Mind & Time management in practise

A tree standing next to the sea

The daily schedule backbone and mentality

  1. Free your mind from thoughts & stuff that eat up your mental resources. If you have an idea, task, thought you want to explore write it down to free up your mind!
  2. The best time to act on something is when it’s already in your mind. So if you just left a meeting, finished a task, had an idea this is the time to plan any next steps needed and be as precise as you can! If you leave that for later, your mind will still need to carry that burden! Plus, there is a big chance you won’t be that precise planning the next action.
  1. Have a single goal per day no matter what, coming from Deep Work and The One Thing as well as many other motivational posts & content out there.
  2. Addition of reminder tasks, that act as mantras and affirmations to recall on a daily basis.
  3. Make each day thematic, e.g. Monday is for Product+Support tasks, Tuesday is for Research, etc. This way it’s easier to plan when to work on each task and address ad-hoc requests to fit your schedule, e.g. “There is a request for a call with our support team, I should schedule that for Monday”

Anatomy of the daily schedule

  • Calendar list, that holds all upcoming tasks that need work
  • Next actions list, that holds all tasks that are related to the current day, meaning “today”.
  • Work done list, that holds all tasks that are completed.
A part of the actual “Next actions” list

Anatomy of a task

An open task, with highlights on a date and tags
  • Date that the task should be worked on, is added first. This way it’s easier to scan in the Calendar list while choosing tasks for today, Next actions list.
  • A task description, of what work needs to be done. Any additional information that can reduce mental effort are included in the description, e.g. links of documents, some bullet points outcomes of a previous task, clearly stating the final goal. Additional highlighting , like bold or capital letters, are used to reduce further the mental effort needed. A text in bold, means “Hey! You should work with me first!”
  • A set of tags, that help in categorizing this task. These tags will be used on a personal retrospection to check how the effort is spread among departments.
A completed task, with highlights on time and bold text
  • Task completion duration, how much work time was needed to complete that task. If the duration of a task derails or takes over a big portion of a day, this is the indicator to check when reviewing completed work.
  • A brief description of work done, sharing what was essentially done while working on that task. This description is important when you need to recall what and when you talked about something. Of course, not all tasks are vital so you can be less or more descriptive depending on the task.
  • Parts of text in bold starting with the word “Need” that represent follow-up tasks that need action. Each sentence starting with “Need” will be added as a new open task. Using the word “Need” acts as an extra no-brainer filter to separate just important remarks from actionable descriptions.

Summary, and why bother with all this?

  • A schedule is there for you! ❤️ There are zero days where you feel lost, wandering what to do, or whether a ball has been dropped at some point.
  • Free mind 🧘‍♂️ Your mind is free to focus on the important stuff. All the minute details are already out of your head; organized and with proper descriptions to assist you.
  • Progress 📈 Completing each task and proceeding with the follow up task is the thing! You get a sense of progress and achievement each day!
  • Control of your time/less anxiety ☀️ By writing down all that needs to be done — vs. having them all as a soup in your mind — you can see the bigger picture. You’re not lost on prioritizing a thousand tasks in your day, you control your time, and you can choose to move for later a task that is not that pressing if more important tasks need your attention.

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Mike Giannakopoulos

Mike Giannakopoulos

Thinker, solver, experiences aficionado. Remotee worker, product Manager for hackthebox.eu. Always strive for self-improvement and balance.