First, some updates:  


1.  I want to start posting more consistently.  I'm really good at slacking off, and then writing posts like 5 days in a row, and then slacking off again.  I am going to aim for posts on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  I might occasionally throw in a few more, but I want to at least have that consistency.  And I'm declaring it here so that you all can start yelling at me when I don't post :)


2.  Today is the first day of our lease!!  I'm writing this post Thursday afternoon (since we aren't going to have internet until next Tuesday- boo!) but the plan is to move some of our stuff in tonight and start living here!  Saturday we'll rent a U-haul and get our stuff out of storage and into the new apartment.  Huzzah!  Once everything is kinda set up, I'll make a video so you can see the place.  I looooove it :)


3.  Happy post-Halloween!  Did you go out last night?  I guess I should follow up on our costume dilemma, huh?  Welp, for the party we went to last weekend, we ended up not doing any of the ideas on that list.  Ha!  Mike found a bin of halloween costumes in his parents' basement so we dug through that.  I found some devil horns and a pin-on tail so I went as a devil!  And Mike dug out his old hockey stuff and dressed as a hockey player.


devil costume



4.  Rochester in the fall is the prettiest.  Example below.

Fall trees Rochester

Alright.  On to the point of this post.


Last week I got an email from Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income (I'm on his email list, you should be too!) and he made an interesting statement:  that to-do lists aren't all they're cracked up to be.  This grabbed my attention because I love making lists.  I love the feeling of crossing things off and seeing how productive I was that day!  But lately, they haven't been working for me.



Why do I need a list?

These past few weeks that I've been "unemployed" have been a little crazy.  I have had a part time or full time job since... ehhh... maybe around age 17?  So for the past 8 years, give or take, I've almost always been working or in school (even during college breaks!).  This is the first time I have every single hour of the day free to do whatever I want.  It's scary and exciting and overwhelming all at once.


My newfound freedom has made me realize that I perform best when my day is structured- I can't wake up in the morning and say "hmmm, what should I do today?".  I need to wake up in the morning and have a list that tells me what I need to do.



So what's wrong with a daily to-do list?

Pat makes a valid point:  sometimes your daily to-do list will either overbook or underbook you, or other things will pop up that make you veer off track.  Try as we might, we'll never be able to forecast how many little issues will pop up the next day, and therefore we can't accurately judge what items to put on our to-do lists.


And this is absolutely true for me lately.  I've made epic to-do lists every morning and haven't gotten a majority of it done.  Looking at the unfinished list at the end of the day just made me sad.


But just in the nick of time, Pat sent the email and suggested a better way:  the project to-do list.



The project to-do list

He recommends that you make a to-do list for all of your "projects".  For me, my big projects right now include: working on this blog, creating a free e-book that I'll use to encourage email subscribers, and trying out some business ideas that are rattling around in my head.


Pat suggests that you make each list by starting at the end of the list with your desired outcome.  For example:  the desired outcome of my e-book project would be "post to blog".  Then work backwards from the final outcome and put in all the steps that you need to accomplish along the way to get to that outcome!



Will it work?

Once I get settled, I'm going to make these lists and display them prominently.  When I wake up in the morning, I can decide what project I'd like to work on and start tackling some of the steps.  If I know I only have a certain time block, I can choose to work on a project with some shorter tasks to make sure I'm maximizing my time.  I'll let you know how the project to-do list goes once I start implementing it!


Note:  Pat also linked to one of his podcasts regarding productivity:  I listened to it yesterday and it was AWESOME.  It totally inspired me to be more productive and gave some awesome tips and tricks to try out.  Give it a listen and let me know if you're going to try out any of his ideas!



So... how do you stay productive?  Do you have any awesome productivity hacks?  Do you think the project to-do list could work for you, too?