Mike has a new Apple device despite his minimizing efforts and Joe has finally done something about his email issue.
For the last year I’ve been running my business from a MacBook Pro and an iPhone. No iPad. No Watch. And no external monitors.
I hear people refer to information overwhelm more often than I would expect. The context varies but the idea is the same: finding information on the internet is so easy that the person has a hard time deciphering what is right and what to question. Some even take it as far as to suggest Google is making us dumb.
One of the most difficult aspects of building websites or doing knowledge work full-time is the lack of motivation and pride that typically comes from physically seeing the work of your hands. Yes, it is possible to achieve this sense of accomplishment when working purely with information and computers, but it’s far from natural.
I have been hesitant to adopt the new automation methods in OmniFocus for iOS. The abilities of the new URL Scheme are exciting but there’s still quite a bit missing from the structure as it stands.
This week Mike and Joe talk about cutting back and simplifying life with Joshua Becker’s book The More Of Less.
One of the common threads in the books we’ve read for Bookworm is the impact of computers on our effectiveness, self-control, and overall happiness in life. Their prevalence and ubiquity in our world coupled with the newness and speed of their adoption has a lot of us wondering and speculating about the positives and negatives of this shift. So I would expect any book written in the last decade to incorporate thoughts on the topic.
When Smile introduced the new “Snippet As A Service” version of TextExpander, there was quite an outcry. To be completely honest, I was confused by and resistant to the change at the onset. However, if I look at the new version without allowing my previous experience to color my opinion, it is striking how similar it is to my other choices for software.
Joe gets too much email, Mike thinks he should hide his email address, and they both have an interest in saying “no” more often.
I follow specific websites less and less. I’m more inclined to follow people and services on Twitter and Medium that act as sources of curated articles. This gives me the ability to find sites I normally would have glossed over and still read my favorite writers.
It’s been about nine months since I released Working With OmniFocus. A lot has happened in that time and my systems around OmniFocus have morphed quite a bit. Throw in a pile of learning accrued from other projects and I have decided to make some significant changes to the book.
We all deal with something painful in our lives. And although they are hard to talk about, it’s these obstacles that strengthen us for the future.
TextExpander and OmniFocus are two of the first tools I install on any new device, so it’s no surprise that the two work well together. You may expect some kind of Applescripting or shell magic, but I keep this extremely simple and only use true text expansion with OmniFocus. I run the scripts manually or behind the scenes with Hazel.
When I consolidated a handful of my inboxes into my email it made me rethink my home screen. I had previously kept it slim but this takes it a step further and creates significant resistance to activities better left undone.
I have a lot going on with a number of new projects taking off. But with new doors opening, a few doors need to be closed.
Whether it’s writing or building a business, we all struggle to put in the work to create. Mike and Joe discuss going pro with their art and overcoming resistance.
Our ability to come up with ideas is like a muscle. If we work on it and develop the right habits, we get stronger and have more options available to us. But it’s difficult to build muscle if you don’t understand “how” the muscle works and the mechanics behind its improvement. Getting ideas is challenging until you learn what they are and how they work.
Every time I come across an article that compares applications or declares an app to be the best at something, I cringe. Very few of them explain the scenarios necessary to make their conclusion valid.
Whether it’s overcoming an addiction to email or sticking to a diet, The Willpower Instinct is excellent at helping you develop the self-control to accomplish your goals.
Welcome to Bookworm! To kick things off, we’ve reread a book we both rely on heavily in our lives, Getting Things Done by David Allen. This is the best discussion either of us have had about GTD in a long time.
Almost 2 months ago I embarked on a journey of reading a book every two weeks. Although there are a lot of personal benefits to doing this, it is primarily for a new podcast I’m doing with my good friend, Mike Schmitz.
I have detailed my writing process quite a bit lately, but that made me realize I have never pulled all the pieces of my podcasting setup together. Let’s change that.
