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How I automated my daily routine to avoid action paralysis

I’m usually a night person. It’s the time in which I really focus and get things done.

Since my arrival to Indonesia, I must say that I changed that a lot. Life here ends at 11pm and given that I share house with other people, this train of life wasn’t a good one to have.

So I adapted to become a more day-person. This had a direct impact in what happens when I wake up.

The moment in which I have to start working half asleep is a pretty tough one, so I decided to re-implement a productivity hack that I used a few years ago, when I needed to go to the office early.

The idea is to follow a checklist that has the most important things that I have to do every day.

This allows me to start the day in automatic pilot, lowering the need of making decisions.

Below you can find the template for you to test, adapt and improve:

1. Start Timer

Since I use the Pomodoro Technique, this is the first thing to do: start my 25 minutes countdown timer.

2. Start Yast

This is the other part of my accountability methodology: using a time tracker. The item that I have set for completing this checklist is “Daily Routine & E-mail Check”, so I start the timer with this one.

3. Purchase receipts > Money App

I skip this one a lot, so I end up with my wallet full of useless paper. The idea is simple: digitalising all the receipts and getting the data in a money manager app. I used a few, the last that I’m trying out is SplitWise.

4. Check Financials

I check my accounts everyday to know if there’s anything to pay or to transfer, and follow up on invoices.

5. Moleskine > Achievable things

Ideas are ok, but they have to be turned into actionables. In this stage, I open my notebook and make sense of the notes that I took since the last day.

If you don’t have an idea on how to transform something into an actionable item, I suggest that you check the GTD funnel.

6.a. Calendar: what’s coming > This week

6.b. Calendar: what needs a follow-up > Last week

6.c. Calendar: what I need to prepare for > Next 2 weeks

These three items are really important for me, since I have an automated system to receive bookings with and my memory is ephemeral.

The idea is to have a clear perspective on what are the most relevant things to accomplish.

7. Trello > Daily Board Update

I have set up a personal kanban in which I follow up the next actions of each project that need to be moved forward.

At this stage, I don’t get to action, just check tasks there and prioritize. I try to keep the “To Do Today” list under 5 items.

My personal Kanban organization on Trello

8. Process Inbox

This is not the same as “check email”. I follow the aforementioned GTD protocol that allows me to focus on create actionable tasks for each item.

I also use the Add to Trello Chrome extension to get the things into my kanban right away.

The original GTD Funnel

9. Check Private UX Community Slack

As part of my educational ecosystem, I have a private UX community where I keep in touch with my students.

10. Check DesignLab

Since I’m part of the mentorship team in DesignLab, I go there everyday to check the submissions that need my feedback.

11. Trello > Select task by priority & GET INTO IT

Then finally, I go to my kanban and start doing the things that I planned to do for today.


PS: If you like the way I systematize processes, maybe you’ll be interested in my UX Mentorship Program 😉

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