How to Beat Yourself...

How to beat yourself and the spreadsheet of pointy goodness....confused? read on:

I'm a procrastinator. I bounce around from site to site, quickly skipping over content, tweets, blog posts, tweets, youtube, tweets and pics....and there goes an entire day.

Im in the process of launching a new startup, and I quickly realised that in order for this thing to get off the ground, I needed to become more focused and make better use of my time.  I worked out that everyday, I need to complete a certain number of tasks - email, rss feeds, research, tweets etc. - all of these will help grow my business and are an essential part of my marketing and branding strategy.

Now I could just put all of these tasks into a to-do list app, and in fact I have tried that.  But I soon realized this method doesn't work for me.  There is no incentive to use a to-do list app....I never even check it.  What I need is competition and rewards.

I needed a better solution.  I came up with my Spreadsheet of pointy goodness.

I built a spreadsheet using Google Docs, which has a list of tasks that I need to complete daily.  When I complete a task, I get a point!  The points are automatically tallied for each day and then each week.  The game is to try and beat last weeks score.

And man does this work!!!

Because I spend most of my working day in a browser, I keep the spreadsheet open (on both my desktop and macbook).  This helps me see the list and keep doing the tasks.

But there is also another reason why it works - I get a point for just opening sites such as Friendfeed or Google Reader.  Opening these sites is pretty much the first thing I do each morning. So its sort of cheating to give myself a point for something so basic...but what this actually does is give me a reason to look at the spreadsheet, as well as giving me a pat on the back.

So, I am now in constant competition with myself.  Every week I am trying to beat last weeks me.

Recently I have noticed an increase in my posting frequency on Twitter (which has resulted in more followers), and even an increase in ad revenue on another blog I write for simply because I have developed a regular posting schedule.

I have made the spreadsheet available for all (minus my proprietary and top secret tasks) but I have added some generic ones in.  Make sure you change and add some to suit you.  And don't forget to leave in tasks that you know you will complete whether you had the list or not....its the secret of the spreadsheet.

Instructions:

  1. Download spreadsheet here
  2. Upload it to Google Docs (you could just use excel but you want this to work across all computers you use)
  3. Give yourself one point for every task you complete
  4. At the end of the week transfer the weekly score into the scorecard
  5. Beat yourself and repeat.

Bonus

You could also setup the spreadsheet to subtract points if say you check your email more than twice daily or use IM.  Maybe thats for v2.0.

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