In order to read a book every two weeks (and sometimes every week) I have had to make reading a practice that is incorporated throughout my day. Having a single time for reading isn’t enough and it has become a ritual I like to incorporate as many places as I can.
If you create content in any form and have dabbled in multiple mediums, you’re left with a decision about which method of consumption is best for the topic you want to present.
There are times when you realize a project needs to take a hard turn. Your original intent is good, but it doesn’t accomplish your goal as well as it might.
We’ve come a long way since we met five years ago.
For years I have wanted to read more books. Prolific readers rave about the benefits and world-renowned leaders often attribute their ideas and successes to their habit of reading, but to me the benefits of having read a lot of books was secondary to the innate sense that a realm of knowledge and experience was available to me, but I was missing it.
I’m pushing pen addict status. I don’t think I’m there yet, but I do have three fountain pens that I thoroughly enjoy using.
It’s a trap so easy to fall for: we find ourselves spending multiple hours fine-tuning, tweaking, and developing the simple structure that will automatically create more time and 3X our daily productivity.
When I made the decision to embrace pen and paper, the need for structure quickly showed its face. I wanted my writing to live in a single notebook, but that meant I needed a method of tracking progress on pieces without thumbing through the whole notebook.
I sometimes listen to books via audio but there are a couple flaws with audiobooks that have me avoiding them when I can.
The purpose of my inbox consolidation project is to cut back on the number of places I go to make decisions about my “open loops”. Between feeds, social media, and our always-on expectations, it becomes a habit and struggle to keep up with the mass of apps and information thrown at us. My theory was to create an aggregated inbox via email that combines these potentially overwhelming sources of inputs. The hope was to build a system that helps me scale back on the time and impulse to repeatedly process these inboxes.
One habit that Evernote taught me was that of creating databases, collections of text and pictures that revolve around a specific topic or item. I’m yet to export my Evernote data into my alternative storage system but I have solved my most glaring issue: searching and viewing these databases on iOS.
What you do for your morning and evening rituals doesn’t have to match what others do. The top 10 things that highly successful people do in the morning may derail your day entirely.
Keeping different types of information in separate apps or systems is sometimes worth the extra infrastructure. But there is also a lot of value and mental freedom in using an existing process for multiple forms of data.
As part of a new project that will be released in a few weeks, I recently reread Getting Things Done by David Allen. I found it interesting that David hasn’t changed his tune when it comes to information overload. Despite a dramatic increase in technology and the volume of inputs as compared to the original writing, he still advocates for the same capture mechanisms and clarification process.
Since starting to exclusively write with pen and paper, I’ve added a dedicated writing desk to my office. This week I explore the pros and cons of using multiple desks in my office.
When I started with GTD five years ago, I was certain it was the missing piece to my mental overwhelm puzzle. It was the five-step framework that would keep me from procrastinating and give me the motivation to accomplish everything to which I kept saying yes.
I began hand writing articles with a lot of skepticism mixed with hope. I didn’t know what to expect but I wanted a positive outcome. As much as I lean toward an integration of technology in every aspect of my work, I felt a sense that paper had benefits I had never understood.
Over the past month I’ve made some design changes and layout alterations here on the site. Some of that was purely for aesthetics and ease of use, but it also included some back-end alterations to allow guest posting. I’ve debated this for a long time and I’m finally ready to pull the trigger.
As I learn how to handle the good and bad that comes from being ADHD, I’ve learned the power of reading books over articles.
There’s something liberating about putting a name to something you didn’t understand. This was my exact experience when I learned I am ADHD. It gave me words to explain the way I think and those words have given way to a deeper comprehension of how I operate.
The longer I practice GTD principles, the more intentional I try to be with the time I spend updating my systems. I need my commitments to be thought through and my decisions to be made ahead of time. Knowing that I am prone to starting new projects before I have time for them leads me to a need for a recurring time of reevaluation.
It’s been a while since I’ve shared my entire GTD structure. And now that I’m rereading the book, I figured it would be a good idea to share what I’m currently doing before it changes.
