My productivity system consists of doing only two things a day. These two things lead to accomplishing dozens of things every day.
I only do two things a day.
“Two things a day? You’ve got to be kidding,” you might say. It’s true, and it’s because of having a system. I check the Tickler File. I work my task list. That’s it.
Everything is in one of those two places.
This old business tool consists of 31 folders labeled with the numbers 1 through 31. Each folder represents a day of the current month. Behind the set are 12 more folders, each labeled with a month of the year.
The idea is simple. When paperwork comes your way that you need at some future point in time, ask the question, “When do I want to see this again?” Put it in the appropriate folder and forget about it. For anything you need to see within the next 31 days, you’ve got a numbered folder for it. For anything more than a month out, drop it in the folder for that month.
Each morning (or the evening before), pull the folder for the day. In that folder is every piece of paper that at some time in the past you made the decision you wanted to see today. Put the papers in order according to what you want to work on first, second, third, etc., and get to work.
The Task List
Have you heard the suggestion that you should make out a “to-do” list every day? I haven’t written one in decades. Mine is already made.
When something occurs to you that needs to be done, decide on a date you want to see the task and put it in your system. At one point in my life, that routine meant flipping open my paper planner to a specific page and writing the task on the page for that day. Now, it’s creating a new task on my digital task list and assigning a due date.
When I start to work the next morning, my task list is already made. On that list is every task that at some time in the past I made the decision I wanted to see today. Anything from yesterday’s list that did not get done automatically stays on the list for today.
Physical and Digital
Our work shows up in one of two forms: through things physical and through things digital. The Tickler File handles everything physical. The task list handles anything digital. Nothing slips through the cracks.
Want an idea of what might be in my Tickler File on any given day? This post gives you an idea.
Want more on how I use a digital talk list? This post goes into detail.
All in One Place or “All Over the Place”
You can’t do your work if you can’t find your work. And it’s hard to find your work when it’s scattered all over the place. When it’s all in one place, you can see all your choices. When you can see all your choices, you make better choices.
Life is too short and time too precious to waste one more day. If you are someone who stumbled upon this site for the first time, let me help you take a major step forward right now. When you join my email list, I’ll give you two free gifts. The first will get your desk clean. The second will put everything you have to do in one place. Plus, each week you’ll hear from me with nuts & bolts tools and strategies to make life easier and more productive. You’re one click away from making it happen.