Time management: tailor made your to-do list

Time management is critical on GTD that is very common topics, here are some advises from my favorite bloggers. And I’ve personally implement all these traits to see how they helped me with.

Scott Young: Weekly/Daily Goal

Create to-do list on weekly & daily basis, and review every week to make sure tasks to be finished;

It greatly helps on keep checking the daily progress on what we planned (from weekly plan), but I often overestimate myself and unable to finish all to-dos daily. I had too many things wanted to do but too little time available!

Leo Babauta: Zen to Done (ZTD)

Set 3 MITs (Most Important Tasks) everyday, keep it simple in order to focus on what important rather than overloading.

It sounded so great too make me focus on the important tasks, but my life is very routine, my MITs would normally the same at everyday. So, identifying the importance (or essentials) seemed not to be necessary. Thus the ZTD is less functionality on my case.

Cal Newport: Five Minutes a Day

By reading the “How to Become a Straight-A Student” by Cal Newport, it recommended more than a to-do list to manage the daily tasks. In his book, he interviewed many straight-A students in order to find out the secrets of effective studying, it was interesting that many students created daily to-do list but end up failure, they struggled and swamped with to-dos.

For example, they put 10 to-dos in a day but actually could only accomplished 3 items, they usually overestimated themselves. On the other hand, all straight-A students created their daily to-do list with time theme.

I personally pretty like this approach, as I used to plan too much tasks  that I couldn’t managed (even that they all similar on every day). So, I’ve decided to implement this trait for a week, it worked fine.

As you read from my previous post, I live with busy schedule, my major available hours for PDev would be 3 hours/day given 4-5 hours for sleeping. It would be quite easy to arrange to-dos for these couples of hours.

However what about the tasks I did whenever I’m available? Such as I read when I’m on the way to office/home if I’m not sleepy. Or I read/blog when I’m not busy at work (don’t tell my boss!).

Also, there is no clear picture on my progress, I miss my weekly plan!

Therefore I combined all three together: Scott Young + Leo Babauta + Cal Newport. Let’s see what happen…

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A quick trait of being motivated

At the beginning of this blog, as usual as my past year, I decided to write down all my plan at the computer, I didn’t even think to print it out (it sounds cool that everything run at e-format).  I’m, still, using jorte apps at  my smartphone for scheduling. It is very convenience as I can keep amending and  updating with Google.

For the Weekly/Daily Plan, I used to write at an Android apps “Doit.im” which was under GTD format and able to syn with my PC at home & office.

However I was not enjoy in using this since it was very rigid that allowed to input text only. I couldn’t use symbols, drawing & tables….a bit boring!

After years and years of goals failure, that I ended up forgot all about my so called “Resolutions”, I started to think how to keep my passion. Thus I would like to create my personal binder file in personal development.

During my searching on personal development, I found some interesting sharing on (all from female, don’t know why): organization. Some of them even shared that they created a binder file on personal growth, I could see how excited when they were introducing their binder file (or sometimes in a notebook/planner format). Then I though “It looks so cute and interesting, why don’t I create one for myself?”.

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Study with Full Time Job: Time Management Disaster

Nowadays, people keep studying after university graduated, we urge to obtain a post-graduate or professional qualification. Many HK people work full time + overtime + studying after work, such as MBA, MSc, ACCA, CPE, CPA….

I personally went through around 6 years in the life of (working + OT + studying), I didn’t think it was tough, especially when I was studying something I interested. I was actually quite enjoyable taking those courses. But I did spend almost all my personal life and time on the part-time studied.

Below, I would like to share my study time disaster….

source: psychologytoday.com

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Making productivity: to-do tasks

I have to admit that last post was a bit boring, I’ve been running several new habits that my time management is a bit confused (time management should be another topic that we will go through). Last post shown how to define and setup goals. But, Goal setting =/= Goal achieving !

There are certainly tons of things we need to do afterward, an action plan is necessary to create that providing the whole picture of the goal achievement. It should contains the tasks, expected completion date, resources required, and target.

Here I’m trying to use myself as an example. Let’s see how I work on for that…

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Interesting arguments: Goal vs No Goal?!

Interesting arguments: Goal or No Goal?!

During the research of goal setting strategy, I recently went over some discussions from Leo Babauta (from zenhabits) “The Best Goal is No Goal”  , Jeff Goins (from Jeff Goins Writer) “You Don’t Need a Plan to Change Your Life” … , they claimed not to set goals in our life for less stress and simplicity. It is an interesting point of views and made me considered about how goals setting might helps me with.

Referring to this point, David Damron (from LifeExcursion) published a post “5 Reasons Leo Babauta is Wrong About Goals (inc. Leo’s Response!)” He argued to the importance of goal in our lives.

I would say we can success without goal setting if we are passionate enough, for those who are self-disciplined and organized person can “burning their passion” and achieved what they wanted. It is not necessary to set up long-term goals, short-term goals, action plan… officially.

However, for some people, just like me, usually need guidelines and 3-rd party assistance to maintain our passion. We are easily getting lost without road-map.

Therefore goal setting is essential for someone like me, and I will keep going on this blog.

Goal Setting

Everybody knows what is goal, it gives us the direction of our life. And there is no point here to discuss why we set goal, since we all do it every new year! Just to ensure : setting right goals and setting goals right!

Dream a big dream, based on each aspect on our last post, let’s think about what you would like to be, to do and to have, in each of different aspects.


In searching around goal setting strategy, there is a popular concept, SMART goal. I never doubt for this concept since it seemed very sufficient and highly recommended by most resources. Basically S.M.A.R.T. stands for 5 criterion:


It is important to ensure your goal should be fitted into all of these. Then you will come up with a list with goal of each aspect and that should be measurable, such as:

Health: loss 20lbs;
Finance: increase 50% of current income;
Study: finish reading a book monthly ….

Note: “Be more healthy” is not a sufficient enough, you will not able to confirm weather you make it or not.

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Is Information Overwhelming You?

Here you are! After we figured out our weaknesses, decide the goals as specific as you can that we would like to accomplished and make sure you are able to achieve.

Note: it is not necessary to improve all of them (Don’t kid yourself, it is not possible!). Just choose which parts you would like to focus and how you get that.

Let’s move it….

This is the most familiar part that we all do it every Jan and give up on Feb.  We might set resolution on losing 20lbs, get A grade in exam, double our income…and we were excited to achieving it. Do you, however, remember what did it turn out to be on Feb (or a week later)? We lost our passion, procrastinated and just dropped it.

(This is the human of nature, we all procrastinated! Regarding to the problems of procrastination, we will talk about it later.)

You are new age person with high technology sense, you might search on goals setting  in order to avoid the pattern (goals set and failed). But it comes up with an ocean of search results, there are just too many instructions on goal setting and achievement.


So, how would you going to due with this?

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7 Aspects to Think About Before Making Changes

Are you happy for your life? Think about what you achieved, do you feel dissatisfaction? Do you really need changes?  Of course you do, we are all imperfect! There are certainly rooms for improvement.

So, are we going to write down our goals or resolutions? NO! How can you plan without planning? (it sounds a bit complicated)

Self evaluation 

Before starting any project, it is necessary to get the whole picture on the current status: a background check.

The question is: how to evaluate yourself? What are you suppose to focus on? (You know, it may take years to review your life)

There are 7 aspects I come up with that you should look into, some suggested questions are provided under each aspect for assistance. Please answer all questions (and try to make up your own) to figure out your weakness. Remember: be honest to yourself.


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