I have been searching for short cuts for quite sometimes.
As a result of it, I have found some really interesting productivity systems – but it was not enough. I needed a smaller package which offers straight forward, no bs results.
Introducing you my personal collection of one page productivity planners.
- 6 Boxes To-do List: Peter Bregman, management consutant and coach, is the guy who put the word ‘right’ in getting the right-things done. Apparently his one-page 6 boxes to-do list has a lot of meat. It is basically this – a page with 6 boxes and each box represents areas of focus. Write your annual focus (not goals) on top of each box and write your day’s todos under it. That’s all. The 6th box (Other – 5%) is where you put anything that doesn’t fit in your annual focus and the 5% denotes that you should be spending not more than 5% of your day’s time on it. Makes sense!
- 1-Page Productivity Planner: Google ‘productivity planner’ and one of the first things that show up is this Sheldon-like funny looking productivity guru Mr.Brendon Burchard. Later I learnt that Brendon is already a youtube celebrity shaking hands with legends like Brian Tracy. The man is profilic – creating 100s of awesome youtube videos with more 100,000+ views EACH! So it comes at no surprise to try his productivity system – the 1 page productivity planner. It works brilliantly if you are majorly on a manager’s schedule.
- 7 Habits Weekly Planner: Now from the master himself. Dr.Stephen R.Covey is no stranger to tools for personal improvement and self development. I would say his weekly calendar system is one of the most comprehensive planner out there. Though you may have to read his entire book, The 7 Habits, to understand the philosophy, it is definitely worth a shot.
- 1-3-5 List: Idea to collate list of productivity tools came from this article at The Muse. And they recommend this pretty interesting 135 ToDo List. The idea is simple: Decide 1 big thing you want to that day + 3 medium tasks + 5 low tasks. There is a similar system ‘One big thing‘ that writer John Zeratsky has been blogging about. The concept is the same, but he explains it in a different perspective. There are even a couple of apps created based on this idea (135 app, One big thing iPhone app).
- Millionaire Day Planner: Host of Extreme Productivity and best-selling author, Kevin Kruse knows what he is talking about. While I learnt the idea of Most Important Task (MIT) from ZenHabits Leo Baubata, it was Kevin who gave me a Quick-Start-Action-Plan-Workbook (refer page 3) that helped me to execute the idea. The major idea that he stresses is scheduling one’s to-do list on a calendar. Though I am not too excited about this idea of his, I now have developed a routine to allocate first 2 hours of my work day on my MIT/s – which either could be my professional or personal projects. The remaining part of day, I usually circulate around my to-do list to pick and do tasks.
- Daily Get it Done List: This is from Justin Gesso of Victory Coaches that offers some great practical tips through his Victory Coaches’ Daily-Get-it-Done List. His suggestion is to write 10 to-dos, but superceded by writing 3 Big Goals (for one’s life) and 3 Weekly to-dos (for the week). It is a simple idea, but as I realised writing my big goal(s) and weekly to-do(s) intuitively influenced what I put on my to-do list and gave me a major outcome-focused mindset. Try it out for yourself and see how it works.
- Emergent Task Planner: Mr.David Seah is not new to creating printable planner templates, in fact he made his mission to create and experiment with such systems. Emergent Task Planner by David Seah is one of his most advanced and comprehensive planner ever designed. You could see influence of his designer self quite a lot, but nevertheless functional and quite effective.
- Daily Schedule: If you are one of those who like mapping tasks to a daily calendar, then this one’s for you. The design of Daily schedule is straightforward – an amalgamation of a to-do list with daily schedule on the side. You not only schedule events, but also block time for project, tasks, emails, etc. Inspired by Cal Newport, I extensively tried this method but found I either overestimated what I could do in a day by adding too many tasks in a day or in the name of focus I miss doing low key tasks. But if you are on a maker’s schedule or want to move to one, you could try your hands at it.
- The Energy Project’s 90 minute cycle: Relax! You will be More Productive says Tony Schwartz who is the Chief Energy Officer and a brilliant writer. He claims that leveraging the 90+30 minutes cycle (90 minutes work, followed by 30 minutes relax time) he wrote 2 books with half the time and effort, where he would have otherwise written only 1 book. Tall claim! I wish I could do that. Chase Jarvis has created a template out of this for himself. You could try it out.
- Getting Results the Agile Way: J.D.Meier from Microsoft based his Getting Results system on ‘Rule of 3’. While I don’t understand agile or scrum methodologies, this system is understandable even for a layman like me. I suggests creating 3 Weekly Wins, 3 Daily Wins ending the week with 3 Friday Reflections. Here is a template you could use for the same. Well I realised all of us have more than 3 things to do per day, but I guess this system could help you bring clarity in direction by helping you decide your priorities.
- Winning Planner: Bonus! It is not just 11 productivity tools and this from yours truly. But I cheated. It’s not my system. I just combined the best of the systems that worked for me and made a daily planner of my own and I creatively named it as
How to take it forward
I am a pen and paper person, failing at numerous affairs with fancy apps and tools. If you think any of the planners above could help you, download it and take a print out of it. Jesse Gusso from Victory Coaches recommends taking print out every day rather than taking print outs in bulk. It helps you to focus and restricts your temptation to migrate today’s taks to tomorrow.
At the end of the week, do a quick review. Ask yourself
- How did you feel at end of each day of this week?
- How are you feeling now? Accomplished and productive or Drained and stupid?
Reflect upon it for a minute and if you find it worth the effort continue with planner the next week. Or else, trash the system. You still got 9 more left.
So what ya waiting for! Go ahead and have a productive week!!