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 Get things done in 2017 (or any year)

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Sailor Venus
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PostSubject: Get things done in 2017 (or any year)   7th December 2016, 4:53 pm

Getting things done in 2017 - or any year -
without  biting your nails or pulling out your hair.


We're on the last month of the year and I've been wanting to do something like this since summer but decided to wait. This is going to be a VERY long post, with a lot of information that I've gathered, so relax, maybe grab a snack and enjoy the reading.

So a little back story, I  LOVE using agendas, since I was in high school, and also loved decorating it with markers and colors, but that faded down when I started college and at some point I stopped using agendas. When I started working on my previous job I started using notepads to keep track of my daily to do's but at some point I was getting more and more responsibility and keeping up with it was starting to affect me, so a colleague introduced to me to a web app and "it changed my life" I started to feel less overwhelmed, I finished all my tasks on time (well, 80% of my tasks) and at some point I had some spare time to finish other things to do's and help around. Since that day I've decided that getting things done and keeping up with to do's was something I need to keep up to if I wanted to feel less anxious.

So I ask you these questions:
1. Do you have long lists of to do's and can't even complete 50% of them?
2. Feel overwhelmed because you can't find a way to get things done?
3. Do you feel lost every day figuring out how to keep up with your tasks?

Don't worry! There's a solution and believe me it all starts with a notepad and a pen =)

So, where do I even start?

Habits. It all starts creating an habit and scientifically speaking, It takes 66 days for you to do that habit without thinking it but 21 days to make your body/brain "get used to it". Creating new habits is NOT EASY, but not impossible, everyone has the ability to create new habits, you just have to DO IT and set your mind on it.

Dude, I forget things, even if I want to I keep forgetting to even start!

There's an app for android only - unfortunately - that's called "Fabulous" that app helped me when I was losing track and I was starting to stop writing my daily to do's and what I'm about to explain is the method they use to help you create an habit:

1. Grab a notepad or an old notebook with clear pages and your favorite pen
2. Every day at an specific hour (it has to be the same time everyday) grab your notebook and your pen and for 5 minutes write all the things you have to do that day, or the things that needs to be done and add an empty box next to each task, every task that you complete that day add an x or a check to indicate that it was completed.
3. Do this for at least 10 days straights, even on weekends and even if you don't have to do nothing, just write down "there's nothing to do today" the point is to create the habit.

How did I set up mine?

The app Fabulous let you set up the time for habits, so for my to do's I set it up everyday for 9:00 am, so everyday at 9:00 am I got a notification from the app to write my to do list and the same app had a countdown for 5 minutes and during that time I wrote everything I needed to do. Iphone users you can do this with your regular alarm, just set up a new one, name it "Write to do" and set it up for a specific time.

There will be times that you will forget or don't feel like doing it, and that's fine! Take a 1 day break and continue the next one, always remember your goal!

Is the 10th day,  so I guess that I'll keep doing this.

Yes, continue to do this, you're doing great! But now there's a slight change:
1. Do step 1 and 2 from above.
2. When you finish writing your list of to do's of the day, then take 3 minutes to choose 3 of those tasks that needs to be done ASAP.

With this step you'll learn how to prioritize and if you need some guidance think about this:
1. Does the task have a due date?
2. Does this task will have consequences? (meaning if I don't do this something else will not be done)

Keep up doing this for 21 days to "set" this habit in your brain, continue doing it and there will be a point where you will not need to use the alarm to remind you =).

Ok so my To Do list end up being like 20 things…I'm getting overwhelmed >_>

It could be very intimidating to see the list of to do's but here's something that  you can do and is what I do now and it works wonders to me. Some tasks can be seen as a whole "project" what does this mean? It means that a big task could have several tiny task that needs to be done in order to complete the big "project".

