Mind-mapping for detailed categorization of ideas and plans. The Action Machine for setting it up in time slots and getting it done.
1. Write down all the tasks you want to get done today.
2. Assign a specific block of time for completing each task.
3. Select a task, start a timer, and focus on nothing else until that task is complete!
This works incredibly well because our minds are goal-oriented. If we give ourselves something to do with an end-point defined we’ll get it done.
I’ve used The Action Machine for several months now and it can blast through the worst excuses for dreaming my way through another day. I started mind mapping before I started using The Action Machine. Consequently, a lot of my lists were in mind maps and how could I get them into The Action Machine without re-typing the lists? Or maybe I didn’t need to?
To-do’s can be typed or copied and pasted directly into The Action Machine one at a time or they can be entered directly into the built-in Action Lists. I use both methods. The Action Machine is perfectly designed for getting things done. There’s nowhere else to go, there’s nothing else to do because focusing effort is all it does.
If you don’t believe in the power of focus, try this: Decide on something to do, maybe something you’ve been procrastinating on for weeks, set a timer for 20 minutes and work on that one thing. It’s not a long time; it’s only 20 minutes. Until the timer goes off, focus on that one thing.
About a year ago I got onto a folder division that helped straighten out my computer. I use the same folder division in my bookmarks, EverNote 2, KeePass and my Lightning calendar, so why not The Action Machine?
And then I decided I didn’t want categories, so I put everything into one list called To-Do. It’s a very long list but it’s right next to the timers and that’s key.
This list is only related to my computer activity. I don’t use it for non-computer lists or traveling lists. For instance, if I was going to a court house looking for assorted records, this is not the tool. That’s better generated from a genealogy database.
There are two main ways of creating lists.
You can create a list of things to do directly in The Action Machine and export it as a plain text document for backup. Or work the other way around creating a list in Notepad and then importing it.
You can also add items on the fly. This is how I bring items over from my mind maps.
When it comes to planning your day, just move your cursor along the blue bar that will pop up next to any item and choose an amount of time for it.
It will automatically jump onto the timer board ready to go. The big clock will add the total amount of time on all the timers (up to 12 at once) so you don’t over-exert yourself.
That’s about it. The Action Machine comes with notification sounds, background patterns, priority flags, a break timer, detailed reports and inspirational sayings but it’s the underlying theory that makes things happen. Intent+Time=Done.