Todo-list System
Everything I’ve discussed so far flows into my todo-list system and makes it more effective than it would be without the previous steps.
The to-do list system I use is called Todoist.
I believe they actually have a desktop app, but I only use their web app on my laptop (and their mobile app on my phone). The web app is pinned as the first tab in my browser at all times, so I can easily access it by clicking Ctrl+1.
What I love about Todoist is that it’s SUPER easy to create tasks, tag them, hand them off, etc. There’s a shortcut for anything you need, and it recognizes everything as you’re typing out the task.
Let’s say you want to create a blog post about productivity. It should go under the project “Growth”, it’s priority 2 (you can also prioritize tasks), and you want to do it tomorrow at 9:15.
What you would do is go over to Todoist, click Q (clicking Q is the shortcut for creating a new task) and type:
Create Productivity Post tomorrow 9:15 #Growth P2
Todoist will recognize “tomorrow 9:15” as the time and will make sure that it shows up in your todo-list tomorrow. #Growth will be recognized as the project, and P2 will be the priority. If you’re working with teams, you can also click +Benny if you want Benny to take care of the task.
The reason Todoist works so well for me is:
- I can easily plan ahead and make sure that tasks show up on the right days. For example, if I need to remind myself of following up with a specific person, I can write “Follow up with Laverne 11 Sep”, and this will show up on my todo-list on September 11th. (I’m super forgetful, so this is a lifesaver for me)
- Tasks are much more manageable if I have a rough idea of how long it’s going to take. If all my tasks are one big clutter, it can be hard for me to prioritize and figure out which task to do next (I used to have my todo-list on a piece of paper, and this was a recurring issue)
- When I plan out my tasks for the following day, I estimate how long they’ll take and fill up my day.
- For example:
- 8:00 – Answer messages on Messenger, Gmail, Skype and Slack
- 8:15 – Check on campaigns
- 8:30 – Create a blog post
- 9:30 – Take a dump
- This approach makes everything flow seamlessly, and I don’t have to spend any energy picking the next task, and thinking how long it’ll take. When I’m planning out, I’m making sure that future Lyhras only have actually to DO, and not plan, estimate, etc.
- Recurring tasks are SUPER easy to set up. For example, setting weekly KPI’s for my team is something I do every Monday. Instead of having to write that out every Sunday, I do it once by writing “Set Weekly KPI’s every Monday 8:45”, and Todoist will recognize the date and time stamp and make sure it shows up every Monday at 8:45.
This is in a nutshell how I plan out and structure my day to make sure that I smash my todo-list out of the park every single day.
This is also something my partner and I go through in-depth when we’re helping affiliates move from a tactical (in the weeds) position to a more strategic (vision) position in their business.
You can optimize the systems to no end, but your biggest leverage will come from optimizing the person.