Are you speaking me in Chinese? >.>

Let's have an example, You're a student, you work and you have things to do at home, for school you have 2 exams, for work you have 2 big reports to make and for home you have laundry, and general cleaning….scary right? But if you make all those tasks into tiny tasks you will feel more accomplished and calm doing all of them like this:

School Project name: Exam #1 - due Dec 10th Tasks to score a 100
- Get all my notes
- Read all my notes
- Make a summary of the entire chapter
- Study from page 34 to 50 on dec 1st
-  Study from page 51 to 70 on dec 2nd
- Study from page 71 to 100 on dec 3rd
- Make summary of what I can remember from each group of pages I read
- Study all pages on dec 5th and 6th make a summary of everything I can remember from all pages dec 7th
- Study all pages on dec 8th
- Take a rest on dec 9th
- Score a 100! On dec 10th

Project name: Exam #2 - due nov 25th Tasks to score a 100
- Get all my notes
- Read all my notes
- Make a summary of the entire chapter
- Study from page 34 to 50 on nov 15th
-  Study from page 51 to 70 on nov 16th
- Study from page 71 to 100 on nov 17th
- Make summary of what I can remember from each group of pages I read
- Study all pages on nov 18th to nov 21st make a summary of everything I can remember from all pages nov 22th
- Study all pages on nov 23st
- Take a rest on nov 24th
- Score a 100! On dec 10th

Project name: report #1 - due nov 30th
Tasks to complete on time
- Check if I have all the information to make the report
- Ask Julie about previous reports (guide)
- Start working on the report
- Stay 30 minutes more on nov 25th to advance on the report (not gonna be able to work on it that day because of office party)
- Make sure to have 80% done by nov 27th (stay late if necessary)

Project name: home
Task
- Buy laundry detergent
- Vacuum carpet
- Clean bathroom
- Do laundry

Believe it or not, doing something like this will make you feel less overwhelmed and if you set up specific time for each task make sure to use the Pomodoro technique.

The what?

The Pomodoro technique is a method where you complete a task in 25 minutes and then take a 5 minute break repeating this until your task is finished. Using this method will make you "relax" in case your task takes a lot of concentration and energy.

There's apps on both iPhone and Android for this technique, in fact there's an app that I use called "Forest" (Thanks to Sailor Jupiter for letting me know about this app) that is for both OS and even for PC featuring this technique in a very particular and fun way.

I just notice that I keep skipping a certain task >_> not sure how to deal with it.

Sometimes there's a task that we don't know very much how to prioritize, maybe is time to learn a little bit about GTD.

And what's GTD?

Getting Things Done, the tittle of the book by David Allen that has been used for quite some time and is a method that a lot of people use, to understand better the principles of this method, here are some links to download (not created by me)

5 Steps for GTD by Boho Berry | GTD Workflow

David Allen explains in his book that in order to be productive you need 5 steps that are described in the links above, it sure is helpful to mix up in order to get things done.

So I became the "pokemon master" of organization but…I want a little bit more…like something to make me want to continue doing this.

Well lucky for you, you can choose to keep an analog system or switch to digital. Personally I'm back to analog system with the exception of google calendar, specifically using the system Bullet Journal. If you want to use digital only here are some options that I've used and liked:

-Aasana
-Todoist
-Trello
-Evernote
-Any.do
-Keep (from google)
-Wunderlist
-Google calendar
-OneNote

If you want to use analog, well there's a LOT of planners out there, from expensive brands to cheap ones, each of them gives you options of layouts and spreads here are some brands:

-Erin Condren
-Passion planner
-Happy Planner
-Kate Spade
-Filofax
-Kikki K
+ more (couldn't remember more)

You could also try the system that has changed people's lives (not kidding) the one and only Bullet Journal. This is the cheapest analog system because you only need: a notebook, a pen and a ruler with that you could use it as the creator
 Ryder Carroll first introduced the system or you could try one of the few layouts that have been created by Bullet Journalist out there. Is very flexible because you can adjust it to your current needs.

What if I get lost in my way, who can help me? ;^;

Here on GC we have "The GC Planners"club, make sure to join us and we'll guide you on this new journey you're making and feel free to ask questions if you have them.

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PostSubject: Re: Get things done in 2017 (or any year)   27th December 2016, 1:05 pm

I work from home and one of the hardest things is that I am my own boss. There's no one to make me feel that I need to work except for me. The thing that REALLY keeps me on track and working is the Pomodoro technique Venus talks about above, I definitely recommend it! I use this timer and "pin" the tab in Google Chrome. It works great for me!

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Last edited by Sailor Jinglebell on 27th December 2016, 3:53 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Get things done in 2017 (or any year)   27th December 2016, 1:56 pm

Thanks for the post, Venus! I think I'll start doing this next year. I'm not super disorganized, but I could always use a little bit more in my life.

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PostSubject: Re: Get things done in 2017 (or any year)   27th December 2016, 3:12 pm

I use to use a lot of those techniques when I was in university to get my projects and essays done xD I always finished the night before with just the last minute stuff like one last look over for spelling. You can use those same techniques with work if you have big projects you need to complete. 