There are times when you need a feature in software that doesn’t currently exist. Sometimes that leads to exploring alternatives or even creating your own, which is how inventors and entrepreneurs get a lot of their ideas.
I’ve been actively exploring why I am big into productivity for the past two months. In part, that led me to seeing a counselor and discovering a missing piece to my mental puzzle, even though it’s likely obvious to most.
I used to just pick up a book, start at the beginning, and read it to the end. I tried not to bend any pages and always used a bookmark to make sure the book still looked brand new when I was finished. I had an unwarranted fear of ruining my books because I held them in such high regard.
After almost three months of typing with a Dvorak keyboard, I’ve reached some conclusions about this QWERTY alternative. Like most comparisons of this nature there are some significant pros and cons between the two. But I don’t think it’s fair to draw any conclusions until you’ve experienced both sides.
Markdown has become a major part of how I do all of my writing despite being a web developer. It has a lot of benefits even if you know how to write the HTML itself.
I’m guilty of looking for ways to accomplish tasks on the computer long before it crosses my mind to try paper or the whiteboard. It’s almost embarrassing sometimes. The idea of going to a notepad as a first instinct is hard for me to grasp.
I write and talk about my OmniFocus Dashboard a lot. And that’s for good reason: it’s the central hub of my day-to-day work and the place where my decisions about the day surface.
Mike Schmitz joins me this week to talk through the use of analog tools and how that can help us understand when and where to use the appropriate digital tool.
After working on multiple sides of agriculture and seeing how the back-end of the food industry operates, I’ve come to the realization that there is some really bad information out there about agriculture and how we decide what to eat.
Ever since I published an article about leaving Evernote I’ve received numerous recommendations for alternatives. It seems there is an endless supply of catchall buckets that you can drop information into. I appreciate all the ideas, but it isn’t the point.
Here’s an update on the new TextExpander pricing and a deep dive into why I wrote a script that shuffles my tasks. That’s right. There’s a big benefit to randomizing a task list.
We all have those projects that we know we should be working on, but without a deadline or someone relying on you it’s hard to keep it going. Things come up and the easy tasks to put off are the ones without urgency pushing them on.
I ran across this idea when reading an article by Derek Sivers. The premise is simple: creating a frequently updated page to show what the person is currently doing. The concept really resonated with me, and I expanded on it a bit.
I go on a rant about building websites instead of apps. That leads me to a subsidiary rant about the polarizing changes to TextExpander.
In a previous role I spent some time researching project management software and evaluating it for company use. One of the turn-offs that my end users brought up was an extreme distaste for running a stopwatch on the tasks being tracked. I get it. No one wants to be stuck to a clock, especially when those reviewing the numbers are your managers.
It never fails. I sit at our kitchen table over breakfast and mention to my wife that it’s going to snow that day. The first question she asks? “How much?” I don’t know! All I know is that my alert says it’s supposed to happen!
When you have a large amount of data available, it’s easy to be paralyzed in making a decision about how to analyze it. The same is true when you have a lot of tasks and little clarity.
No application setup is complete without tweaking the settings to your liking. This is the power (and struggle) of OmniFocus. Some of the available options make drastic changes while others lead to subtleties you may not notice.
There are times when I want to look back and see what I did on a specific day. This is extremely helpful when I need a record for a client, but no matter the reason, I find myself referring to my task history frequently.
In this episode, I go through the ideas behind agile development and applying them to get a minimum viable product out the door. This is exactly how OmniGroup has now gotten to the point of bringing themes back to OmniFocus. Oh, and I completely missed daylight savings.
I’ve got a bonus for you this week: my Alfred theme. I’ve tweaked the look of Alfred quite a bit over the few years I’ve been using it. I wanted something simple and unobtrusive, but I also wanted it to be compact and cram a lot of data into a small space. If that sounds appealing, give it a try.
