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The Simplest Productivity Chart of All Time

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Lots of people ask me how I ended up so productive. The answer is that I have a system.

Today I spent a day studying how I worked and wrote it down, so I can show you how.

It looks complex but it’s actually very simple, and you internalize it quickly. The trick is to do what it says– without question! Click for full size.

* Filed by Julien at 10:46 pm under infographics


Hi, I’m Julien Smith. I'm the founder and CEO of Breather.

Check out more of my blog, my free book or add me on twitter. Also, we're hiring. Check that out.

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26 Responses to “The Simplest Productivity Chart of All Time”

  1. Frédéric de Villamil Says:

    It does not look that simple at all at first time. Then everything becomes obvious.

  2. Mike Abasov Says:

    Love the chart!

    But I think it doesn’t (technically speaking) allow for multiple active projects. Every time you complete all tasks for your 1st active project, you need to either consider it finished and set up a new one, archive it due to irrelevance, or add more tasks to move it forward. The chart doesn’t allow you to look at 2nd, 3rd, and so on active projects until the 1st one is either completed or canceled.

    I’m a nerd, what can I do? :)

  3. Alex Says:

    Looks great but where does check emails/inbox for new tasks fit into this diagram??

  4. David Says:

    Thanks for the flowchart, Julian.
    A simple. no-bullshit approach to getting shit done.
    Love it!

  5. danielle Says:

    just do it already

  6. Dave Doolin Says:

    Archiving is key, really important for me. Having a system which lets project move into and out of archive status is awesome.

  7. FJR Says:

    Your flowcharting invites us all to make such a chart of the processes that we find work well for us.
    Here is what I like most about yours. Many people who advise others on productivity have shockingly elaborate systems with complex arrays of procedures at every turn. Some even teach individual courses on specific subsets of these procedures!
    I am much more inclined to the Steven Pressfield style of working. That is, forget all the junk and just do it-the big thing at full force and shove in the rest at times when you need to a break from the big thing.

  8. Michele Welch Says:

    Cool! Thanks for the productivity chart Julien. Anything to help me stay on point and stay focused, I’ll take. ;p

  9. Lianne Says:

    Basically it’s ‘Do It Now’ (which is awesome) or ‘Decide When To Do It’ . Straight-forward : I like it.

  10. verna Says:

    That was fun.Now for the big time. My list
    divorce
    move
    job
    house
    mix and match as you please. I actually tried to open a home organizing business, and named it closet therapy and made card, started sending them out, and working and guess what? Everyone else is named closet therapy too. I am having a hard time coming up with a name not used online. Maybe you could ask your readers to come up with a name? Visions of order?Orderly space? I am lost. again.

  11. Jo-Anne Says:

    Bloody good liked this

  12. R Says:

    J-
    Just found your blog.
    You are my new crush.
    -R

  13. Frans Says:

    Hi Julien, you chart looks similar to the concept of Getting Things Done from David Allen. He works with a weekly cycle. Stuff in, Do it directly (if costs less than 2 min), Next actions, Waiting for, Perhaps/later and Trash. Next actions are all the things you planned for the coming week. Stuff in covers all the input both in your private and business life.

  14. Richard Says:

    The chart to me illustrates how confusion a ‘task-finishing’ methodology can be. It probably won’t work for everyone but use it as a jump-off point to create something that does work.

  15. Matt Hawk Says:

    thats the worst infographic ever. i get it.

  16. ash Says:

    you may have already listened to this, but it reminded me of something you’d be into.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6c0VtOdibcI&feature=relmfu

  17. Jason Says:

    Hey,
    Thanks to you I now know how to use my tasks apps effectively. I however have an Android but there are very similar apps that are just as effective like Gtasks.

    So now I made my own chart based on yours and I couldn’t be happier.
    Thanks Julien!

  18. Arthur Says:

    Systems are key, and the picture looks fantastic!

    Reminds me of David Deida’s “Give Everything Now” quote.

    Keep upping the awesome Julian.

    Ryze up!

  19. Zac Says:

    This is a great chart. I’m going to print it out and put it up on my wall. Thank you for this =)

  20. Kizzia Perez Says:

    Great, just what I need. I took a pic of it on my phone for easy access:) Thank JS!

  21. Nick Says:

    Haha love it – that’s going on the office wall :)

    Nick

  22. Pallavi Says:

    This shit is awesome!

  23. Michael Wegelin Says:

    Sweet and simple. Thanks for recommending RE.minder and Action Method. I have been using iCal before and now tried out these two apps. Just the right thing for me.

    And yes, I am able to manage more than one project with Action Method. The key is the todo-list. I use the focus list of Action Method, which holds just five tasks. I balance this list so that I have one task from each of my most important projects. Currently I have 8 very active projects, i.e. only five of them are on my focus list. Whenever I finish a task from the focus list, I look through my projects and pick the next task from any of my 8 projects to add to the focus list.

    Typically, I am able to finish five to ten tasks from my focus list per week, so typically I move each project forward every second week or so.

    And RE.minder really helps me to not forget about important tasks during the day, like relax, take medicine, meditate…

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