Productivity and GTD
30 Questions You Can Ask Yourself to Improve Your Effectiveness
“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always be where you’ve always been.” ~ T.D. Jakes
Checklists are very interesting tools when it comes to maintaining and improving the efficiency of your personal organization system. David Allen talks about their benefits in his book Getting Things Done, but because they are not linked to a specific stage in the GTD workflow, we tend to overlook or even forget them.
Commonly, checklists are most used to help us complete certain tasks without making mistakes and without forgetting any details of the work we need to get done. These lists are associated with specific actions, and we use them when engaging and getting to work. They help us deal with tasks that have a certain complexity, or that we have not yet fully mastered, without getting stressed out.
But checklists also help define creative self-management reminders related to any area of personal interest. You can use them to regularly review and improve any aspect of your life.
A while ago, I found a list with 49 questions for improving personal results in the book The Personal MBA, by Josh Kaufman. I’ve modified — and shorten — that list to adjust it better to personal effectiveness, and the result is a checklist that I find really interesting and that should be reviewed, at least, once a year.
- Do I get enough sleep?
- Do I eat healthy and balanced?
- Do I manage my energy well throughout the day
- In general, do i feel good physically?
- Do I have my values and principles well defined?
- What goals would I be hoping to achieve?
- Am I clear about my main areas of responsibility?
- Do I focus my attention on the things I want?
- Am I able to make decisions quickly and reliably?
- What are my fears? What would I do if those situations arose?
- What are my personal limitations? Am I doing anything to overcome them?
- Am I trying to push my own limits?
- Do I store all my thoughts in some system outside of my brain?
- Do I spend enough time reflecting on my goals, my projects and their progress?
- Do I give enough time for the important people in my life?
- Have I found a method for personal organization that works for me?
- Do I organize myself well?
- Do I have an up-to-date list of projects and tasks?
- Do I review my commitments on a regular basis?
- Am I consciously creating positive habits?
- Do I strive to break habits that work against me?
- Do I feel comfortable saying “no” to others?
- What do I like to do most?
- What do I do really well?
- How do I work most comfortably?
- How do I interact with my coworkers?
- How do I learn things best?
- What is my definition of success today?
- What do I appreciate in my life and work?
- Do I regularly ask myself questions as a guide to myself?
How many things do you feel capable of doing after answering these questions? Surely many!