How to Triple Your Productivity (My Simple “DDOME” Task System)
Listen on the go by downloading the audio of today’s video.
- Creating a daily schedule and task management system helps you stay in control of your work day
- I created a scheduling system called DDOME: Done, due, order, minutes, and energy.
Hi guys, how are you? My name is Matt Ackerson. I’m the founder of AutoGrow.co, as you may already know. And you might be looking in the background here. Some of you who have seen my past videos may be wondering, “Okay, where is Matt right now?”
I’m actually at the library being very productive, in fact. If you’ve seen any of the past videos, you might know that for the last year I’ve been traveling outside of the U.S. to Colombia for the last six months, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic. It’s been great. It’s been awesome. And I’m back in New York now and currently looking for an apartment. Until I have my home office setup, I’m working from the library, which I think I might still do, anyway.
But I digress. What is this video really about? Yes, being productive. How can you, dear viewer, triple your productivity using my simple DDOME Task System?
How I Got Started
I did two things at the beginning of 2017 that helped me to dramatically improve and, even to this day, continue to have massive gains in terms of my overall productivity day to day.
The first thing that I did was I got out of a really bad relationship that wasn’t going anywhere. And if you are having difficulties in terms of people, friends, family members, boyfriend, girlfriend, whatever, who are just sucking energy from you, you may want to consider either limiting those relationships or eliminating them, if circumstances call for it.
Secondly, I developed the DDOME Task System. And before I did this, I just felt very stressed by the business. Day to day, the work that I was doing felt uncertain, and it felt like I was controlled by my work.
Yet as an entrepreneur, why do we start businesses? We start them because we want to have an impact, yes, but we also want to earn a better lifestyle by contributing and taking the risk of starting your business.
So, I had come up with this one idea called a kill task, where each day, I would decide on the number one most important thing that I should get done for the day. That would be my kill task.
And I call it a kill task because it is something that you will beg, borrow, steal, and literally kill for. Okay, maybe not literally, but beg, borrow, steal, and kill to get done, hence a kill task. And that’s kind of where it all started. Let me show you what it has developed into today. I think you’ll really like it, and it’s very, very simple.
What is the DDOME Task System?
Let me go ahead and start up the whiteboard. I want to keep this video short and sweet, so I will get right into it.
Let’s say that you have a regular notebook. And for anyone who is really into their computer or tablet or smartphone, you can have all the apps that you want, but this is an offline app, if you will. This is something that you should get a separate notebook for. If you have a journal, put it in your journal like I do, as well as draw the following lines like I do.
Once a week, I put this at the top of the page: D-D-O-M-E, and then Task.
The first D stands for “done,” as in what time was the task actually done? The second D stands for “due,” or when the task is actually due in terms of the time of the day. The O stands for the “order.” The M stands for the amount of time it’s gonna take, in other words “minutes.” And E stands for “energy.” Task is obviously the description of the task.
So then I go ahead and draw a line, a column, down each one. I’ll often just put little boxes, kind of like checkboxes, if you will, or just draw circles.
I’ll tell you something funny. I used to draw actual boxes, like squares. Now, I just draw circles because they’re faster. And it saves like probably two seconds, but hopefully, that tells you that I’ve been optimizing this system for a while now. Anyway, so this is the basic layout.
Then you want to use what I call a template. This is kind of a new innovation that I’ve just added to it because, day to day, if you’re always coming up with a custom set of tasks, I find that it’s not that enjoyable to spend your time planning, and you just want to get it done.
You want to do it as fast as possible because if you have to think about, “Okay, what’s the next task and the next task and…?” it’s a lot of little decisions, even if you do it at the end of the day or at the beginning of the next day. You want to minimize the amount of time so that you can put more of that time into relaxing after work or getting more work done. So using this template, I’ll show you what I have for mine as an example.
My template looks like this. We start the day with the gym. Get the energy going. Get the blood flowing. Meditate for about 15 to 20 minutes. Then my novel.
I put 95% of my time into my business, AutoGrow.co, but I recently completed my first draft of a novel, so I spend about an hour every day editing and rewriting that.
Then I have my kill task for the day, but there are no caps, just so we take it really seriously. This is what we have to get done, for sure. Code, for coming out with our software-based product pretty soon. QW, for quick win. And then journal and reflection.
