How To Finally Get Things Done!

I want to come clean and be real honest with you. I struggle with to-do lists, productivity programs, and time management plans. While all these tools are great, at the end of the day, I feel like a failure more often than not. I truly struggle with how to get things done.

It’s not that I don’t try hard, but distractions get in the way.

You see, I have a lot of disruptive habits that rear their ugly heads all throughout the day. If I come near a computer screen, I automatically have to log in and check Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and of course, E-mail. If I hear a beep on my phone, I instinctively must pick it up and see what tweet, post, or e-mail has just come in. If I walk past a candy bowl, I must pick up a few and take them with me.

I know I’m not alone at this. You may find yourself succumbing to the same temptations.

Habits are formed when a cue causes us to CRAVE a reward. The minute we respond to the cue a familiar routine starts until we receive our reward.

Advertisers, marketers, and software companies know this about us, and put Cues in our way all day long.


Walk into your local mall. You’ll see temptations in all of the front windows, but the most insidious thing is the smell of the Cinnabon store at the end of the entrance hall, with the fan blowing the smell of hot and delicious cinnamon rolls to everyone who walks in. If this doesn’t get you, try driving down the street past the lovely green mermaid of Starbucks, or the tempting Golden Arches of McDonalds.

Once you see, hear, or smell the CUE, the craving will start. If you don’t get the intended reward, you’ll get frustrated. Sheer willpower can overcome some of these, but if you aren’t careful, you’ll be sucked in.

These habit loops play in our heads constantly… Cue, Craving, Routine, Reward.

I decided it was time to take action.

Instead of being a victim of these productivity killing bad habits I would create a new habit.

A habit so strong, it will overpower these common ones.

A habit built around a strong craving we all have.

A craving so powerful it will empower us.

Day after day, it will guide us.

Through thick and thin.


Yes ladies and gentlemen, I’ve taken our popular daily planner and done something so simple, yet so remarkable, it will take this lowly piece of paper to new heights.


This change is subtle but powerful.

daily-planner-checkboxes-how to-get-things-done

I’ve taken our top six priority boxes and put a check box in each.

When you have accomplished a task you now have a place TO CHECK IT OFF!

This simple box will empower you through the day. Each time you see a task, the checkbox will instill a craving so strong you must take action. You will not be able to do another thing until you can take a pen and put an X in the box.

You’ll start with the top left box and work your way down. Each task has it’s own checkbox. Task after task will be accomplished. These insidious little boxes will drive you nuts if they aren’t filled in in a timely basis.

Your productivity will soar!

But that isn’t the best thing. I have one more driving force that will power you through the most difficult task. You see, when you get all six checkboxes filled in, you can go to the top of the document, where all the world can see, and click the WIN Checkbox!


You have WON the day!

You can fire up We are the Champions and dance around your desk.

You have done something so remarkable that it is worth celebrating.

You have completed all of your top six tasks for the day!

Finally an answer to the question: How To Get Things Done!

Everyone loves to win!

You can do this!

Download the TOP SIX DAILY PLANNER FOR WINNERS and get started!


Bonus: I’ve also added a daily diet tracker to the bottom. If you are counting calories, carbs, or weight-watcher points, you can track them here and WIN again!


Power Users: To get the most out of this planner be sure to pick up Charles Duhigg’s great new book, The Power of Habit and download our helpful Habit Change Worksheet.

Question: What tasks will this allow you to accomplish?


  1. says

    Hi Richard,
    Nice site! I like your style Richard. You break everything down to the last detail. This will engage the viewer since you bring it to life by picture, written word and a call to action.

    By the way my I have not launched my website yet as I have only secured the domain. This is on the to do list :)

  2. says

    Breaking out of bad habits is hard to do but creating new habits and implementing them is equally as hard. We are creatures of habits and when homeostasis kicks in, that’s when it really tests you as a human being. It’s great you have created a plan to keep yourself in track. I also think celebrating your small successes is a great motivator since we tend to be hard on ourselves a lot. Consistency is key and once you have it, it will be autopilot :)

  3. says

    I love check boxes; I’ll try it out today and see the results. One warning though: you may be tempted to put easy and very achievable tasks, just so you can feel the adrenaline feeling of checking off. :)

  4. Heather says

    Thank you so much for this post! I often make lists with circles to check off items when they are completed, but my lists are always too long and your idea of getting to check off “win” at the end of the day is a perfect motivator for me. As a full-time stay at home mom, freelance writer and farmer’s wife, it is impossible for me to even come close to getting everything done on my lists and I have struggled with feeling like a failure every night because so much is still left undone. The idea of choosing 6 top priorities and calling it a win if they are done may just save my self-esteem and sanity. Thanks again!

    • John Richardson says

      You’re welcome, Heather. It’s funny but I really look forward to checking off those boxes. Small ‘wins’ throughout the day.

    • Karolina says

      Heather, I’m also mom, still working. But with one 2,5 year kid and another that is comming soon, I was looking for some software solution for my phone. There are lot of to-do list apps, eg. Evernote, Remember the milk, Wunderlist, or new one that is going to be launched soon I’m assure that once you use it, you won’t stop because it saves your time much more. Have you tried apps?

  5. Albert E says

    I’m right there with you. I do have the same habits but like to change it so I don’t go off on a tangent. This is a great example to follow but I might tweak it a little since I have two little kids running around while I type this comment.

  6. Jaeger Jermaine says

    Thanks for this post. This is useful for a person like me who gets easily distracted by the temptation of Facebook and Twitter. I have tried listing down my things to do but I always end up unsuccessful. I’ll try your approach though. It might be useful for me :)


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