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Tick Achieve: How to Get Stuff Done


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Tick Achieve: How to Get Stuff Done

Kevin Duncan

ISBN: 978-1-841-12795-8 July 2008 Capstone 246 Pages

Out of stock
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How many times have you thought of something crucial to do and then forgotten it completely?

That's why people invented lists. And very useful they are too. If, and only if, they are used effectively. Put thirty things on a list, and it becomes too daunting. Put three things on, and there's no point in having a list. And so we have refined the art of list writing to allow for about ten or twenty things to do.

But in truth, most lists are rubbish. Randomly assembled, they do little to help the author navigate their way through the maze of stuff to do. After all, the only point of a list of things to do, is to get things done.

Tick Achieve does just that. It shows you how to get stuff done, with lots of little techniques tried and tested on scores of individuals over 25 years. This includes the cathartic and highly effective process of writing a list of what you are not going to do.

The author has trained hundreds of people in the art of getting stuff done. There is no Big Plan as such (contrary to what many other books suggest). It's all about details, and they can be very easy to implement. Little things can make a massive difference.

Once you get the hang of it, life gets easier. In a business context, and personally. You can sleep better and worry less. Concentrate on the things that matter, and leave out the trivia and irrelevant. Learn how to celebrate little bits of progress, look down your list, tick off a job well done, and shout Tick Achieve!



  • "I'm too busy, I'm in a meeting": professional time wasting and how to avoid it
  • Teams; what's the point?
  • The problem with the business world: other people
  • How to think more and worry less
  • How being organised lets you take it easy
  • Action not activity
  • Outcome not output
  • "If I do x, then y will happen...'


  • Permission to talk straight
  • Cliché and jargon red alert list
  • How to get to the point and get everything done quickly
  • Some ways to say no politely
  • How to liven up boring meetings
  • Spotting business bull****
  • Cutting through it and moving on


  • Less really is more
  • How eliminating issues gets to faster answers in business
  • Write a list of what you are not going to do
  • Improving your time management
  • Simplifying everything
  • Being totally objective about the past
  • How leaving it out forces the issue


  • How breaking big problems down into small tasks really works
  • How to eat an elephant - in stages
  • Knock 'em down one at a time
  • Rapid sequential tasking: an alternative to multi-tasking
  • The one-touch approach
  • Tick, achieve, move on


  • The value of energy: in business, and in life generally
  • Getting your attitude right
  • Why lazy people are unhappy people
  • Speed, that's the thing
  • Spotting pointless people
  • Ditching the time wasters
  • Don't waste time yourself: beware aimless net surfers
  • Cutting out the irrelevant stuff


  • Pre-arranging tripwires
  • Dealing with problems
  • Pretend the job is finished
  • It's urgent - pretend it's not
  • It's not urgent - pretend it is
  • The art of outthinking yourself


  • The art of great list writing
  • The Priority Matrix
  • The Growing Pane and how to use it
  • Tick achieve
  • So have you done it?

"I’m too busy, I’m in a meeting".

Business Intelligence?

Tick Achieve: what does it mean?

What does Tick Achieve not mean?

What is a tick?

What does achieve mean?

Achievement is not an endgame.

Professional time wasting.

Most businesspeople want to waste time.

Seeing through the red mist.

Addicted to work.

The modern curse of WIP.

Yes, but have you actually done it?

How to think more and worry less.

How being organized lets you take it easy.

Outcome not output.

Action not activity.

Cause and effect: first principles.

"If I do x, then y will happen"

Most of what people do has nothing to do with the main point.

What’s on your list?

How to Tick Achieve.

What’s to come?


People who are incapable of coming to the point are literally pointless.

The new world of waffle.

You can’t think straight if you can’t talk straight.

The curse of internal waffle.

Duckspeak and Birtspeak.

There’s waffle and there’s strategic waffle.

A strategy is simply when you have decided what to do.

The rise of Offlish.

Mission Incomprehensible.

The fine art of business fiction.

Spotting waffle.

Understand how language works.

Pleonasms and circumlocution.

Permission to talk straight.

If you must use jargon at work, do not use it at home.

The mate, mum or grandmother test.

How to talk straight.