Breaking It Down
I’ll briefly talk about each of these and give you an example of how mine works. This is the template, and it gives me a general sense of what I’m going to be doing at any given time of day but it changes. And priorities can change.
For example, I may not be the one coding our software in maybe three, four months from now. But to get things going, to get things launched right now, I’m happy to do it. I like doing it. But if that changes, I’ll just change up the template, right?
And for anything that’s more long-term, that can be one of the elements in your template. For me, I found that having eight items in my template is the optimum amount because every time that you complete a task and check it off, it gives you a little boost.
It’s very similar to the neurological response that your brain gets when you get a text message. You get a little burst of dopamine because someone just reached out to you. But in general, in the conduct of completing tasks, your brain has a similar response. So it’s positive reinforcement.
Related to that, what’s great about this is that it gamifies work for you a little bit. So for example, I like to put a due time the day before for my first two tasks. I might want to have gym done by 9:00 am, and I want to be done with meditation by 9:30. And as long as I get it done by that time, I record that.
Maybe I get it done by 8:59 am, awesome. I’m a little bit ahead of schedule. Or 8:00 am, awesome. I’m an hour ahead. That’s more time. I can finish work earlier maybe and go relax or whatever.
You can plan it all the way to the end of your day if you want. You can add up all the minutes. And how do the minutes actually come into this, speaking of minutes? For each task that I’m doing, I will set a timer using online-stopwatch.com. It’s super simple, and you can keep it open even if you’re offline and it will work for you.
You can also just set a timer on your phone, just pop in the number of minutes there and you’ll be good to go. And when it rings, you’ll know that, “Okay, task time is over.” And you can either choose to stop or keep going a little bit to wrap it up, and then move on to the next thing. Okay?
You’re kind of on a little treadmill, and by the end of the run, so to speak, you will have completed what you need to get done for the day. It gives you an idea, too, so that even when you’re asleep or when you wake up the next day, you just feel prepared. There’s less guesswork. Things feel more controlled, more predictable, so you enjoy the work more. Your energy is higher, and you’re more productive for that reason.
Next is this E for energy. Why do we have that there? E for energy is based on something you are enthusiastic about. So E can also stand for enthusiasm if you want, or it can stand for energy.
Is it something that by the end of completing it, you will feel like it has sucked your energy? And why do you want to do this? You want to do this because it kind of sets an expectation for you. As you go through the day, if you suggest to yourself an idea that something is going to boost your energy, it usually does And it can make you more productive and can make the work more enjoyable as well.
This is useful because if many of your tasks are draining, you can put them back to back with tasks that raise energy. Lower and then raise it. Then, it doesn’t feel as grueling or as difficult as it would otherwise. Manage your energy–this helps you to do that.
Just knowing the order that you do things in, some days you might want to switch it up and experiment. You’ll find what is optimized for you.
For me, I like to put the killed tasks early on in the day. It’s kind of like, eat your vegetables before you work on the more enjoyable tasks. So I really like coding, but as long as I get the kill task done, then I would feel great for the rest of the day and then everything else is almost like a bonus.
So it should be something difficult. A kill task usually takes about 60 to 90 minutes, so you can also time box these as well. And at the end of day, I’m always journaling and reflecting because I find that actually writing down on paper, thinking about how the day went, helps me to identify weak points and how I can improve the system going forward. And how I can have a better, more productive day the next day.
Summary and Next Steps
So that is really the DDOME Task System in a nutshell. Once again, D-D-O-M-E: done, due, order, minutes, energy, and the description of the task. Also, use a template and don’t include too many tasks.
You’ll feel like your work is more predictable. You’ll feel more in control of your workday, and you’ll be able to finish work earlier so that you can go be healthy, spend time with friends and family, have a good rest, and then get up and have a productive day again the next day. All right?
If this video was helpful for you, and you want me to do future videos like it where I talk about productivity or ways to save time in the future, leave a comment. Let me know. I would love to hear from you.
And as I’ve said in other videos where I usually talk about sales funnels, if you want me to consider answering questions about sales funnels or something related to digital marketing in your business, do leave a comment and I’ll be happy to consider it in a future follow-up video. All right?
My name is Matt Ack, as always, in the Matt Hat, delivering you your daily dose of Matt Hacks. Keep hustling, stay focused.