Tim Ferriss, a well-known entrepreneur and the author of “The 4-Hour Workweek,” says some people think he’s got his life all figured out because he’s always sharing good advice.
But he insists that he’s got plenty of bad habits, too, including continually hitting his alarm’s snooze button because he’s afraid of facing the day.
Ferriss has, however, found a better way to start your day. He explains it in a new podcast, “Productivity Tricks for the Neurotic, Manic-Depressive, and Crazy (Like Me).”
The solution is a simple productivity hack:
Before starting your day, get a piece of paper and write down three to five things that are causing you the most stress. “They’re often things that have been punted from one day’s to-do list to the next, to the next, to the next, and so on,” Ferriss says. He likes using a Post-It note because it forces him to keep things short and sweet.
Then go through each point and ask these two questions: “If this were the only thing I accomplished today, would I be satisfied with my day?” and “Will moving this forward make all the other to-do’s unimportant or easier to knock off later?”
Now look over only the items for which you answered “Yes” to at least one of the questions.
Pick one of them, and set aside two to three hours at some point in the day to complete this task. Ferriss stresses the importance of choosing just one task to ensure it gets done. That’s it.
Ferriss says this method of prioritizing the biggest challenges in your life could be the antidote to self-sabotaging habits like procrastinating or over-scheduling your day.
“If I have 10 important things to do in a day, it’s 100% certain nothing important will get done that day,” he says. “On the other hand, I can usually handle one must-do item and block out my lesser behaviours for two to three hours a day.”