Zen To Done: The Ultimate Simple Productivity System

这里定义的plan和我的定义不一样.他讲的plan只是pick 3 most important thing. 我的plan是指natural planning

Title: Zen To Done: The Ultimate Simple Productivity System
Authors: Leo Babauta
Edition: 1
Finished Date: 2015-05-09
Rating: 4
Language: English
Genres: Productivity
Level: Entry
Publishers: CreateSpace
Publication Date: 2011-07-29
ISBN: 978-1438258485
Format: Pdf
Pages: 114
Download: Pdf

Leo Babauta, 2008


zen to done (ZTD): a set of 10 habits

a system that is at once simple, and powerful, and will help you develop the habits

  • that keep all of your tasks and projects organized
  • that keep your workday simple and structured
  • that keep your desk and email inbox clean and clear
  • that keep you doing that you need to do, without distractions dedicate practice&deep work很难,即使用了也做不下去

Chapter 1: Why ZTD?

take some of the best concepts from some of the best productivity systems

  • David Allen’s getting things done
  • Stephen Covey’s 7 habits of successful people

ZTD captures the essential spirit of the new system:

  • of simplicity
  • of a focus
    • on doing
    • in the here and now
    • instead of on planning and on the system

ZTD attempts to address 5 problems that many people have with GTD. ZTD customizes it to better fit different personality types

  1. GTD is a series of habit changes: main reason why people fall off the GTD system – it’s a bunch of habit changes that are attempted all at once

    solution: focusing one habit at a time is best, and guarantees the most success.

    not need to adopt the entire system at once

  2. GTD does not focus enough on doing: the book focuses more on the capturing and processing stages than it does on the actual doing stage

    solution: ZTD focuses more on doing

    • how to actually complete tasks in a simple, stress-free manner
  3. GTD is too unstructured for many people: lack of structure, in-the-moment decision making about what to do next -> not for people who need more structure in their day

    solution: ZTD offers a couple of habits to address this

    • plan habit: plan three MITs for the day and Big Rocks for the week
    • routine habit: set daily and weekly routines

      optional habit. If not work for you, don’t adopt them. for many people: compliment GTD perfectly

  4. GTD tries to do too much, which ends up stressing you out


    • not discriminate among all the incoming stuff in the life: beauty
    • but is a problem, too

      • put everything on the lists -> overload

      solution: ZTD take as much stuff off

  5. GTD doesn’t focus enough on your goals

    • GTD is more a bottom-up, runway-level system


    • ZTD identify the big things you want to do for the week and for the day

    • review goals each week
    • GTD contains, but ZTD extends it

Chapter 2: Overview - what is it?

ZTD: a set of 10 habits

  • not obligation to do all 10 habits
  • pick one that work for your individual style, then focus on mastering those
  • each of habits should be learned and practiced one at a time if possible
  • 2-3 at a time at the most
  • focus on habit change for 30 days, then move on to the next
  • the order is just a suggestion
  • habit 1-8 are the most essential

2.1 collect: ubiquitous capture

  • carry a small notebook or whatever capture tool
  • write down any tasks, ideas, projects, or other information that pop into head
  • when back home/office, empty notes into to-do list

2.2 process: make quick decisions on things in inbox, not put them off

  • process inbox (email, physical, voicemail, notebook) at least once a day
  • when process
    • from the top down
    • make a decision one each item
      • do it (< 2 min)
      • trash
      • delegate
      • file
      • put in to-do list
      • calendar

2.3 plan: set MIT for week, day

  • each week
    • list the most important tasks for the week
    • schedule them first
  • each day
    • create a list of 1-3 MITs
    • do them early in the day in order to accomplish them

2.4 do: do one task at a time, without distractions (one of the most important habit)

  • select a task preferably on of MITs
  • focus on to do it
    • eliminate all distractions
      • shut off email
      • cell phone
      • internet
      • clutter desk (easy if follow habit 2)
    • set a timer, or just focus on task as long as possible
    • if interrupted, write down

2.5: simple trusted system

这个不适合我.不过我可以不要把OmniFocus的结构搞得复杂 UPDATE 2017/04/30: 我已经找到了适合我的复杂系统
keep simple lists, check daily. can use context lists, such as @work, @phone, @home, @errands, @waiting, etc

do not create a complicated system do not keep trying out new tools

### 2.6: organize: a place for everything
put things where they belong, right away, instead of piling them up to sort later

inbox: all incoming stuff context lists
an action folder filing system

这个作者总是夸大habit.建立这些organization系统前,先要建立.光是找到适合自己的就很花时间.我的电子filing system还是在改进中.不用Evernote的人没有一个人提到如何建立电子系统.认为丢进Evernote就是organize的人,我也是无语了