My Mac is useless without Alfred. That’s no joke. I try to use my wife’s profile once in a while. It’s painful for me and hilarious for her to watch. I keep hitting the Alfred shortcuts and staring at it like it’s broken.
Now that I’ve moved away from Evernote, the primary way I store information is through text files. It’s taken me a while to get it nailed down but I’ve managed to simplify the number of apps I use and the flow of text across my devices.
I’ve slowly drifted away from the mission that gets me excited each day. And that’s due to a lack of focus and alignment with my goals.
You’re reading them right now. And the medium that they arrive in will change their weight. Words. Words in email have less impact than a handwritten letter. And a conversation over coffee has more sway than a phone call.
Almost daily, I get an email from someone interested in how I have this site set up. “It’s not WordPress and Disqus. What are you using?” We can talk about that, but why not take it a few steps further? Let’s go from domain registrar to the reader.
I reflect on my tendencies to fall into a procrastination pit. And a reader emailed me about web designers posing as developers so I go off on a rant.
Hobbies are great candidates for GTD. With all the commitments we tend to take on, free time to spend on our hobbies can be elusive. That means it’s helpful to have a system in place that keeps track of where we were and what comes next.
To be honest, I struggled with this article. I wanted to write it but wasn’t sure how to convey what I was thinking. GTD has helped me as a man more than I realized but the impact has been implicit, not obvious.
Let’s talk about lurkers. Well, I’ll talk about them. You can just listen. And that’s okay because there’s a lot of value in lurking.
One of the greatest things a dad will ever hear is the sound of his kids squealing in joy while they play games together. It’s energizing and pure pleasure to see the delight and sparkle in their eyes as they ask to “do it again!” Those are the memories that we hope to multiply.
I find it easy to let my marriage slide. We love each other so it should come naturally, right? Roses every Valentine’s, daily love notes, and genuine conversations each night. If that’s second-nature to you, I envy you.
Coming up with ideas doesn’t have to be hard. There are four ways I create new ideas. And I had a moment of insight about being content at a birthday party for our girls.
It never fails. I’ll be mowing the lawn or riding my bike and that’s when it hits me. There’s nothing I can do about it. I wish it would leave me alone until I could do something about it, but there I am; trying to figure out how I’m going to write those lines down.
Most of the time when I’m discussing GTD with a friend or online it’s in the context of getting more work done more efficiently. I agree that this is the easy target for the framework; our jobs and the work we do each day are the most pressing and stressing in our lives. We need as much help as we can get to stay on top of it.
With my recent move away from Evernote, I’ve made the decision to leave my project codes behind. And although there are serious competitors to Evernote, I’m staying away from them.
Having young kids has made us think consciously about the traditions we want to pass down to them. What do we want them to learn? Will our traditions help them see the importance of our view of the world? Are they fun?
I’ve been a supporter of Evernote for a long time. I’ve written a number of articles on it and convinced a number of friends and family to start using it. But I’ve run into some issues with it and it’s come time to throw in the towel. I’m leaving Evernote.
Leaving space around the edges of your day can have a major impact on your productivity and happiness throughout the day. Also, I’m glad I don’t have an Apple Watch.
I learned about creating rituals after I read The Power of Full Engagement over a year ago. Since that time I’ve been figuring a few things out about building and implementing energizing rituals.
You’re cruising along and your bank account is looking good. But then, surprise! You get the bill for your car insurance premium and everything is out the window.
Since I started my business I’ve developed an addiction to checking numbers. But I watched a webinar last week that really changed the game for me and has me hand writing my schedule for the day.
It’s easy to present data in a summarized table, but what about turning it into a data visualization?
When I started my business, I wasn’t in a place to say no to anything. I needed to provide an income, and every little bit helped. But recently I’ve had to start deciding which activities are most worth my time and which ones need to be put aside.
I’ve found that I have a lot of reasons to leave Evernote. In this episode, I talk through those and give a few updates to the articles I’ve written recently.
