Top Tips from My Time as Get-It-Done Guy

As Stever Robbins draws his time as Get-It-Done Guy to a close, he recounts his favorite tips from 12 years as host of the Get-it-Done Guy podcast.

Stever Robbins
5-minute read
Episode #577

Today we're going for the best-of-the-best. In the last 576 episodes, we've covered a lot of territory together. We’ve had big tips, small tips, intriguing tips, and Q-tips. But as you surely recall from episode 512, The 80/20 Rule, 20 percent of the tips make 80 percentof the difference. So today, come for a quick review of the tips that will improve your life the most. We have big tips and small tips—I hope you try them all tips!

Big Productivity Tips

Some tips apply throughout all areas of your life and business. If you remember anything from the Get-it-Done Guy, remember these.

Keep your why in mind. This is the single most important tip ever. I don’t know what it is about us humans, but it’s super-easy for us to do stuff that doesn’t move us toward our goals. In episode 130, How to Accomplish Your Real Goals, we learned to ask “Why am I doing this, anyway?” at every possible moment. If your actions don’t lead to your goals, change what you’re doing. 

If you want to get going on all those things, try speed dating! (It’s not cheating if all your tasks know about each other.)

Use one master to-do list. If you have little scraps of paper everywhere with to-do items jotted down on them, consolidate! Have one master to-do list, preferably on paper. Every week do a round-up of any random task items you’ve jotted elsewhere (I tend to jot them on anything handy, including the cat) and move them into your master list. Then you can review the entire list and get an overview of all the things you could be doing. But probably aren’t. Episodes 290 and 171 discuss How to Manage Your Task Lists on Paper and How to Create One Master System to Organize Your Life.

Speed date your tasks. And if you want to get going on all those things, try speed dating! (It’s not cheating if all your tasks know about each other.) Write your top five tasks on a piece of paper. Set a timer for five minutes. Work on the first task until the timer goes off. Then switch to the second task, and the third, and the fourth! When you’re done with the fifth task, take a five-minute break. Then pump it up: reset the time to ten minutes, and do another cycle. You can find details in episode 149, Stop Procrastinating by Speed Dating Your Tasks.

Small Productivity Tips

Other tips apply to specific situations. You don’t always need these, but when you do, they’ll make you giggle with delight. Yes, you’ll giggle. About productivity. It’s too late; you’re already a member of the club, embrace your fate. And giggle.

Use Markdown when writing. You can use Markdown to write formatted text (text with bold, italics, headers, and so on) purely in text. You put all your attention on typing and later your Markdown-capable editor does the formatting for you. Episode 415 covers 3 Secret Ways Markdown Improves Productivity. I’m writing in Markdown right now. Don’t you just wish you could watch my streamlined touch typing? You know you want to.

Use a single notebook and table of contents for all your notes. Instead of having a separate notebook for different projects, use one notebook for everything. Just save the first two pages for a table of contents. When you add a page with a new idea about how to take over the world with your zombie army, just update the Table of Contents: “Dastardly Cream Puff Plan #6, page 93.” Episode 459, Get Even More Organized With a Table of Contents, will simplify your life down to a single notebook.

Create tags for yourself that you can discreetly add to your message. Then set up email rules to act on the tags.

Use tags and rules in email. This is one of my favorites! Create tags for yourself that you can discreetly add to your message. Then set up email rules to act on the tags. For example, “dcp” might mean a message is relevant to the Dastardly Cream Puff Plan. Your email rule can then highlight any message with “dcp” in it. What’s cool is that this works in conversations. You add it to your message. If your recipient replies and includes your original message (which everyone does these days), their response will also trigger the rule and get highlighted. This super-flexible technique is from episode 430, Manage Your Priority Emails With This Simple Tagging Trick.

Friend Tips

Other tips require living, breathing human beings to make them work. That means you’ll have to look beyond your zombie army to your still-living friends.

Do-it Days. These are my absolute favorite. I wrote the last draft of my book in a series of 45 consecutive Do-it Days. Grab a group and meet on a conference line every hour. Report on the previous hour and commit to certain actions for the next. You’ll be amazingly productive. Details in episode 48, End Procrastination with Action Days.

Accountabilibuddies. You can also use regular "accountabilibuddies" to provide mutual accountability. Just agree to meet regularly and witness each other’s success. Don’t just settle for having one boss; make your best friend into your boss as well. What could go wrong? Learn the ropes in episodes 11 and 303, Keep Resolutions by Getting an Accountability Buddy and Protect Your Work/Life Balance with a Boundary Buddy.

You can also use regular "accountabilibuddies" to provide mutual accountability.

Do-it Days and Accountabilibuddies are so powerful that I’ve created ongoing Get-it-Done Groups where we have regular Do-it Days and act as each others’ accountabilibuddies. If you want to keep working together once I’ve left the podcast, check them out at Get-it-Done Groups.com.

And that’s the last of my top tips. Hopefully you’ll find that they, and everything else I’ve worked hard to share, make your life a little easier, give you a little more time, and help you create more room for the things that are important to you.

In next week’s episode (which we actually recorded last week), Get-It-Done Guy's new host Rachel Cooke and I will officially transfer the title. I’ll also share a secret link to a video where I share how Bernice, Melvin, Europa, and the other Get-it-Done Guy characters came about, and what happens next in their stories.

So this is it. My last paragraph. I want to keep typing, but there isn’t anything else to say for this episode. It’s rather terrifying to know that as soon as I type the period at the end of this paragraph, I’ll no longer be the Get-it-Done Guy. Thank you for sharing this ride with me, Bernice, Melvin, Grandma Cuddles, and the rest of the gang. I guess it’s time. 

I’m Stever Robbins, signing off. Please stay in touch by joining my personal email list at Steverrobbins.com/contact or joining a Get-it-Done Group at GetItDoneGroups.com

Work Less, Do More, and have a Great Life!

About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins was the host of the podcast Get-it-Done Guy from 2007 to 2019. He is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.