Use this 8-step process for maximizing efficacy and doing the most important things every day.

Tim Ferriss uses this 8-step process to create big outcomes despite his never-ending impulse to procrastinate. He says he is not efficient, so he must be effective! He has found that if you have 10 important things to do in a day, it’s 100% certain nothing important will get done that day. On the other hand, if you clearly identify one important task and commit to doing it, you will handle this must-do item and successfully block out your lesser behaviors for 2 to 3 hours a day.


  1. Wake up at least 1 hour before you have to be at a computer screen.
    Email is the mind-killer.

  2. Make a cup of tea or coffee and sit down with a pen and paper.

  3. Write down the 3 to 5 things—no more—that are making you the most anxious or uncomfortable.
    ‘Most important’ usually equals most uncomfortable or those tasks with some chance of rejection or conflict. They will often have been moved from one day’s to-do list to the next.

  4. For each item, ask yourself, “If this were the only thing I accomplished today, would I be satisfied with my day?” and “What, if done, will make all of the rest easier?”

  5. Look only at items you’ve answered ‘yes’ to for one of these questions.

  6. Block out at least 2 to 3 hours to focus on ONE of them for today.
    Let the rest of the urgent but less important stuff slide. It will still be there tomorrow.

  7. To be clear: Block out 2 to 3 HOURS to focus on ONE of them for today.
    This is ONE BLOCK OF TIME. Cobbling together 10 minutes here and there to add up to 120 minutes does not work. No phone calls or social media allowed.

  8. If you get distracted or start procrastinating, don’t freak out and spiral downward. Instead, gently come back to your ONE to-do.


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