Discover more from Aaron Kardell's Blog
The ONE Thing + Post It Note Prioritization
Hello! I’m Aaron Kardell. In this Sunday newsletter, I pick one random topic weekly to go deep on and have some disparate quick hits at the end.
My list of desired things to accomplish is always much longer than I have time for in a day. I’ve recently found a combination of two techniques that, when applied diligently, leave me feeling more accomplished after a work day or week.
First, Understand What’s Truly Important
I’ve used several frameworks for setting priorities or determining what’s truly important. Ultimately, the framework itself is less important than just ensuring that you can state your top priorities to yourself.
At HomeSpotter, we adopted OKRs (objectives and key results). The book that popularized this method from Intel, Google, and others was Measure What Matters: OKRs: The Simple Idea that Drives 10x Growth, by John Doerr.
An approach I recommend for individuals is Gary Keller’s book The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth About Extraordinary Results. If you’re too busy to read the whole thing, you can read its summary on Four Minute Books.
Or you could go through the Plus, Minus, Next exercise I posted about a few weeks ago.
My point is … if you enter a given day or week with a clear picture of what’s truly important, how you prioritize your tasks is much more straightforward.
Second, Write Out Time Blocked Tasks on Post-It Notes
I have an all-too-long to-do list of tasks I hope to eventually get done in the Apple Reminders app. I periodically pick off ~5-minute tasks and just get them done off my list. It feels good to get some quick hits.
But many of the essential things on my list will take 10, 15, 30, or many more minutes.
I’m now starting workdays reviewing my to-do list and writing out on separate post-it notes the most important tasks I hope to accomplish that day, an estimate in minutes of how long I think it will take, and an approximate time in the day that I think I will do the task. I try to be realistic about what my calendar will allow for completing in the day and avoid writing up too many post-it notes. I only give myself one to two “stretch” post-it notes. The key is that I’m starting with only writing down the most critical priorities.
During the day, I put multiple ✅’s or ❌’s on items – to indicate if my estimates were close and if the task was actually completed.
I collect completed post-it notes, so I can see a stack at the end of the week of what I got done.
And if there are uncompleted post-it notes, I can use those as a guide for tomorrow. But the goal is definitely to have very few carry over. I can still have a long list of tasks in my Reminders app. But that’s not what the post-it notes are for.
I hope this method is as helpful for you as it is for me.
This Week’s Quick Hits
I’ve been known to add up the cost of meetings before. As a starting rule of thumb, assume that the per-minute cost for every person in a meeting is $1. It’s easy for anyone in a company to “spend” thousands of dollars per week in meetings with a simple Outlook or Google Calendar invite, especially if the invite lists are long. I found this Tweet to be a funny and not-so-funny take on the concept…
Thanks for reading Aaron Kardell's Blog! Subscribe to receive new posts every Sunday.