My dad is really into personal productivity. His major goal is to create the perfect system for getting things done. In fact, when I came home from Europe he had a whole presentation on the right way to do time management. A major part of this is to work on small tasks called ‘NITs.’
What’s a NIT?
As I was writing this post, I had to ask my dad where he learned about a NIT. Unfortunately he couldn’t remember. He thinks it came from his days in the Army, but he’s not really sure. When I looked it up on Google, it seems like a nit is a type of head lice. Anyway for the sake of this post, a NIT is a single action that must be completed.
How is a NIT different from a task? Well, most tasks are part of a large project. Here you have to complete a step in order to work on the next one. With a NIT you only have to do one thing to cross it off your to-do list.
An Example of NITs vs. Tasks
Let’s give an example of both. Last week, I had a bunch of projects I needed to complete. One of them was to move into my new apartment. This is considered a single project because I had a large goal that’s broken down into individual tasks like:
- Sign the lease
- Pay the security deposit
- Call my landlord and pick up the keys
- Set up the utilities
- Rent a moving van
- Move into the apartment
- Unpack my things
- Etc, etc.
As you can see these are tasks that are completed in a systematic manner. This is different from a NIT because this project requires multiple steps instead of single action.
To further illustrate this concept, let me talk about some of the NITs I’ve completed this past week:
- Uploaded Pat’s Smart Passive Income Podcasts onto my ipod (Looking forward to these!)
- Contacted a guy in my niche who is killing it with ezine articles and asked if he’s willing to work with me
- Transferred notes from to-do list and added them to my list of long term projects
- RSVP’d my friend’s birthday for Saturday night
Now these are just a few minor chores I’ve had to do this week. A NIT could also be something major like, “clean out the garage.” The important thing to remember is its one singular action…not a series of steps like you’d have with a project.
Why YOU Should Create a NIT List
I feel it’s important to have a NIT list (Notice this rhymes with something else) that’s separate from your personal projects. The reason is simple. We all have those small annoying chores that take up precious mental energy. It’s hard to focus on the important “to-do” tasks when your brain is filled with a bunch of stuff that’s not relevant to the project at hand.
With a NIT list you can group all those individual chores and keep them apart from your projects. Then when you have a few minutes of spare time, you can cross off an item from this list.
For instance, the other day I was put on hold for 20 minutes with my electric company. Even though I couldn’t do any work, I managed to make this time a little productive by downloading Pat’s podcasts and sending a RSVP to that party.
I believe using a NIT list is an excellent way to be a little more productive. Using this on a regular basis helps you stay focused on the projects that really produce results in your life. What do you think?Take Action. Get Results.