Lately I’ve been tracking my time and starting to correlate it with dollars earned. The idea is to help me decide which types of work are the most valuable. This is a look at how I’m doing the time tracking portion using Launch Center Pro.
It’s time. I’ve been talking about starting a new community for a couple weeks now and we are moving forward.
My Dvorak typing speed is picking up and I’ll be launching a new discussion in two days. Once that’s out, I’ll be going on a code freeze.
When I started my business I made the shift from three 27” monitors to just a laptop screen. That shift has taught me a few things about how I work.
Dictation is becoming more and more commonplace, and as the software behind it continues to get better we’ll likely see it become a bigger part of our daily lives.
I’m looking for a good way to promote online discussions. I share my idea about it and give an update on Dvorak. And what about masterminds?
Nerdy Mac users are known for customizing their machines. Between keyboard shortcuts, Spaces, and third-party apps, you can effectively set up a computer that is perfect for you and unusable by someone else.
I’ve had an interest in the Dvorak keyboard layout for a couple years now. The concept makes sense to me and I’m finally doing something about it.
After an awesome break for Christmas and the New Year, I’m back with a slight change and format to talk about my switch to Dvorak, the bloated web, and resolutions.
With 2015 completed, we’ll start seeing numbers roll in summarizing what happened throughout the year. So I thought I would pull together this site’s numbers for 2015. It’s been a ride.
A lot of time and effort go into writing a book. It gets even harder when you need to collaborate with your editor and make revisions.
It takes time to develop consistency in a task management system. I forget. I climb back on the horse, but fall off again. It looks easy - and it is at times - but other times it feels like one more item on my to-do list.
Take time off this holiday season. And try not to spend too much time doing support for family. Also, don’t miss out on the discount for Working with OmniFocus.
In previous roles I worked on data analysis and visualization. When you boil it down, that just means I was well versed in Excel and building charts.
I’m thrilled to give you a gift for Christmas this year. I’ve wanted to do something like this for a long time and the opportunity is finally here.
Location based lists have a lot of uses. In this episode, I talk about the main ways I use them and how they’ve helped me in the past. There’s also some follow-up to my time tracking mechanism.
We’re sneaking up on the annual goal setting push. It’s exciting to sit down and dream about what you want to do next year. But what if your life moves and changes too fast for annual goals?
I currently have 217 snippets in TextExpander. That’s likely not a big number for some people, but for my forgetful mind it’s a lot. To keep them straight, I use a simple nomenclature for my snippet abbreviations.
The way people structure their morning routine can easily dictate your motivation for the day. But what happens when you can’t control the circumstances around your morning? What about kids?
Ideas are sometimes hard to come up with. But what happens when you have so many that you get lost? You have all these ideas begging you for attention and it becomes unclear which ones you should take on and which ones you should let go.
I had never thought of myself as a creative person until recently. Math and science have always been my strengths, so the arty side never took center stage.
I’m starting to track my time. I’ve struggled with this in the past, but now I want to tie it to dollars. I want to know where my time is best spent.
I have more ideas than I can keep track of. And this is the whole of my creative process from idea development to storage.
It’s time for a confession: I’m addicted to my phone. I want to check Twitter every five minutes and find myself refreshing Feedly every ten. And I hate it.
A great asset behind OmniFocus is the community of people willing to share and ask questions; and one place to enjoy the resources this community creates is at Learn OmniFocus.
A quick overview of how I see the higher Horizons of GTD and why they are important. Also, I talk about why I think our babysitter is awesome.
Numerous times I’ve said that being able to put off work is an important step of being productive. And when you have a big push, it’s even more important to stop.
In the two days before this book launched I checked off 387 tasks in OmniFocus. And there’s no other tool I’d rather do it with.
Before I got into OmniFocus, I used Evernote for GTD. I had a few different structures, but I think I ended with a simple setup that worked well for me before I outgrew it.
There are a lot of productivity bloggers and podcasters out there. And we’re all looking for ways to get better, faster, and create higher quality products. That’s pretty obvious when you read our articles.
