Today is the first day I really began to apply the method seriously.

ZTD consists in 10 habits. As the book says, adopting 10 habits simultaneously may be not impossible, but it is ridiculously and unnecessarily difficult! It encourages me to learn the habits slowly and assimilate each independently and very well. The book recommends about 30 days practice for each habit, and suggests an ideal number of 1-2 at a time. That should be fine for me. I can always speed up the process if I feel like doing that.

The method claims for simplicity and so do I! I decide to train and assimilate just the first two habits:


As a matter of fact, I already collect my ideas quite well and I am used to do it. I always carry with me some sort of device to note the things that pop into my head. When I am outdoors, I carry a pen and a pack of really small post-its (so small that sometimes I struggle finding them in my pocket!). Once I am able to work with my laptop again, I immediately write the notes in the program that I use to keep my notes in.

I decided to use Evernote, because I can just create a notebook in there and write on a file with no further ado and faster than I would do with a traditional file system. It’s the fastest thing that I have now. I have been using Evernote for the last months (to collect data) and I feel confortable with it.

Stuff is collected in inboxes (places where you just dump stuff that pops up on your day for further processing, or places where your receive information to, e.g. my email is a type of inbox). One of my tasks yesterday was reducing the inboxes to a minimum. I have one in Evernote, another one in my email (thank goodness I have all my email accounts linked to the same gmail account), another in my Facebook account, I set a physical one in my office desk, and finally, a quite rudimentary physical inbox in my room (one portion of one of my shelves).

Processing my stuff, instead, is something that I was not doing in a very organized way. It can become quite complicated, and I try to keep it in the minimum expression. Processing my inboxes, I managed to get them always empty (although they fill like crazily fast), and it was enough to check them twice or thrice a day (including my email and Facebook).

Processing my inboxes, I pick elements individually and then I immediately decide what to do with them. If I don’t really need them, I delete them (default option). Most of the stuff that I didn’t delete went to my master to-do list. I could have more lists, but I want things extremely simple. Everything which is deferred goes to that list.

And of course I need to know what to do, so I have two more files: I one of them I write my most important actions (MITs) for the day. In the other, I write my batch actions. Batch actions are shorter and less important than my MITs, and I am supposed to do them at the end of the day one after the other.

Today it worked quite well. I spent the morning doing a MIT that I couldn’t finish yesterday (finishing a blog post for my website), then I emptied my inboxes, and set up two more MITs for today. One of them was reading a scientific paper that I had pending. The other was cleaning and ordering my room. I mostly did it (at least to a good enough point). I can tell you right now that without this implementation I wouldn’t have managed to complete this today. Sounds promising!

The picture shows my current setup in Evernote:

You can also read some of my actions. Now that I realize, maybe I didn’t manage to be brief. I want to do something about that, so now I’ll write in my inbox something like: “plan next ztdchallenge blogpost focusing on making it brief”. And just by adding it there, I already know that it will be eventually done and will not be forgotten. It feels great!

I named the notes beginning with a number to keep them always ordered in the same way (easier to get used to).

Finally, what’s the next thing? The challenge. That’s the challenge: I’ll report whether I manage to get my MITs or Most Important Actions for the day done or not. If I manage to do it 12 days out of the next 15, I’ll go to the next level and add one more habit!

Let’s begin counting.

Day 1: All MITs completed.



PS: I really hope that the blogposts become shorter in the future… By the way, I do not plan to post necessarily every day!

PS2: It goes as it comes, I don’t review the posts!