Zen To Done By Leo Babauta Book Review – Productivity, Goals, Tasks, Projects

Zen To Done Image Book Cover

Zen To Done
By Leo Babauta
Productivity, Goals, Tasks, Projects

“This book was written for those who want to get their lives organized and actually execute the things on their to-do list.”
– Zen To Done

About The Author – Leo Babauta

Leo Babauta is well known as a productivity expert and author. You may already be familiar with his work: he has previously authored three ebooks

Leo Babauta Author of Power Of Less Zen To Done Zen Habits

In addition, Leo Babauta is a published author – in 2009 he published his first physical book, The Power Of Less. Leo is a recognized expert in the field of productivity, and has built a large following of loyal readers with his philosophy of simple productivity.

Summary of Zen To Done

If I had to sum up Zen To Done in a single sentence I would say this: Zen To Done is a complete productivity system, implemented as a series of habit changes, to help you be more productive and get your tasks done.  This ebook is a dense, complete discussion that looks at productivity as a practical problem that every day people face.  Leo provides simple steps that you can implement one day at a time to change the way you approach your tasks, and by the end of the book you have completely changed your habits.

Some important benefits of Zen To Done include:

  • Simplifying your system
  • Addressing the most important items first
  • Focuses on one habit change at a time, to build confidence in yourself and the system
  • A real focus on getting the job done – and having the system stay out of your way

An added bonus, this is actually almost like two productivity systems in one – Leo discusses a system that he calls Minimalist Zen To Done. Zen To Done is already pretty stripped down and simple, but if you want to get started right away and perhaps don’t need a full productivity system, but just some habit changes to ensure you can get your task list accomplished and not forget what you have to do, then Minimalist Zen To Done might be sufficient.  I think for as many as 70-80% of people I know Minimalist Zen To Done is enough – and incredibly easy to implement.

Another useful item included in this ebook are five worksheets. These worksheets help you to plan:

  • Yearly Goal and Mantra
  • Weekly Goals
  • Weekly Routine
  • Daily Routine
  • Projects (Organized in Contexts)

These planning guides are a page each and very simple – but that’s all you need to get started with Zen To Done.

My Favorite Chapter and Quotes From Zen To Done

Leo’s book is all substance.   One of my favorite chapters is towards the end of the book, where Leo discusses his vision for a day with Zen To Done.  I enjoyed this closing chapter because it really pulls the whole system together in a believable story – you can see yourself implementing Zen To Done, and imagine how your day would be with it.

I often picture my whole day and sometimes even two or three days at a time if I have things scheduled properly.  Seeing Zen To Done laid out in a realistic setting was the perfect ending to this book.

Of course, as I was reading it I was scribbling down notes of some of my favorite quotes and nuggets of insight.  They won’t replace reading the book, but these will give you a flavor of what the book is about:

“Take as much stuff off your plate as possible, so you can focus on doing what’s important, and doing it well.”

“I am an advocate of gradual life changes, ones that will last for a long time, not just for a few weeks.”

“Without a routine, we have no good way of saying “no” to requests as they come in, and we are at the beck andcall of every person who wants our time and every website that wants our attention”

“Focus on those big tasks, that will make a name for you, that will generate long-term income, that will give you lasting satisfaction and happiness. Those are your Big Rocks. Eliminate the rest.”

“Simplify the inputs into your life, and you can simplify the outputs.”

“With a busy work week, and a busy life outside of work, the best systems tend to gravitate toward chaos.”

“Single-tasking and focus are the keys to execution.”

With a busy
workweek, and a busy life outside of work, the best
systems tend to gravitate toward chaos.


If you’re looking to jump start your productivity system, or are just looking for a way to get all your tasks organized and change your habits to be more productive, then Zen To Done is for you.  If you found Getting Things Done too complicated, too cumbersome or perhaps just too much to change all at once, then applying Zen To Done may be a better approach – Leo’s focus on simple productivity really comes through in this ebook, and because each habit change is so small it’s almost effortless.

On the other hand, if you are already organized and following a productivity system (and actually properly implementing it!) then you may still enjoy reading Zen To Done, but may not get as much benefit out of it as someone who wants to make real changes in their lives.

If you wish you could be more organized, more focused, and get more of your projects accomplished, then you would benefit from applying the simple changes in Zen To Done.

Click here to read more about Zen To Done now.

Chapter Listing

  1. Introduction
  2. Why ZTD?
  3. Overview – What is it?
  4. Minimal ZTD – the simpler alternative
  5. Forming the 10 Habits
  6. Habit 1: Collect
  7. Habit 2: Process
  8. Habit 3: Plan
  9. Habit 4: Do
  10. Habit 5: Simple, trusted system
  11. Habit 6: Organize
  12. Habit 7: Review
  13. Habit 8: Simplify
  14. Habit 9: Routine
  15. Habit 10: Find Your Passion
  16. A Day with Zen To Done
  17. ZTD FAQ
  18. Resources

Zen To Done
By Leo Babauta
Productivity, Goals, Tasks, Project