I’ve avoided ads in my creative work from the beginning. But there’s a lot of pressure to use them as a way to make an income. In this episode, I explain why I don’t plan to change.
This website has run on WordPress and Google Analytics from day one and they’ve both treated me pretty well. But I’ve started to see a need for more flexibility in the site, so it’s time for a big change.
I can’t believe I’ve started journaling every day. I’ve always equated journaling with writing in a diary, which is not for me. But the effects of not journaling caught me off-guard.
I’ve started waiting to upgrade operating systems and hardware when new releases are available. My impulse is to upgrade immediately, but I’ve put it off for a variety of reasons.
When I was 16 I bought my own Compaq laptop. Remember those? I had been using the family computer quite a bit, but this was my own computer. That was the beginning of my journey with technology.
People are sometimes scared to get into coding because they think it’s complicated to learn. It’s not complicated, so don’t be one of those people. In this episode I talk about how I got into development (with no schooling) and how I pick up new languages.
When I switched to the MacBook Pro, I also switched from using two computers to one. I know, I know, I was spoiled. But it made my life a lot easier and helped me accomplish a lot more.
When you have a new project that you’re doing research on, you need a great way to grab and store that research. Referencing it later can be invaluable and save you the trouble of doing that same research multiple times.
Every Friday morning I do my Weekly Review. I do my Monthly Review on the first of the month and my Annual Review on the first of the year. How do I get OmniFocus to play nicely with this?
If you’ve made the decision to get into task management, congratulations! But you need to be intentional with getting started. Here’s a look at how I helped my wife put together her pen and paper system the first time.
I’ve written about my use of Sublime Text for writing, but I didn’t share how I manage the edits from my editor.
Creating a checklist for the first time isn’t always easy. And I did it wrong when I created the initial list for this podcast. I did figure out a better way, though.
I love it when my systems do things automatically. In this case, I can capture an idea for a someday/maybe list and it ends up in the right place in OmniFocus.
Ugh. Dealing with water coming into the family room. And of course, I hurt myself and had to have surgery. And surgery leads to pain pills.
In today’s world it’s easy to connect with more than 150 people. This is how keep up with 300+.
If you go through a job change, you’ll need to change your GTD contexts. I walk you through my recent job transition and what I did to determine my new contexts.
I like to share articles on Twitter. And I want to make sure I give the author credit in the tweet. But it’s not always easy to find their Twitter handle.
I pulled my computer mouse out of my bag and the first thing he said was, “What on earth is that thing?” It was yet another confirmation that I’m strange.
Last week, I mentioned I had purchased a new MacBook Pro. Instead of the migration process, I set it up as a new machine. That means I had to decide which apps needed to be installed first. Simple, right? Well, not so much.
I’ve recently undergone a work transition that led me to purchasing a new MacBook Pro. My traveling work machine was a MacBook Air and I’ve found a few differences in the two that make me wish I’d done this earlier.
Task managers. There are so many options available and it’s painful making a decision, especially when it takes real dollars to get into them.
As a homeworker, traveling has to be simple. If I need to connect with coworkers in person, I’m either on an airplane or in a rental car. In an effort to make it easy on myself, I have a backpack that serves as a mobile office.
I’ve been struggling with goal-setting lately, enough that I abandoned my annual goals altogether. But I’ve found that I want something to help guide the systems that I’m putting in place.
A while back I read The Power of Full Engagement. The premise of the book is energy management and what you do each day to gain or use energy.
Memory is a limited resource. And we usually ask it to do too much - from what task to work on to our kid’s birth date to a new business strategy.
At 13,000 notes, I like to think I’m a big user of Evernote. From meeting notes and travel receipts to manuals and quotes, I keep a lot in Evernote.
It’s been a little over a year since I started blogging and I’ve had a number of folks ask me what tools I use to write my articles. This is an outline of my process from idea to publish.
Remember the goal setting push at the beginning of the year? I’ve done it professionally and personally every year for four years and it can be motivating.
