Task List Momentum

How I love making checkmarks in little boxes. I’m a task list enthusiast, which is putting it lightly. I’ve tried every technique and app out there. At some point I’m going to dig into my task methodology, but for now, a tip.

Marc Champagne, the co-founder of Kyō¹, and I were having a pre-breakfast conversation last week about morning routines. We were discussing different strategies we use to get into a clear, positive mindset for the rest of the day.

At one point I mentioned my strategy for ordering my task list and Marc stopped me mid-sentence. He asked me to go back and describe in detail exactly what I meant. Marc had never hear of anyone doing this and, after thinking about it, I hadn’t either. So here it is.

Warm-Up Tasks

I keep two task lists, one for work and one for everything else.² On the Everything Else list I tend to wake up with about 6-10 items collected over previous days, and I usually add another 4-6 throughout the day.

Here’s the tip: Add warm-up tasks.

I put 1-3 simple tasks at the top of the list—the warm-up tasks—and I make sure to complete them before I get to work. They’re usually straightforward things like Take out the trash or Schedule haircut. By the time I get to Studio Fig I’ve completed ~15% of my list. It’s just enough to build momentum for the rest of the day.

1. I'm an avid supporter of journaling by hand as part of the meditative/self-reflective experience. If you're into using your phone and want to check an alternative to Day One, check out Kyō.

2. We currently use Basecamp for all high level project management and tasks at Baron Fig. I use a combination of paper lists (Baron Fig's Mastermind and Nomad, usually) and Things 3.