My Blog

My Hack for Getting Things Done

My friend Felicia and I at Esalen last week

Traveling is often rigged with anxiety traps for founders. Their rituals are messed up, beds aren’t comfortable, and they miss their dogs and partners.

I’m 2 weeks into a 3-week work trip away from my own darling dog. I’ve been to Esalen, Pacifica, San Francisco, and tomorrow I head to LA, then finally I end at Palm Springs at the Female Founder Retreat with Pear VC. Needless to say my rituals could easily be thrown off, let alone the stuff I still need to get done.

You know that lingering anxiety that you haven’t done “enough?” I used to get that feeling ALL THE TIME. This system is the way I eradicated that feeling and welcomed in a sense of completion to the end of my day.

I call it Task-Blocking – this is changing the game for me and founders I coach (travel or not). Here’s how it’s done:

  1. I ask myself what tasks I need to get done this week and list them out out. Be as specific as possible (ex. instead of Product Sprint, write down Prep Process for Product Sprint). Don’t hesitate to add personal things to this list like laundry or workouts. Your time isn’t just for work. If you wanna be pro, you can add email/Slack slots too.

    It looks like this:
    • Prep for ACP coaching program
    • Write newsletter for next week
    • Laundry before I fly to LA
    • Prep Female Founder Retreat

  2. From there, I bold the tasks that I would be extremely disappointed I didn’t achieve by the end of the week. Then I assign time estimates. Be conservative here. We tend to underestimate how much time it’ll take to complete a task. If you happen to overestimate, then you can reward yourself with a tea break or accelerate onto the next task.

    • Prep for ACP coaching program
    • Write newsletter for next week (1.5 hrs)
    • Laundry before I fly to LA (30m)
    • Prep Female Founder Retreat (30m)

  3. Of those bolded ones, I schedule them on my calendar first. If I have extra time, then I fill in the remaining tasks that are medium to lower priority. Here’s my calendar today showing my task blocks after my morning meetings:

Boom, suddenly your days are pre-planned and you are realistic about what you can get done.

It encourages honesty because you literally see your tasks laid out in terms of time, not just an ambitious list. It cuts the BS of thinking you can get 15 things done today when your calendar shows that you really only have time for 2 tasks after all those client meetings.

I’ll offer one last hack for travel: block off your workouts! I’m serious, compromising on exercise during work trips is one way to resent your travel. I’m not saying you need to workout everyday on a work trip, but if that’s your routine, then block it out! Make it non-negotiable that it exists on your calendar, but be flexible where it goes based on meetings.

Lmk if you have questions, I’ll check in during my e-mail task block 🙂

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