My to do list has a tendency to grow and grow and never get any shorter. Until some of the items on it grow so old that they become irrelevant and I throw them off the list without doing them.

I think I have finally hit on a solution. The trick is to not stop.

I like the Getting things done (GTD) methodology. I like getting my mental list of things to do down on paper. (My organiser is still as it was in 2006: a set cardboard sheets with sticky notes.) But GTD only helps me know what I should be doing. It doesn’t help me actually do them.

For me the hardest part is getting started. I have this long list of things and I really should do something about it… but maybe a bit later, OK?

I’m like a heavy wagon. Getting the wagon rolling is the hard part. When it’s rolling, keeping it going is not that difficult.

The solution, then, is to minimize starts. Once the wagon is rolling, do not let it stop.

This is the opposite of what I think as the conventional approach, where after some period of work one takes a break. Do some work, then relax for a while before doing more. No no no! Breaks are dangerous! Instead, as soon as I am done with one task, I get up and pick up the next. I only rest when I really run out of energy.

This works best if I am pretty relaxed about which particular task I pick up. Doing some small task, any task at all, is better than thinking about the most highly prioritised task right now but then not doing it because it’s too hard, or I don’t feel like it, etc.

Yeah yeah baby yeah…