Alex Vermeer on How to Get Motivated

Beveled Stained Glass Decorative Star Panel - Free High Resolution Photo

This week I discovered Alex Vermeer’s posts on How To Get Motivated: A Guide for Defeating Procrastination. He includes a free poster with tips:, and two lead-up posts: How to Generally Reduce Procrastination and especially How to Stop Procrastinating Right Now, which the flowchart is primarily based on. There’s also How We Use the Procrastination Equation, and a wonderful post about doing an annual review: “8,760 Hours: How to Get the Most From the Next Year,” which includes an 18 page free download. I’m so impressed with his work, and highly recommend spending some time there.

I still have much to learn from all of this great information, but here is an outline that links to some of the resources at the Daily PlanIt that tie in.

To overcome procrastination (and get motivated) you can: Increase Expectancy, Increase Value, Decrease Impulsiveness, and/or Decrease Delay.

Increase Expectancy

  • Check your mindset
  • Contrast
  • Accept
  • Plan for the worst, expect the best
  • Get inspired
  • Recognize success
  • Action is required

Increase Value

  • Find Passion
  • Mix bitter and sweet
  • Add accountability
  • Use productive procrastination
  • Keep your brain healthy
  • Create a reward
  • Get some energy
  • Create competition
  • Find flow
  • Find meaning

Decrease Impulsiveness

Decrease Delay

  • Have more immediate deadlines

Staying focused on what matters to us can be such a challenge! These methods can help us stay on track.


More Free Planner Inserts

The planner inserts last week were so much fun, I was inspired to make a few more! This week’s installment includes a list for repeating or recurring tasks, and one for yearly tasks.

PLUS the Super Simple To-Do List of quick tasks to do when you have a few minutes.

Five Minutes:

  • water plants
  • clean out a drawer
  • file some papers
  • write an email
  • read an article
  • make a phone call
  • breathe
  • feel gratitude
  • thank somebody
  • throw something away
  • back up computer
  • listen to a video on Coursmos

Ten Minutes:

  • listen to music
  • review goals & projects
  • yoga
  • meditate
  • plan a surprise for someone
  • clean desk
  • delete an outdated computer file

Fifteen Minutes:

Eighteen Minutes:

Here are the new free printable planner inserts (pdf)

See two new videos: one demonstrating how to automate repeating tasks, and one explaining how I use a paper planner for the weekly review. Happy Planning!

The Study of Productivity

When it comes to time managment systems, I have wondered about the percentage of people who:

  • use only paper
  • use only electronic
  • use a combination
  • have no time management system

I couldn’t find any statistics on this, but a good percentage of 61 experts at use a combination. Everyone is different, and what really matters is to come up with a productivity system that works for you.

Still, it is fun to see how others manage their time, and sometimes you can even get ideas that will work for you.

How much time do you spend:

Check out the infographic based on research in productivity at The Science of Productivity for a daily routine, and learn more at Time management 101.

It can be a lot more enjoyable to spend time learning about productivity than to actually act on the information. Keep in mind the ratio of time spent studying vs. the number of ideas you find that will work for you. Try to set a limit on the amount of time on these activities and focus on getting the important stuff done.

The Perils of Criticism

I have a confession to make: I sometimes rather enjoy a well-written snarky movie review. Like this one about Jupiter Ascending that made me laugh out loud. And this one about Fifty Shades of Grey. Opinions will vary and viewpoints can be quite different. It’s far easier to be the one dishing it out than to be the one who put their hard work out there and now sees it being unappreciated.

Critics can definitely get it wrong sometimes, as “12 Classic Books That Got Horrible Reviews When They First Came Out” from the Huffington Post demonstrates. Many people who went on to become famous persisted through failures and rejections.

“You’re Awesome: Firms Scrap Negative Feedback” from the Wall St. Journal reflects a movement away from performance appraisals to more of an emphasis on developing strengths. Why Evaluate Performance from The Huffington Post mentions maintaining a ratio of more positive feedback than negative, similar to research on predictors of survival or failure in marriage from researcher John Gottman.

How Are You Doing?

Walking the line between constructive criticism, appreciation and feedback can be like balancing on a tightrope. Feedback and appreciation are both keys to engagement at work. We need to know how we’re doing. Though it can be difficult to listen to, at times we may even need to hear about areas where there is room for improvement. Requesting feedback is one way to take charge of our own engagement at work. We can also devise ways to build in feedback on our progress with checkpoints on goals and projects to see how we’re doing. Learn more about The Art and Science of Giving and Receiving Criticism at Work at Fastcompany.


