How to focus in a startup? Make a daily “not until”.

Thursday Mar 6, 2014 by Scott Weller – CTO & Co-Founder, SessionM

At the end of every work day, before my head hits the pillow, I document all major objectives and accomplishments by day in a file called ~/sweller.plan. Any mission yet to be accomplished makes its way into the plan for the next day.

It makes me feel good, no matter how challenging the day was. I find it very calming and a good way to decompress.

Religiously, my .plan is the first thing I look at every morning when I’m sipping my cup of coffee. With this I assemble my “not until” list.

My “not until” list is a list of duties and tasks that must be done before I take on what I perceive to be less important things. Before I scan Twitter, before I start responding to email, before I pull up that interesting article everyone in the office is sharing, I focus on the big impact items first — the ones that drive the most value when accomplished.

This routine has kept a bunch of things in check for me.

1. It helps me to avoid falling into the trap of using email as a productivity tool.

2. It keeps me focused on the most important tasks at hand.

3. It creates a sense of history, revealing to me the missions that are truly driving momentum and making an impact.

While I originally got the name “.plan” from John Carmack, my approach is different in execution.

If you are starting a company or are working for a startup, I highly recommend adopting a regiment like this.

It’s extremely helpful in keeping you focused on the mission.

Scott Weller is a Co-Founder & CTO of SessionM.  You can find this blog post, as well as additional content on his blog located here.  You can also follow Scott on Twitter (@sweller) by clicking here.

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