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Thanks to OF and tips picked up from,, and, I "beta-tested" a new process this morning which ended up increasing my efficiency about 300%. It uses 5 simple rules:

1. SET UP YOUR ACTIONS AND YOUR INTENT IN ADVANCE. The night before, set up an ordered list of Actions in OF that you're planning to do tomorrow in a project called "Today", complete with durations for everything. Put the most important actions (must-do) at the top. Make sure the total time required doesn't exceed what you'll have available tomorrow. Set your alarm clock before going to sleep.

2. FOCUS ON ONE ACTION AT A TIME. Get up on time, open up OF to project "Today" in "Next" mode so you see only one action at a time (the next on the list), set a manual timer (kitchen, iPhone, iCal, whatever) for the time required per the duration you've assigned to the Action, and perform each Action for only as long as the manual timer allows.

3. QUIT ON TIME. You've already limited everything to a timeframe, now toe the line for each and every action: the minute the manual timer goes off, STOP. Check off the Action in OF and start in on the next action. If you overran because the Action took a lot of extra time (and it was so important or consuming that you couldn't stop yourself when the timer went off), make a mental note in your head (oops, the kitchen takes 30 mins to clean up every day, not 10).

4. ACCEPT EMERGENCIES. This system works so well that it will begin producing "extra" time for you almost immediately. (You'll be finishing tasks early more often than not.) So don't feel guilty when an "emergency" crops up and sucks up an hour of time unexpectedly. (Oops! Have to order the Gamelan concert tickets TODAY before they sell out.)

5. RE-EVALUATE AT END OF DAY. Many of your tasks may already be set to repeat every day, or you might want to do that with them now. And this, then, becomes the perfect time for tweaks: if something took twice as long, you can now change the duration of the action, so tomorrow you'll have fewer surprises.

Last edited by santra; 2007-10-26 at 10:25 AM..

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