According to Tony Schwartz, the key to getting things done is habit, ritual, and routine:
Most everyone I meet feels pulled in more directions than ever, expected to work longer hours, and asked to get more done, often with fewer resources. But in these same audiences, there are also, invariably, a handful of people who are getting things done, including the important stuff, and somehow still managing to have a life.
What have they figured out that the rest of their colleagues have not?
The answer, surprisingly, is not that they have more will or discipline than you do. The counterintuitive secret to getting things done is to make them more automatic, so they require less energy.
I wholeheartedly agree.
For instance, when we do pre-taped radio interviews for Spark, immediately after the interview, we record a “wrap” — a quick, 30 second web-only audio intro and extro. We tidy up the ends, then drop the audio file onto a script that encodes an MP3, adds metadata, uploads the interview to the web, and spits out a URL suitable for blogging. Because it’s part of the routine, and highly automated, putting full interviews online requires only a small amount of extra work.
In other words, it’s easy because it’s been ritualized, or (as I like to say) “baked into the process.”