2.7: review: review system&goals weekly



  • a quick check of system
  • focus on reviewing goals each week
  • review yearly goals
    • what progress you made on them in the last week
    • what action steps to take to move forward in the coming week
  • monthly

    • a monthly review of goals
  • yearly

    • review yearly goals
    • life’s goals

2.8 simplify: reduce goals & tasks to essentials

  • review task and project lists to simplify them
  • be sure that projects and tasks line up with yearly and life goals
  • do: daily, weekly review, monthly review

2.9 routine: set and keep routines: structure

  • a morning routine

    • look at calendar
    • go over context list
    • set MITs for the day
  • an evening routine

    • process email and inbox (again)
    • review day
    • write journal
    • prepare for the next day
  • weekly routine
    • an errands day
    • a laundry day
    • financial day
    • weekly review
    • family day

2.10 find passion

Chapter 3: Minimal ZTD - the simpler alternative

the minimalist version of ZTD

  • collect 不做
  • process
  • plan
  • do 不做
  1. capture
  2. get desk: add new tasks to Master To-do list
  3. at the beginning of each day
    • review each day
    • write down 1-3 MITs for the day
  4. get MITs done as early as possible

    when doing: clear distractions and focus

    when done: move on to the next MIT

  5. if complete MITs

    1. go to Master To-do list
    2. find the next MIT on the list

if keep one list, no need a weekly review

suggestion: set a single goal for the year, always focus on the next step needed to achieve that goal

Chapter 4: forming the 10 habits

one at a time

take a lot of energy and focus and motivation, need patience

not recommend more than 2-3 at a time. the more you do, the less your chances of success

habit change methodology

  1. commitment

    commit yourself to habit change

  2. practice

    changing habits is a skill: need practice

    commit a 30-day challenge: new habit every single day for 30 days

    if mess up, try again. Practice makes perfect

  3. motivation

    find as many ways to motivate yourself as possible

  4. tracking 最喜欢的方法,最适合我

    log progress on habit every day

  5. support 这是最不适合我的方法.讨厌有人监督.喜欢self-motivate
  6. rewards rewards是illusion,我讨厌这个
  7. focus

    maintain focus on new habit for the full 30 days

  8. positive thinking 我好缺这个,每次都担心万一完不成怎么办

    根据willpower书,negative thinking才能增加成功率. 随便怎么想吧.适合自己才是最好的.悲观也是能够成大事的

Chapter 5: habit 1: collect

write down immediately

a very few amount of places to collect information and papers, and stick to that system

  • inbox: paper
  • try to only have one email account
  • notebook



  • write down right away, before forget
  • empty out notebook as soon as you get home or to work

Chapter 6: habit 2: process

process to empty, plan a time to process

  • make quick decision
  • put things where they belong
  • process inbox at least once a day
  1. minimize inboxes

    • every place to go to check messages or to read incoming information is an inbox 这和我的定义不一样.email inbox并不是个大问题,一旦有重要的邮件就forward到OmniFocus,所以OmniFocus的inbox里包含的都是重要的内容,一直pile up,才会成为问题

    • list all the ways to receive information

    • evaluate each to see if it give value
    • find ways to combine or eliminate inboxes
  2. master inboxes

    • check and process inboxes once a day
    • do not check constantly and obsessively
    • do not check less than once a day

how to process

  1. process it from the top down, make quick and immediate decisions
  2. delete
  3. delegate
  4. do (< 2 min)
  5. defer (> 2 min), add to to-do immediately
  6. file
  7. to empty

    if there are a lot of items, put in a folder, schedule hours to process in the future

  8. repeat

Chapter 7: habit 3: plan

take the unstructured, moment-to-moment workflow of GTD and shape it into an optimal structure

  • each week
    • list the Big Rocks that you want to accomplish
    • schedule them first
  • each day

    • create a list of 1-3 Most Important Tasks (MITs) 这种方法一点都没有持续性.最重要的3样做完了,也没有什么成就感.我就是一直在这样的循环中.最近几天做了project,但是个人的事情一点没有做,这些事情就开始在我脑子徘徊,然后产生压力.但是个人清洁等等的工作永远不可能成为MITs.这就David Allen指出priority为什么不好.