Awesome post Venus!
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PostSubject: Re: Get things done in 2017 (or any year)   27th December 2016, 9:28 pm

I want to visit my friend in Virginia and go to KCON with another friend in the summer.

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PostSubject: Re: Get things done in 2017 (or any year)   28th December 2016, 9:06 pm

So glad this could help someone <3 makes me so happy!!! =D and thanks for sharing that new resource Jups =D

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PostSubject: Re: Get things done in 2017 (or any year)   29th December 2016, 3:51 am

Lol, I want to become the Pokemon Master of organization, too.

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PostSubject: Re: Get things done in 2017 (or any year)   4th January 2017, 1:04 pm

I read a really interesting book on procrastination recently, and one of the tidbits from that book got me thinking about accomplishments. There was a section discussing the misconception that to work on a task, you need to be "in the mood" to do the task. Most people put off things they knew they want to or need to do because they "don't feel like it". The book mentioned that you are better served by training yourself to do the things you "don't feel like" just because they need to be done. Oftentimes we are incorrect in our assessment of how much we will dislike or struggle through a task at a hand—frequently, it's less arduous or disliked once it is in progress.

I've been trying to put this in practice and do the things I "don't feel like" doing when I know I could do them.

It's really hard, but the benefits from it have been worth it for me.

(For example, I might think, "I'll wash those dishes when I feel like it," and then remind myself, "I probably won't want to do this later, either. I can do them now, so I will." Or "Calling that doctor's office sounds like a huuuuuge drag. I'll do it later," becomes, "Wait, will they even be open later? I should try to call now." This is separate from limitations because I don't have the right information/etc.—but sometimes even on that note I wind up being wrong, and I need to try to thing to find out what I'm missing.)

Solving the Procrastination Puzzle: A Concise Guide to Strategies for Change by Timothy A. Pychyl
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PostSubject: Re: Get things done in 2017 (or any year)   4th January 2017, 1:49 pm

^Yep, that's right. In the words of a famous video, sometimes, you need to JUST DO IT.
Seriously, you have to muster the willpower to get things done yourself. And once you get into things, oftentimes it's harder to back out once you get going.

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PostSubject: Re: Get things done in 2017 (or any year)   4th January 2017, 3:39 pm

@Sailor Mercury wrote:
I read a really interesting book on procrastination recently, and one of the tidbits from that book got me thinking about accomplishments. There was a section discussing the misconception that to work on a task, you need to be "in the mood" to do the task. Most people put off things they knew they want to or need to do because they "don't feel like it". The book mentioned that you are better served by training yourself to do the things you "don't feel like" just because they need to be done. Oftentimes we are incorrect in our assessment of how much we will dislike or struggle through a task at a hand—frequently, it's less arduous or disliked once it is in progress.

I've been trying to put this in practice and do the things I "don't feel like" doing when I know I could do them.

It's really hard, but the benefits from it have been worth it for me.

(For example, I might think, "I'll wash those dishes when I feel like it," and then remind myself, "I probably won't want to do this later, either. I can do them now, so I will." Or "Calling that doctor's office sounds like a huuuuuge drag. I'll do it later," becomes, "Wait, will they even be open later? I should try to call now." This is separate from limitations because I don't have the right information/etc.—but sometimes even on that note I wind up being wrong, and I need to try to thing to find out what I'm missing.)

Solving the Procrastination Puzzle: A Concise Guide to Strategies for Change by Timothy A. Pychyl
^ SO MUCH THIS! One of my strategies this year is, if possible, doing the task I want to do the least first in the day. It's unbelievable how good you feel the rest of the day when you don't have that awful, annoying task hanging over you that you constantly think about and have negative feelings for. It really has made my day more positive. Rather than thinking "Oh, I have to do the laundry later, augh!" four times in a day before completing it, my thoughts shift to, "I'm so glad I did that laundry and it's done now! Awesome!" I honestly feel so free for the rest of the day. Funny how much of a difference a little change can make, really. Of course, you can't always do this, like grocery shopping at 6 am wouldn't be realistic for most people, or making phone calls usually has to wait until later in the day, but applying it where possible feels so good.

I remember reading once about how much energy you waste thinking of a task, not completing it, and then thinking about it again and again during the day. That really stuck with me and has made me one of those "do it now" kind of people.

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