Brevity equals intelligence.

Less really is more.

The Laws of Simplicity.

How eliminating issues gets to faster answers .

Does this need to be done at all?

Extraneous extraction.

How leaving it out forces the issue.

Reductionism: think harder and simplify everything.

Boxy minds and why they help.

Anti lists.

Tasks do not improve in quality if they are delayed.

Do less and get more done.

Towards a manifesto for Tick Achieve.

Say no more often.

Debate hard and early.

Have a system.

Once you have written a task down you can forget about it.

Trust your Depth Mind.

Kick bad habits.

Killer Questions.

How to leave it out.


Achievement does not have to be a relentless series of successes.

The sublime accountant.

Breaking big problems down .

How to eat an elephant .

Introducing mini steps.

Rapid Sequential Tasking.

The one-touch approach.

Never touch a piece of paper or email more than once.

An untidy desk used to betray disorganization - now technology hides it.

Think, do.

Possible meanings of think.

Possible meanings of do.

Improving your time management.

The curse of modern technology.

Managing machines.

Most of the people on any given street are moving without paying attention.

Attention deficit syndrome.

If you want to get something done, turn off your mobile or hand-held device.

Hello Personal Organizer, goodbye Personal Assistant .

The overnight test .

Haste and regret.

Emailed does not mean the job is done.

Compress, excess, and success.

How to practice one in a row.


To tick off is to move on.

The need for structure.

Boxy minds and phrenologists.

The art of great list writing.

The PERFECT system.

Personal priority.

Emotional importance.

Reason for doing.

Financial value to you.

Everyone else’s priorities.

Chronological sift.

Time shifts.


The Priority Matrix.

Bad lists and how to spot them.

Don’t talk about it: do it.

Talk can be the enemy of action.

The power of instinct.

Views of the experts .

Tick Achieve as a way of life.

Just because a task is started, it doesn’t mean it is finished.

A task is only finished when it is finished.

How to Tick Achieve.


Liveliness of the mind is more effective than any physical activity.

The rigour of vigour.

The more you do, the more you will get done.

Energy and the art of effective activity.

Getting your attitude right.

Walk TALL.

Conquering the quotidian .

Liberate more time for the things that you find enjoyable.

The joys of experimentation.

Laziness vs. liveliness.

When to do nothing.

The value of self-editing.

Quantity is no substitute for clarity.

How to look lively.


Knowing what you are unlikely to do can increase your likelihood of doing it.

The art of anticipation.

The excuse culture.

Glossing, glazing and glozing.

If you want to get something done, stick to the facts.

Facing up to your failings.

Being aware of your failings allows you to get more done.

The art of outthinking yourself.

Your locus of control.

Prearranging tripwires and fail-safes.



Everything last minute.

Forget things completely.

Can’t remember names.

Pretend the job is finished.

Winning sportspeople have already pictured themselves winning.

It’s urgent - pretend it’s not.

It’s not urgent - pretend it is.

Recommending ratiocination.

The one thing intelligent people know.

How to outthink yourself.


The fact that nothing is perfect needn’t stop you making progress.

Quantitative and qualitative perfection.

Just doing it or doing it well?

Progress not perfection.

Apogees and brobdingnagian achievements.

Moments of greatness.

Gaining control of yourself.

What’s happening?

Liminal limits.

Dyspeptic diversions.

How to make progress without perfection.


Tick Achieve for businesses.

Most organizations are not well organized.

Panjandrums and pirates.

The year that never is.

No company workforce ever works effectively for twelve months of the year.

A new manifesto for business.

Smaller chunks.

Long-term fiction.

Decision windows.

Are you deciding or just talking?

Crisis Bombs and how to predict them.

Simplify everything.

Monkey-free leisure time.

Useless brainstorms.

Meetings: who needs them?

The cult of the manager.

How to make business tick.


The complete Tick Achieve method.

What makes you tick?

It is your responsibility to get things done - not someone else’s.

Monkey on your shoulder?

Efficiency is a sophisticated form of laziness.

In search of unworried Completer Finishers.

How many hours in your life?

The one-page personal plan.

Planning your year.

Improve your ticker.

Three final critical questions.

How to make yourself tick.