Ok, I gotta say, when I saw Mark Forster’s book, “Do It Tomorrow” on the shelf I was drawn to it. I thought it might be some best practices guide for how to procrastinate more effectively. Well, it wasn’t that…but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
The full title is actually “Do It Tomorrow and Other Secrets of Time Management,” and it’s Forster’s straight-forward system to help you become more focused and productive (this is one of the GTD alternatives I mentioned a few weeks ago).
One of the core concepts in Forster’s approach is to plan what you must do tomorrow, and create an action list to drive what you do. This allows you to enter the day knowing what your targets are for the day. Furthermore, you up your chances of success by treating this list as a “closed list” so you don’t keep adding things to it. That doesn’t mean you don’t write down new tasks – it just means you don’t act on them until some future day. (Don’t worry – you can still deal with true emergencies).
Principles of productivity
Forster’s methods are based on 7 principles. If I gave you a list of the principles here, it wouldn’t do them justice as they sound like things you may be familiar with (for example, the first on is “Have a clear vision”) and you might discount the value of this book without giving it a chance. On the contrary, I found that Forster doesn’t just refactor the things you read in so many books about productivity – he adds his unique spin and pragmatism to each principle.
The book takes you through each of the principles and provides some “what if” scenarios, techniques, affirmations, and exercises to help you adopt them effectively.
These exercises help you identify the most relevant or valuable use of your time based on “litmus tests” you can apply during planning, as well as in-the-moment. There are also a lot of techniques to help you deal with other people’s faulty approaches to time management so they don’t undermine your effectiveness. I’ve tried a couple of these techniques since I read this book, and seen them work – pretty cool. I’m definitely not a Jedi master but Forster’s techniques are sound.
Simple can be good
While some of Forster’s approaches sounded familiar (his explanation of “To Do vs. Will Do" sounded a lot like “Someday Maybe” from David Allen’s Getting Things Done, aka GTD), I found he always biases toward simple approaches. This means you can quickly understand and apply Forster’s principles so you’ll know whether they work for you within a very short time.
If you’re already familiar with GTD (but shying away for some reason), or you’re just looking to be more productive, this book would be a good addition to your library. But if you want to order, Do it Tomorrow.
If you want to read a chapter before committing, Mark’s made Chapter One of “Do It Tomorrow” available on his site.