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For one of my backer updates, I put together a little video covering my Monday morning routine (including what I eat for breakfast!), and I thought you might enjoy it as well:


I talk about a few habits that are really worth noting:

  • A regular weekly ninja planning session
  • Setting goals and writing them down – and I revisit these a lot, otherwise I lose focus
  • Time blocking to plan my work

If you don’t want to watch the video or you just want to read about my process, I wrote a quick summary. :)

I use a combination of analog and digital.

For example:

  • I use Google calendar to keep track of my appointments. I miss things if I don’t have my my phone to remind me.
  • I’m a big fan of GTD so I use an app to keep track of my to do items as they come up.  It’s like my inbox.
  • I use inbox zero to manage my email.  Although I seldom actually get to have zero messages. But it’s a great way for me to stay on top of all the incoming mail. I also use an app called boomerang to make sure I reply to everything, or other someone else replies in a timely manner.

Each week I do a weekly ninja planning session to start the week.

During this time I review my bigger goals (monthly and yearly) and set my weekly goals. I use this time to plan my first few days of the week with time blocking.  I tend not to plan more than 2-3 days in advance because things always seem to change every few days – so I will do revisit my plans on Wednesday (or during crazy weeks I will plan my days the night before because doing it any sooner won’t help).

I keep my personal and professional work together.

So whether it’s working out or cooking dinner for my family it goes in my notebook. Those are just as important, if not more important than the things I’m doing for work so why shouldn’t they be written down and scheduled like other appointments?

I love time blocking because it reflects how I actually work.

I tried using Google calendar and blocking up to the specific amount of time but this didn’t work well because task never took the exact amount of time I thought that it would.  And sometimes I just wouldn’t feel like working on it.

I think that’s one of the interesting things about being a knowledge worker that is different than other professions your work requires you to be creative. And because of that sometimes you may not feel like it, and other times you may just rock it. This is why we chose the morning, noon and night layout for the planner instead of a traditional calendar layout.  It just better reflects the way more people work.

If I don’t get some things done during the time that I plan to do it, I just draw a line through it and write it later in the week or add it to my next weeks list of to do items.

Each Monday after my ninja planning session I talk with Kate, my cofounder, where we pow-wow on what is important and make sure our priorities and goals are aligned.

These strategies work for me because they are realistic and flexible. By tracking my time week-by-week and day-by-day, I am able to set realistic goals and re-assess my priorities as things change (which they always do). Tracking everything in my notebook helps me visualize as much information at once as possible so I can make smart choices.

I hope you enjoyed this little look into my life and how I get things done, and if you have thoughts, comments, or just want to say hello – be sure to leave a comment!

Tags: productivity, spark notebook,

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