10P 10: How To GSD (Get Shit Done) On Your To-Do List!

T0P 10:
 
How To GSD (Get Shit Done) On Your To-Do List!
 
written by Cameron Brtnik
 
It’s Monday…
 
    You’ve got a million things to get done and already you’re falling behind… So you write a To Do List: buy milk, drop off clothes at dry cleaners, send meeting syllabus, pickup package at post office, take phone to get fixed, call mother back, watch ep 4 of House of Cards… Sound familiar? We live in an overwhelming world of constant upgrading technology, perpetual updating, and a ceaseless barrage of text messages on top of our already lengthy to-do lists of more trivial tasks. How to cope with it all? Through research, trying out various proven methods and a good deal of trial and error, I’ve come up with my own techniques on being productive and discovered some invaluable insights. Without further ado-list (sorry), here’s my Top 10 List of “How To Get Shit Done On Your To Do List” or the easy to memorize acronym “HTGSDOYTDL!” Just do it.
 
 
Now let’s Get Shit Done on your to-do list!

1. Make a To-Do List (duh!) – Scrap your notebook and use the Evernote app. It’s full of fantastic features to help get your To Do Lists, and your life, in order. In fact, I’m using it right now!

2. Take Action – Add a NA or Next Action next to each task on your To Do List. It’s much easier, and more realistic to get shit on your list done in “chunks.” This simple tweak will do wonders. Some examples:

  • Next to “Call mother” add “Call mother – NA [ ] Call Tuesday 9 a.m.”
  • Instead of “Work on Novel” add “Work on Novel – NA [ ] write one paragraph”

3. Check It Out – Use box bullet points [x] to check off what you’ve completed, track what you’ve already done, and to feel a sense of accomplishment (yes, this reason is just as important!). Take a moment to look at what you’ve accomplished and to feel good about it. This will help build your momentum as you move on to the next task.

4. Reword It – If it’s been forever since you’ve checked something off your never-ending To Do List, try rewording it just slightly. For example: “Surprise hubby with dinner,” might become, “Surprise hubby with coffee,” or, “Finish chapter one of book,” could become, “Write one paragraph of first chapter.” This subconsciously lifts any stress or pressure it puts on you, and you may even end up cooking your honey dinner or typing out that chapter after all.

5. Sense of Urgent See – If, days later, you still haven’t checked that pesky task off your listicle, move it into an “Urgent” or “Super To-do List” reserved for only the things you need to complete ASAP. Everything else gets put off until you complete these tasks – or you may simply need to free up more time in your strenuous schedule.

6. Two Minute Man – Abide by the the old mantra: “If it can be done in two minutes, then do it now.” Now get off your ass and make your bed! Or mow the lawn really fast.

7. White Bored – If you still prefer to physically write things down (ok boomer!), use a large whiteboard so your tasks also become large, oversized even! Keep your whiteboard on full display so it’s visible at all times – from the moment you wake up to the time you go to bed – and feel the pangs of guilt when you notice you didn’t check off: “Do one nice thing for a coworker today.”

8. KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid!) – Keep only 5 to 6 things on your daily To Do List. This will make it much easier, and more realistic, to Get Shit Done! You can change these tasks up daily, but try to only change one at a time. This will help you build a routine by keeping your daily habits strict and regimented.(Like eating that block of cheese before going to bed. That’s why you’re having such vivid dreams!)

9. Account On Me – Have an “Accountability Partner” – Someone who will make sure you stay on track and follow through on whatever you set out to do. I recommend a daily check-in call that will help motivate you and create momentum for your day. It will also help put the pressure on; this friendly fellow will hold you to it that you’re going to finish reorganizing your desk…or else.

10. Don’t Make To-Do Lists – Huh, doesn’t that make this entire listicle redundant? Well, once you get into a daily habit – this may take days, weeks, or even months – it will become innate, a part of you, so that you won’t have to think about To Do Lists or getting shit done anymore. You’ll just do them.

PS. If you’ve written “make to do list” on your To Do List, I apologize for taking up your precious time and just accept that that pigsty of yours you call a room will never get cleaned.
 
