My Productivity Habits

I’ve gotten in the habit of writing a “Morning To-Do List” for my future self when he wakes up the next morning, the first item of which is “Wake Up”.  So I immediately turn over and check that off- then I feel compelled to do the next item, so I can check that off too. I got this idea from my friend Yohei, at

I’ve noticed that when I forget to do it, I’m pretty much useless. It’s called being reactionary. I do what I “feel” like doing, even if it’s not what I want myself to do. I can go days without accomplishing a 5-minute act like making an appointment to see if this thing on my arm is (as it most definitely appears to be) cancer. So, non-trivial stuff, but I still primarily don’t do it unless it is on that list.

If something IS on the list, I will almost invariably do it, unless I run out of time. The list comes with a definite end-point at the bottom, usually leaving the house early enough to do some thing I have planned that day.

The trouble is, once I’ve finished the Morning list and left to do whatever the thing is, I’m once again out of control of what I’ll do out there after my plans are over.

Usually, I just come back home and do “whatever I feel like,” which is essentially nothing that adds to my life.

That’s why the list has evolved. It’s gained the ability to reproduce, become more powerful, and create a cycle. I’m impressed with it, myself.

Each Morning To-Do List includes an item, titled “Write Afternoon To-Do List”. And each Afternoon To-Do List contains “Write Tomorrow Morning To-Do List”.

This saves me from one irresponsible evening turning into a wasted day.

I also have a To-Do Buffer, where I put potential future items when I’m in the middle of an existing list, since I don’t add to or remove from a list while I’m working on it, unless I’m breaking down an unclear item into multiple steps.


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