The Keep It Super Simple (K.I.S.S.) Productivity Award

Watching the Academy Awards recently has inspired me to suggest nominations for the Keep It Super Simple (K.I.S.S.) Productivity Award. The criteria for winning is to be the simplest method or tool. Some methods and tools are obvious winners, but the results are undecided in some categories. Add your nominations and cast your votes at the Daily PlanIt facebook page.


Nominations in the Priorities category:

SupermanAnd the winner is: The MITs or Most Important Tasks Method from Zen Habits

Nominations in the Paper Category:

SupermanNo clear winner in this category.

Nominations in the Apps for Lists Category:

  • Evernote
  • Google Drive
  • Other

SupermanThe Daily PlanIt Keep It Super Simple (K.I.S.S.) System uses Google Calendar and Google Drive for lists.


Nominations in the Take a Break Category are:

SupermanAnd the winner is: Peter Bregman’s 18 Minutes, since this method is flexible enough to work with most jobs.


Nominations in the Find Your Focus Category are:

I declare a 3-way tie! These are all Daily PlanIt tools, and they each have a place in finding focus.


Nominations in the Weekly Review and Plan Category are:

SupermanProbably Zen to Done, what do you think?

clockIt’s not too late! Add your nominations and cast your votes at the Daily PlanIt facebook page.

Optimize Your Day With the Science of Productivity

ResearchSometimes there is resistance to the idea of a routine, but the most productive people follow a Putting the things we need to do on a regular basis on autopilot allows us to focus on more important matters. Studies have revealed statistics about the effects of interruptions and multi-tasking, the best environments for productivity and more. Do some experiments to see how you work best, and shape your daily routine (as much as possible) with these results from research in the area of productivity. While some aspects may not be within our control depending on our workplace, others may be possible to regulate.

A Daily Routine based on the Science of Productivity
  • Dan Ariely, Professor of Behavioral Economics, concludes that generally people are most productive in the morning for two hours after fully waking. Don’t waste your most productive time from New Republic.

Learn more about productivity at the free tutorial Time Management 101.

The Daily PlanIt Keep It Super Simple (K.I.S.S.) System for Productivity

SupermanThe Daily PlanIt Keep It Super Simple (K.I.S.S.) System is super simple, super easy, and super flexible. And it’s free! The K.I.S.S. System:

  • Combines the benefits of both electronic and paper systems
  • Allows printing of the calendar, To-do list, and other lists
  • Is accessible and synced across all electronic tools wherever you are: computer, smartphone and tablet
  • Has the ability to include repeating or recurring tasks for both work and home
  • Includes goals and projects for both work and personal life
  • Is fully customizable for your life
  • Can follow Getting Things Done (GTD) principles

The K.I.S.S. system is based primarily on Google: Google Calendar, Google Tasks for To-do list (plus some apps) and Google Drive for other lists.


Here is a brief view of the K.I.S.S. System:

  Learn about Google Apps
Google Calendar + Tasks + Google Tasks to add/delete tasks@computer. Syncs with To-Do apps
Google Drive + Docs For Lists
Google Chrome Browser + the extension for Google Tasks. shares still more Chrome extensions for productivity.
Gmail Gmail If you use Gmail, you can even add an email to the tasks list.
Google Keep app Handy for quick notes and idea capture

Two Android apps:

Both sync w/Google, can set reminders and recurring tasks. Can set priorities with a star in Taskary or mark urgent in GTasks.

Google Task Taskary app Add/delete tasks @smartphone/tablet. With the Google Nexus tablet, you can speak to add tasks. Excels at: ease of use, appearance, adding separate lists with sub-tasks. Can send an email to yourself to print, but only of one list at a time.
GTasks app Excels at: printing all task lists at once by sending an email to yourself.

iOS apps for iphone/ipad

Many To-do apps are available: choose one that syncs w/Google, has the ability to print and other options desired.

In Google Drive, you can create all the lists you need: Goal and Project Master Lists, value statement, ideas and more. If you don’t want the features of the To-do apps, you can create a simple list for To-dos in Google Drive. If you follow the GTD system, you can set your lists up for that. The Evernote app is also popular for keeping lists, but Google Drive works great for me. Create a system that works for you from the K.I.S.S. System or whatever works for you. Share your system at the Daily PlanIt Facebook page.

Learn more about increasing productivity with the free Time Management 101 Tutorial.