With one of the recent releases of OmniFocus for iOS, we were given the ability to rearrange perspectives on the OmniFocus home screen. Of course, I geeked out on this and created a custom view. Here’s what it looks like.
When I was getting started with GTD (Getting Things Done), I wondered what a week looked like for someone who used it. I never found anything along those lines and I recently had a week where I flexed it pretty hard. So I decided to give you a snapshot into my crazy week and see my GTD system in action.
I read a lot of articles about time management and how to “reclaim an hour a day!” Most of those seem unrealistic. But in an attempt to find more time I discovered a single area that needed a lot of improvement.
When I started writing for this blog, it was easy. It was new and shiny and I wanted to sit down in the mornings and write for it. Eleven months into it, it’s harder.
If you’ve been to this site in the past, you probably saw the email sign-up form slide up in the bottom right-hand corner. If you’ve been here on a mobile device, you saw the sign-up bar across the bottom. They’re both gone.
For a long time, I kept my active Next Actions in Omnifocus and my potential (someday/maybe) actions in Evernote. It worked, but it felt a bit cluttered so I moved it all into Omnifocus.
Much like a morning routine, we all have an evening routine. Oftentimes, this means setting out clothes for tomorrow or getting the kids to bed. I do those as well, but I’ve also found satisfaction in reflecting on the day to put it into perspective.
Everyone has a morning routine of some kind - even if it’s just “get up before the kids.” But I think it should be intentional and you can find yours by experimenting and learning what others do.
I’ve always struggled with the contexts portion of GTD. I’ve tried tools, locations, energy levels, times of the day, mindsets, and on and on.
In our digital age, we tend to receive a large number of files via email. And we need to review these files or make changes to them. As an Omnifocus user, that means I need to create tasks out of these files.
I was enjoying one of our first daddy-daughter dates. Of course, it was at a coffee shop. It was great! I drank my coffee and Cutie watched the constant movement of people between bites of her cookie.
I don’t have a daily commute but I still find myself in the car having ideas from time to time. I don’t want to lose those ideas, but I shouldn’t be typing into my phone or writing things while I’m driving.
We do it almost every day. We communicate with another person using a screen of some kind - social media, texts, emails, instant messages.
There is no shortage of articles on the web. Reading (or at least skimming) hundreds of articles can be done easily in less than an hour. But have you ever tried keeping a record of all those articles?
If you’ve read one article on this blog, you’ll know that I’m a productivity nut. But there’s a side to productivity that I haven’t seen mentioned very often - life.
One of the first notes many Evernote users create is a checklist of some kind. It could be a grocery list, a to-do list for the day, or a morning routine.
I finished (second) breakfast and sat down at my computer to pull together analytics on one of my company’s websites. At that moment, a coworker texted me a question. I don’t remember what the question was about, but I do remember that it was almost an hour before I managed to get back to work.
Have you ever had a feeling that someone is uncomfortable in a conversation? Were you able to point out the nonverbal cues that gave you that feeling?
Evernote is a handy tool with a lot of ways to use it – so many that it gets really hard to figure out how to set it up.
An infinity app is one with a never-ending stream of some kind. It’s an app that always has new updates for you to consume.
It’s resolution time! Or not. There are a plethora of articles telling you to set goals as opposed to resolutions. The term doesn’t really matter. They’ll fail without a plan behind them.
An inbox can be your mailbox, your email inbox, and even a physical tray. But those aren’t the only places that stuff lands.
The difficult part of Getting Things Done (GTD) for me is contexts. What lists should I be using when I’m completing tasks?
We are taught to accomplish tasks. In school and work, grades and reviews measure our ability to accurately complete an assignment.
There are a lot of articles about setting up GTD. But I don’t see many that show what a typical day looks like when you adopt the framework.
Deciding what to work on can be simple – it doesn’t have to be stressful. GTD can help you make the decision quickly and easily.
