Getting Things – Done

There is probably some sick Welshman, an ancestor of mine long ago that decided Done would be a great family name (not that the word is Welsh mind you). His friends likely point their fingers in a amazed respect at how much he was able to accomplish in a day. Some things transcend the generations and even today 24 hours is a lot to complete the things I do as well. Am I task driven? Yes! Am I goal oriented? Yes. Do I need to refine this – yes.

There are things each of us can do to be more effective, better organized, and not slave away at the grind each day. Chip Camden recently wrote an article Six secrets to productivity and getting tasks completed that summarizes some key steps to being more productive.

1) Make a Daily List – write down what you want to accomplish today. I will one day organize my thoughts about a system I am kicking around called PTT (Plan Tomorrow Today). When you write a list of things before your day starts you might not accomplish them but given a choice you’ll get some of them finished – a step towards increased productivity.

2) Segregate Time to Work on Tasks – multitasking may be temporarily amusing for an onlooker, but studies prove less effective overall. To know the clock is running on each task will help prevent distractions.

3) Focus – this goes both ways. A successful person can compartmentalize their life and intently focus on each box. However, the real key to success is managing those boxes and knowing when to switch off or suspend focus in one area for another.
Be mindful of the 202 error. This is a clever description of the status code generated by a webserver indicating a request has been accepted, but not processed.

4) Take Breaks – this may contradict the focus attribute. It is necessary. Know when to avoid burn out, and use breaks as a celebration or reward. A short break between completed tasks allows your mind to recharge and prepare for new focus. Being mindful of your work patterns will also let you know when a longer break is in order – vacations (non-working ones) will help you recharge your batteries.

5) Take Care of Your Equipment – this may include your tools and gadgets, but more so your primary processor – the brain. You’d be pretty upset if someone abused your laptop or dropped your PDA – treat your mind better. Chemicals and neurotoxins are the electricity for your brain – be mindful (pun intended) of the amount and quantity or deadening agents like caffeine and alcohol you ingest. Equally important is the amount of sleep (quality as much as quantity) and exercise you get. We can all do better here.

6) Follow Through – finish something every day. Given the choice between two projects finish the one nearly complete – even if the other is more fun. I have a million ideas how to do things – in my ripening age I find I probably won’t be able to complete them all. However, at my funeral I want someone to say at least once, “I remember when Paul did….“. This will mean on my time here on Earth I did something. My goal, our goal, is to make that something meaningful and if we are lucky – plentiful.

I have got a lot to live up to if I ever meet my Done ancestor. If you are a Smith, Jones, Sanchez or Johnson maybe you too can get things Done.

Author’s Note: The name Done is of Welsh origin. Although it looks like the English word done meaning to finish or accomplish something it is pronounced with a long ‘O’ as in D-‘oh’-n. Click Here to Listen.

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