Getting the Important Stuff Done

“Doing work that matters is much harder than doing work that doesn’t.” – Peter Bregman, author of “18 Minutes.”18minutes

The important work that we say that we want to do is often hard. It’s so much easier to fritter away time on things that don’t matter like Facebook, Pinterest, or Farmville. These easy distractions give us an immediate pay-off which is hard to resist. The long-term pay-off of pursuing our goals is much more valuable, but also much farther away.

The Quadrant II activities in Stephen R Covey’s Time Management Matrix include things like planning, clarifying values, and relationship building. These are the activities we should spend more time on, but that often fall by the wayside, pushed aside by more trivial matters. Take these steps to overcome the pitfalls and get important stuff done.

10 Tactics for accomplishing important work:

Don’t overlook your goals when choosing your Most Important Tasks (MITs) for the day

Important tasks can be routine work, like the report that is due today and the car that needs an oil change. We know that QII activities are also important, but without a deadline they can often be easily postponed. They may never happen if you wait to do them until you have free time.

Tackle important work at the best time

It’s best to work on tasks that require thought and creativity when you have the most energy, usually in the morning. Don’t waste your most productive time.

Remember the benefits

Consider the consequences if it is not done, and the benefits of accomplishing it.

Make it easy

In his book and TED Talk, Peter Bregman uses an example to illustrate this. His family thought they would eat outdoors at a table, but found they never used it…until they moved it a little closer to their door. Make good habits easy, and bad habits hard.

KISS-Keep It Super Simple

Maybe you don’t need a complicated plan. Maybe you only need to know the first step. Some projects may be complex, but keep them as simple as possible. Don’t make it harder than it needs to be.

Break it down

Big tasks can seem overwhelming unless they are broken down into smaller action steps.

Take one small step

Get started by telling yourself you will do just one small step. Often once inertia is overcome, it’s easy to keep the momentum going.

Get focused

Do an annual review to choose goals and areas of focus. The Energy Level Gauge is a simple tool that makes it easy to see which areas of your life need more attention.

Remind Yourself

Keep it visual, and keep it on your radar. Peter Bregman’s 18 minutes: 5 minutes in the morning to plan, 5 minutes in the evening to review, and a timer set hourly during the day to re-focus.

Schedule it

Assign a date and time in your calendar. In 18 Minutes, Peter Bregman describes studies from the book “The Power of Full Engagement” by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz which reveal that deciding when and where we will do something makes it 80-100% more likely to be done.

Want to learn more? Read 18 Minutes by Peter Bregman, and watch his TED Talk, The Work Buffet.

More resources to: Learn about Productivity

What I Have Learned About Love from the Movies


Something’s Gotta Give is one of my favorite romantic comedies. I’ve watched it many times and know almost all the lines by heart. Diane Keaton somehow makes having a broken heart funny in her crying scene. One of the lessons of the movie is this: the heart wants what the heart wants. But the lines below are among the most powerful.

Marin: Are you crying?

Erica Barry: Yeah. It’s my new thing. I’ve gotten abnormally brilliant at it.

Marin: Why? What is it?

Erica Barry: I’m in love. Ain’t it great? Seems like I gotta learn how to that… love-them-and-leave-them stuff, you know?

Marin: Oh mom, I hate this. Now do you get my theory about all this? You gotta self-protect.

Erica Barry: You don’t really buy this stuff you say, do you? You don’t actually think that you can outsmart getting hurt?

Marin: I think it’s worth trying.

Erica Barry: Listen to me. You can’t hide from love for the rest of your life because maybe it won’t work out… maybe you’ll become unglued? It’s just not a way to live.

Marin: Are you telling me this is good? What’s happened to you?

Erica Barry: I think you should consider the possibility that you and I are more alike than you realize. I let someone in, and I had the time of my life.

Marin: I’ve never had the time of my life.

Erica Barry: I know, baby. And I say this from the deepest part of my heart. What are you waiting for?

The lesson: In romance, you have to take a risk. Yes, there may be pain. But if you see a chance, take it. Here’s a few more things I’ve learned about love from the movies:

“Love is a gift, Alex, not an obligation.” –Fools Rush In

“You are what you love, not what loves you.” –Adaptation

“The greatest thing you’ll ever know, is just to love, and be loved in return.” –Moulin Rouge

A few more:

And Samantha in the television show Sex and the City:

“I love you, but I love me more.”

What have you learned about love at the movies? Let us know at the Daily PlanIt Facebook page!