What I Accomplished This Year

Nah, this isn’t one of those corny posts where I rattle off a list of accomplishments. Earlier in the year I read The Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris and it instantly became my favorite business book ever…not because I agree with everything in it, but because it forces you to ask some very thought provoking questions about work and life.

One little section in particular had a profound impact on my productivity:

Don’t ever arrive at the office or in front of your computer without a clear list of priorities. You’ll just read unassociated email and scramble your brain for the day. Compile your to-do list for tomorrow no later than this evening. I don’t recommend using Outlook or computerized to-do lists because it is possible to add an infinite number of items. I use a standard piece of paper folded three times to about 2″ x 3.5″, which fits perfectly in the pocket and limits you to noting only a few items.

I thought about my complex life of Outlook tasks and iPrioritize to-do lists and decided I was causing paralysis by analysis by over planning and becoming overwhelmed by what needs to be done. So I started my new index card method. Each night I list out the goals for the following day on an index card that I carry with me all day long. I limit goals to only a handful of important work-related goals, and if I accomplish them I know I had a great day.

Maybe more importantly, if I ever question what I accomplished over a particular period I can just pull out my index cards and within seconds I’ll realize that I really did achieve a lot with my time.

3×5 Cards

Happy New Years to everyone! THANK YOU for taking the time to read this blog, and I wish you, your family, and your business a safe and prosperous 2008!

5 comments on What I Accomplished This Year

  1. Adam,

    I use the same method and it has helped me tremendously. I’ve noticed a huge increase in useful productivity.

    The only problem is keeping track of all of the 3×5 cards if I get too many. Then things seem to get last in the pile.

  2. Edward Halim says:

    I do the same thing. Except, instead of using notecards, I use my iphone.

    I opened up the “notes” application and write down and prioritize my daily goals in there. Since the iphone automatically ordered the notes by dates, it’s not hard to pull up older goals. When the application gets too full I email the “notes” to myself.

    I think you can use many other phones the same way. Hope that helps!

    -Ed

  3. […] a year ago I ditched my index card method for daily goals in favor of using my task list.   I’ve always had an electronic task list going back to […]

  4. John says:

    Cool. I usually use an index card for tomorrow’s goals!

  5. […] 2007 I wrote about how I started outlining my daily goals on an index card after reflecting upon the following passage from The Four Hour Workweek by Tim […]

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