How I decide what to work on

My friend is interested in writing a piece of software in his spare time, to do with his flying hobby/Muse.

It’s hard to make time. He asked me how I start to choose what work to do that day. This applies professionally and personally I think.

As a foundational layer, I carry out the steps in Getting Things Done (GTD). That at least gives me (long) lists of next actions for the commitments in my life.

GTD advises you to choose what to do next based on your time, energy, and to prioritise the more important things. This part of GTD is a little too fluffy for me personality, so enter The Ivy Lee Method. (What’s wrong with GTD’s approach for “doing”? I have commitments that day, and I need a bit more structure to make sure I get them done.)

Essentially Ivy Lee’s method was to pick out six things to do the next day, and to keep working until you’ve done those things.

Six might be arbitrary, and there are nuances involved (do I put down my “next action” to do, or an entire mini-project I’d like to get done?).

Rather than being just on the computer, I write out those things on a sheet of paper, and I can tick them off during the day. (On a good day at least!)

Do something. Have some kind of prioritisation in your day. There will always and forever be more to do than you can get done. If you don’t choose what’s important to get done, the fires you’re keeping under control will.

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