Getting the monkey off your back

Most likely, you have the experience of waking up in the middle of the night, realizing that you forgot to do something. This is because the monkey is still on your back and you need to get rid of it.

Many people has heard or even read the book Getting things done (GTD) by David Allen. I have my own interpretation that I want to share. This is like a scaled down version for daily implementation. This is for common users, you do not need to be a nerd or having a PhD in management science to understand and adopt it.

I want to focus on quick wins. What people can benefit most without reading the whole book or make dramatic changes to their habits, their workflows or management style. This should work for individuals and at work.

This is almost like common sense !! Just that people may not realise that

I have 3 recommendations

task management

If a task takes less than 5 minutes to complete. Do it. Don’t even think about it, put that into your to-do list.

If a task has a deadline and you cannot complete it in 5 minutes, put that into your to-do list, clearly stating the deadline and when you intend to start the task. This can you your note book, your app but I would not suggest to just rely your head to remember this. At least for me, my brain is good for thinking, not for memorizing trivial things. This is usual a cause of stress. You may have the nagging worry when you have forgetting something. These days, software are really good for managing this category. There are many in the market such as todoist, things 3, ticktick, Microsoft todo, Reminders or even OmniFocus if you need heavy duty GTD features. There are plenty to choose from.

If a task has no definitive deadline but it has to be done, then put it into the “someday” category in your to-do list.

make daily habit

I actually suggest making 2 daily habits. I hope it will make sense once I explain the details

The morning ritual is to review your to-do list with deadline and “someday”. Whether you are using a physical notebook or app. You should check whether you have started the task that you were supposed to start. Then if you know your day has spare time, then tackle the “someday” list

Before you go to bed, jot down to your notebook or enter into your electronic list, all the things that are important to be remembered. This applies to new to-do list, new appointments you need to make or telephone number of a new contact. The reason of doing this is to offload what are temporarily stored on your brain and reduce stress.

delegate if possible

Sometimes, we have to realize, acknowledge that we cannot do everything on our own. We need to strike a happy balance of asking everyone else to do things for you and trying to solve the world’s problem by yourself.

Delegation is not a sign of failure or weakness. In fact, we are not good at doing everything, no one is. This is why I rather spend the money for someone to mow my lawn. The person mowing my lawn is happy for the money or for the physical exercise he or she can get from it. For me, I do not have to have an entry on my to-do list that I have to mow my lawn every Saturday. More importantly, I have gained one hour to do something that I can get better return for the time.

Asking your spouse or children to things that they can benefit from it would also help. They may gain ownership or sense of responsibility. Overall delegation is one way to get monkey off your back

Photo by Arindam Raha from Pexels

Photo by Arindam Raha from Pexels


Again, the above suggestions are not from rocket scientists. However, I believe the simple steps will go a long way to make your life easier and more productive.