 
Want more ways to Get Shit Done on your to-do list? Read PART 2 here: https://cambrtnik.wordpress.com/2021/03/06/10p-10-how-to-gsd-get-shit-done-to-do-list-part-2/

***To my readers: If you have any advice for how you “Get Shit Done,” please leave a comment below or email me at cbrtnik@gmail.com and I’ll feature it the next Top Ten segment!***

Cameron is a freelance writer based in Toronto and devout practitioner of “Getting Shit Done” cbrtnik.com

10P 10: GSD or How To Get Shit Done!

mock up of empty picture frame on the desk
T0P 10: GSD or How To Get Shit Done!
written by Cameron Brtnik
    OPD or Obsessive Procrastination Disorder has caused a slowing down of my life, and even a reversal at times. I feel so behind that forward is somehow backwards; it’s like I can never get ahead. I worry that I’ll never achieve anything in the future because I’m constantly living in the past, stuck in place like a snail’s race, a car in a traffic jam, an insignificant particle traveling through space and time… (okay I have no idea where I was going with that metaphor). Common sense says: “Always put the most important tasks at the the beginning of your to-do list.” I’ve also heard the opposite: “Do the easiest tasks first so you feel a sense of accomplishment.” But which is the right answer? Unfortunately like most conundrums, there is no magic bullet. Don’t fret – I’ve compiled a list of “tried and true guidelines” that will help you, too, to finally Get Shit Done!
Rules that have helped me Get Shit Done –

1 – The Two Minute Rule – Whatever can be done in two minutes, do it right away! This has helped me Get Shit Done more than any other technique on this list, so if you take anything away, it’s this. I get the thing done right away and feel good about my “mini achievement.” And most importantly, have not added to the pile of “things to do” like a perpetual game of Jenga.

2 – Hold Yourself Accountable – Find an Accountability Buddy – someone who will hold you accountable if you don’t finish the task on time. This “motivational coach” basically acts as a boss who expects the job done by an agreed upon deadline. They may even help you complete your task, which is okay – there’s no rulebook to completing something, only that you get it done!

3 – FOLD (Fear Of Letting someone Down) – Similar to having an Accountability Buddy, if you committed to completing a project for someone, especially a friend or colleague, FOLD or “the Fear Of Letting Someone Down” forces you to complete that task. But don’t take on more than you know you can handle as that can have counterproductive effects.

4 – Under Pressure: Positive Procrastination – The old “leave it to the last day” pressure tactic has worked miracles for me. Back in high school, I often left assignments till the morning of. But come the “day of reckoning,” I forced myself to get up early, crack down, and whip out some of my best work. *Note: I don’t recommend using this one too much as it can physically and mentally burn you out.

5 – Double-Down – Are you willing to put money on that? If there is a sum of money riding on the outcome, this is often a strong motivator in completing a task by the due date. Think about a game of Poker: how motivated are you when you’re not playing for money? Do you care if you win or lose? Now put five bucks on the game and see if you don’t care. Now raise a hundred.

6 – Check Please – Write the tasks on your To-do Lists next to a checkbox (I recommend using the Evernote app as it has great features and your notes save in the cloud…whatever that is). As you go through your list and check that shit off, it feels good. And at the end of the day, you can lay back and stare at all those checked boxes and bask in the glory of success.

7 – Copy & Paste – When you’re cringing at the thought of checking your email, here’s a psychological rouse I created that’s helped me: Copy and paste messages into another app like Word or Evernote, read and write your reply in the app, then copy and paste it back into your email. This seemingly pointless work-around has helped me get over what I call WAS or “Work Avoidance Syndrome.” Psychologically, like doing work at a cafe, it can make menial tasks easier to complete. Try it and see if it works for you!* (*or your money back guaranteed! Now please send me money.)

8 – Set A Schedule – Set up a recurrent schedule to force you to Get Shit Done! For example, if you want to send out an email every month, make a phone call once a week or a text once a day, setting up an “auto-schedule” gets rid of the all the stress. Think of your favourite Youtuber or podcaster. They post content monthly, weekly or even daily or risk losing their fanbase (not to mention their sponsors). I find it inspiring to listen to a comedian like Bill Burr who posts his podcast not once, but twice a week! And he’s a self-proclaimed lazy buffoon. Now do you feel lazy?

9 – Chill Out – Listen to a “chillout playlist” on your headphones or in the background while working. This will calm and relax you, and put you in the right headspace to focus on your work. I recommend throwing on some Lofi Chill or any “study playlist” on Spotify.

10 – Celebrate the Good Times – The relief you feel when you finally finish that long-lingering project will be like getting a monkey off your back. You’ll feel free from the self-imposed oppression and guilt of not getting shit done, which means it’s time to celebrate with a (insert favourite drink here), lay back and marvel at how smart you are. Now go out there and Get Shit Done!

***If you have any advice for how you “Get Shit Done” please leave a comment below or email me at cbrtnik@gmail.com and I’ll feature it my next Top Ten segment!
Cameron is a freelance writer based in Toronto, and practitioner of Getting Shit Done cbrtnik.com