The Weekly Review is the most important part of the GTD process. Without it, you’ll have loose ends and you’ll no longer trust your system.
Organize. The favorite step of most GTDers. This is where you set up tools for tracking each bucket from the Clarify step.
A lot of people write things down but fail to do anything with it afterwards. It just dies on the paper. Why write it down if you’ll never look at it again?
Capture is the process of collecting ideas and actions. You’re accumulating task items, reference material, or even trash and putting them in an inbox of some kind.
Why do we think we can manage our lives with only our memory? It’s certainly flawed. It doesn’t even remind us of what we need when we need it. It waits until we’re in bed and can’t do anything about it.
It’s 4:55 am. I roll over to check the clock and realize I’m awake before my alarm goes off. That’s always a good feeling. But why am I awake at this time of day?
The mornings are getting colder and the animals are preparing for winter. Another weather change is coming. And it’s a great reminder that we, too, should be preparing for the next season.
There’s a lot of advice on the web about managing your time. Everyone seems to have the golden ticket that will pull time out of thin air. But what if time isn’t the key to being fully engaged?
Last week I wrote about managing information for projects. In that post I revealed the project codes I use, and now we’re going to talk about how to create them.
Using David Allen’s definition, a project is anything that requires more than one action to complete. This can range from building a new web application to replacing the refrigerator filter.
Last Tuesday, Apple unveiled their new Smart Watch— the Apple Watch. It came with a lot of fanfare and definitely looks compelling. But is it really going to be worth it?
Naming and organizing files is extremely important. In today’s world, we can keep track of thousands of files. And with versioning getting to be a big deal, we have to have a way to keep track of it all.
The search capabilities of many tools today is impressive. We can search titles, notes, filenames, and even the contents of a file. But if you’re searching for a tag, it can give you a lot more than you expected.
Recently a coworker confronted me on something I struggle with. Communicating. I’m introverted and love to come up with ideas, but I’m terrible at deciding when to share those ideas.
We’ve always done it that way. But it works. Why change it? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. When I hear these phrases I cringe. Yes, it works. Yes, it’s a smooth system. Yes, we’re familiar with it. But that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t change.
I’m terrible at estimating time. I always think that I can complete more than I truly can. I throw 8 things on a list for the day and go. I can complete them all… or not. If I’m honest with myself, I know that I can’t do it all.
I started keeping lists a few years ago. I had a lot going on and forgetting things was becoming normal. I needed a way to manage tasks since my brain was terrible at it.
How many times have you closed up shop for the day and wondered what happened? Ever get up in the morning and ask yourself what you should do today?
I had just introduced myself to the executive leading the meeting. He handed me his business card and I quickly snapped a picture of it with my phone. A few seconds later his phone dinged. He glanced at his phone, then looked at me in shock.
Do you ever find yourself typing the same thing over and over again? Stuff like an email address, the date, a URL, or even a template of some kind? If so, a text expansion app might be just what you need.
OmniFocus is a powerful tool designed to follow David Allen’s Getting Things Done. I go into the details of GTD here but the simple version is that it’s a method of getting things out of your mind and into a trusted organizational system. The main purpose is to free up your mind to have ideas, not hold them.
Ideas and reminders come to us when we’re not ready for them or when we can’t do anything about them. We remember to clean out the gutters when it’s raining. An idea for a new website comes to us when we’re eating dinner. What do you do with those?
Have you ever intentionally left your phone in the car while on a date? Was it freeing or did it feel like prison? Have you ever, like me, found yourself on Twitter while at the dinner table? Was that any different?
I used to pride myself in having one of the fastest email replies in the office. If you sent me an email, I was back to you in less than 10 minutes. Sometimes 5.
I didn’t want to write this post. I don’t want you to read it. My wife wanted me to write it. I hesitated. Writing it forces me to admit that I’m picky and maybe neurotic. So it’s probably a good thing that I did write it.
We have everything at our fingertips. We can look something up instantly and connect with almost anyone at any time.