Tag Archives: gtd


Build a Habit Streak With Productive

graffiti of habit

Jerry Seinfeld has a well-known piece of productivity advice known as “don’t break the chain.” The idea is simple: you visibly mark on a calendar every day you perform some task–write a good joke, work on squats, write toward an article, learn TEI, whatever–and make sure you do it for several consecutive days. Then, you rely on the power of momentum: just don’t break the chain of days. Keep the streak going, and you will build a habit of prioritizing what’s really important–such as your academi…


3 Ways to Makeover Your To-Do List


When you look at your to-do list for the day, week, or month (or lists of projects and actions if you follow David Allen’s GTD distinction), do you feel a sense of clarity and direction? Or do you feel confused, overwhelmed, or frustrated?

If you feel overwhelmed, it may not just be the quantity of the work you plan to do. It may also be due to a lack of clarity about the work you plan to do.

Taking a little time to clean up your to-do list with one or more of the following steps can offer huge…


Prioritize your Activities by Gain and Pain

cover of Decide

Most ProfHacker readers have more things they would like to do, and more things they need to do, than they have time for in a given day. Prioritizing to-do items (or projects and next actions, if you follow David Allen’s Getting Things Done methodology) is one of the areas that causes academics and other professionals the most stress.

Many popular ways of sorting and prioritizing your action items for the day, week, or month, involve assigning some kind of importance label to them (A, B, C) and…


Back to (GTD) Basics: The Two-Minute Rule

two yellow birds

When you’re deciding what needs to be done next on a project, or in response to an email, or about that flashing light on your car’s dashboard, how do you decide if it’s something to do right away or something to put on your list for later? Do you have a bunch of emails sitting your inbox that you keep meaning to respond to but you haven’t managed to get around to them yet? The two-minute rule might help.

In Getting Things Done, David Allen’s now-classic productivity guide, he offered the “two-…


How Do Your Tools Help You Move Forward?

unicorn The itch to try out a new shiny app or workflow method is perhaps something of an occupational hazard for ProfHackers and others drawn to productivity improvements and lifehacking. After all, we try things out so that we can tell you whether they are worth your time. And some experimentation is a good thing.

But if something is working for you, then don’t feel like you have to change it. I’ve seen too many people think they ought to make their workflow completely digital, or go all-Google or no…


Using Todoist for Task Management

There are a lot of options available for online task management. Here at ProfHacker, we have reviewed several, including Remember the Milk, Things, and GQueues. All have their pros and cons, and are worth taking a look at.

Todoist is another option. If it doesn’t sound completely new, it is because it is not. Todoist was originally started in January 2007, but in the summer of 2012 it underwent a relaunch after being rebuilt in HTML5. The result is a very well-built task system that doesn’t suff…


Getting Back to Getting Things Done

I read David Allen’s Getting Things Done five or six years ago, and it has more or less shaped the way I organize my work since then. I say more or less, because the elaborate system of projects, next actions, someday/maybe lists, and processing that makes up GTD is easy to slip away from. That’s probably for the best, since undue obsession with planning your work can take away from actually doing the work. I’ve noticed that I go through long cycles, at the end of which I return to organizing my…


Lists and the Disoriented Learner

Simplicity and Bamboo Forests

This semester, our 9yo is taking an intro-level language course at our campus.* Setting aside his excitement about getting to continue a language that had been discontinued in his school district, it’s been entertaining to watch him figure out the norms of college, and to try to leverage them to his advantage: “I think I need a phone, Dad. Before class, college kids mostly check out their phones.”**

I mention this experience only because watching him work this semester has reminded me of a post…


How to Defer an Action (GTD)

One of the central principles in David Allen’s Getting Things Done methodology is that you use your inbox (whether physical or digital) only as a collection bucket. Things (whether papers, mail, magazines, objects, emails, bits of information, file attachments, etc ) flow into your inbox where they need to be processed. Once processed, they move out of the inbox. (If practiced assiduously, this can lead to Inbox Zero, a blissful state now legendary among productivity enthusiasts).

Processing you…


Productivity Roundtable: Gradhacker Podcast 6

Cat perched on radio

[This week, GradHacker and ProfHacker writers are collaborating on a series of posts about productivity apps and systems. The 8am post every day is part of this collaboration. Today's post is reprinted from Gradhacker.--@jbj]

To cap off our crossover week with ProfGradhacker, Alex sat down with this week’s contributors for an insightful conversation about their approach to maintaining a productive schedule. Building on this week’s posts, Alex reviews the authors’ suggestions for improved …