Daily To-Do Lists

Daily To-Do Lists

January 23rd, 2023  |  Published in Misc., Personal

So over the last year, I’ve been preparing to start a Ph.D. and giving a lot of thought to approaching various problems. One area that has concerned me has been how to take on a task with a million parts.

Some books I’ve reviewed over the last year that have guided me are:

Atomic Habits by James Clear
Deep Work – Cal Newport
Digital Minimalism – Cal Newport
Make Time – Jake Napp & John Zeratsky
How To Write A Lot – Paul Silvia
The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuck – Mark Manson

One of the key takeaways of these books is that the most crucial part is that you take steps that get you closer to your goal. Giving yourself even 5 minutes on a task is well worth your time.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Will Durant.

The crucial part of the quote is not the ‘excellence’ part but the ‘we are what we repeatedly do.’

What do I want to repeat?

I’ve come up with a list of things that are important to me, covering the following topics: work, education, health, and creativity. These activities include:

  1. Work (Performeks)
  2. Ph.D. (Paper)
  3. Read
  4. Exercise
  5. Meditate
  6. Journal
  7. Create Music
  8. List To Music
  9. Listen To News

Minimum Viable Buy In

I once watched a video that included an interview with Eric Barker (of Barking Up The Wrong Tree fame), where he talked about creating new habits. The idea was called minimum viable buy-in. The example he gave was that if you want to read more and make it a daily routine, start with the smallest unit; you could imagine and build from there. In essence, start with the idea that reading one page daily is enough for you to say, ‘I read today.’

This idea is my guiding principle; I have these tasks on my list, but it is flexible. Completing a job for the day might only require 5 minutes. It’s not there to make me feel bad; it’s just a guide. And there are clearly days where I don’t get to everything.

To-Do List

Targets vs. Lifestyle

Out of all the things on my list, only one has a target in the loosest sense: completing a Ph.D. However, in the larger view, all these tasks are lifestyle choices.

You can download my to-do list if you like here.

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