    • do MITs early in the day

  1. Big Rocks: terms from Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

    at the beginning of each week

    • sit down and look at to-do list
    • big rocks: what do you want to accomplish this week?
    1. put the Big Rocks in the schedule first
    2. let the smaller rocks and grave fill in the schedule around the Big Rocks
    • at first: keep Big Rocks to just 4-6 accomplishments per week
    • later: add more
    • try to include at least a couple of tasks to further along yearly goals
  2. schedule:

    • place “Big Rocks” in the weekly schedule
    • 1-2 per day
    • 1-2 hour blocks, early in the day if possible
  3. MITs

    我很难做到. 比如: 读一本书, 从早上读到下午,读到晚上. 整个白天黑夜24小时的big rock就是读书. 一个rock就相当于一天过去了,而且还没有做完. 这就是deep work, GTD是无法解决的

    each morning

    1. decide what Most Important Tasks for that day

      can be the same

    2. block out time early in the day if possible

  4. complete them (the most important part)

    • the first thing in the morning before even checking email

    • focus on only that task until it is done

    • reward when done
    • move on to next MIT shortly
  5. look back and say ahh

    look back on what you have accomplished

Chapter 8: habit 4: do

focus on one task at one time

  1. choose a Big Rock

    1. choose a tasks
    2. decide to work on

      • until it is done
      • or for a set amount of time, e.g., 30 minutes

        deep work就需要决定要设置多长时间做, 但不可能做完
  2. get zone

    before started

    1. eliminate all distractions
  3. time burst

    1. set a timer
  4. interruptions

    1. write down any request or incoming tasks/info on your notepad
    2. toss the document into inbox
    3. get back to task
  5. if feel the urge to switch to another task, stop, breath, re-focus, get back to the task at hand

  6. the inevitable

    1. write down where you are with the task at hand
    2. put all the documents or notes for that task together
    3. put aside (in a folder)
    4. do the urgent task
  7. relax

fixing execution problems

resistance to do things in the list

  • tiny chunk
  • just start
  • commit
  • think about why you do this and wild success in the natural planning model

Chapter 9: habit 5: simple, trusted system

keep a simple system that you will actually use

3 components of a simple trusted system

  • setup

    consist of

    • inboxes
    • a calendar
    • a reference system
  • tools

  • usage
  • @work
  • @personal
  • @errands
  • @calls
  • @waiting
  • someday/maybe

Chapter 10: habit 6: organize

put everything in its home

问题是: 若有新的物品进来呢. 怎么设置新的地点是我最大困难,但是没有一本书提到如何解决
  • have a system: GTD
  • find a home 根据inside out的方法来find a home是最好的. 而不是作者想当然这很简单
  • 不想再记下作者的方法, 都是cliche, 意思是都不适合我,

Chapter 11: habit 7: review

tap into the power of the Weekly Review as little time as possible: the Simplified Weekly Review

  1. initially: choose a long-term goal
  2. review last week’s short-term goal
  3. clarify notes
  4. review calendar
  5. review lists
  6. plan a short-term goal to accomplish next week

    if not finish last-week’s goal, then continue to do it

  7. plan Big Rocks

    Chapter 12: habit 8: simplify

对我来说, 就用so good they cannot ignore you 的思想来消除projects

所以我不在乎看作者的list. 因为我的introverted intuition没法接受

Chapter 13: habit 9: routine

  • morning routine
  • evening routine
  • weekly
我的routine lists比作者写的还要多

Chapter 14: habit 10: find your passion

作者认为find passion是最难的. so good they cannot ignore you来指导我

Chapter 15: a day with Zen to Done

Chapter 16: ZTD FAQ

Chapter 17: resources

## 我的读后感

2017.04.30 过了很久, 从第7章开始读, 也把之前的章节的notes全部review了


我喜欢creating workflow with OmniFocus BY Kourosh Dini

也喜欢Cal Newport的so good they can’t ignore you和deep work

我也有挑big rock的工作, 使用1-3-5方法, 但是big rock太大, 一天都做不完

但我不知道如何才能再减少. 若减小了, 我明天就不一定在做了. 还是花费一段时间做,我会做完, 尤其是brain-intensive的工作