What do you do when you have a thought or idea pop into your mind that you want to remember? Before my adventure into the realm of productivity began I was the type of person that would make a “mental note of it”, letting it then float around in my head until it would dissolved into a thousand disparate pieces, or simply obliterated altogether. That thought, that ground-breaking idea was never to be heard from again.
It’s here! It’s here! It’s been a long time in the making, but my new book, Evernote Every Day, is finally here and available for you. It’s been quite the journey getting to this point. The book is the result of years of researching, testing, tweaking and analysis of how I use Evernote, every day.
This is a guest post by productivity guru and good friend, Daniel Gold.
Achieving a “mind like water” and “balance” as time management guru, David Allen suggests in his book, “Getting Things Done”, is sometimes a whole lot easier said than done. To truly achieve productivity bliss, it requires something much more than “the right app” – it requires dedication and unbridled tenacity to achieve your goals.
If you’re using any kind of task management tool you have probably noticed a section for overdue tasks – tasks that you had set a date to complete, but for whatever reason you weren’t able to get to them. Without conscious action these overdue tasks will continue to multiply, like a virus, and the more they do, they more they distract your mind from what you should be doing as you begin to stress about them more and more. If you’re using the age-old pen and paper task list method then the overdue tasks are either whatever is left over each day and/or those tasks that you find yourself writing at the top of the list on each new day.
There are ways to handle overdue tasks and to keep their virus at bay, but first it’s good to understand how you work and how your tasks go from “upcoming” to “today” to “oh my god, now it’s overdue”.
If you work for a company then chances are that you’re going to need to travel somewhere, some day, for something. And when you do you will typically be able to claim back work-related expenses that you’ve incurred.
So often you see people getting back into the office after coming back from a meeting, with a taxi receipt in their hand and then stash the receipt somewhere in the back of their desk drawer. Then, when the accounts people start hounding everyone to submit their expense claims this same person is floundering around digging through piles of notes, junk, cables, dust and a half-eaten Vegemite sandwich from last week looking for any old and faded receipt they can find. And it’s normally a bonus if they can find all of them.
I forget things. It’s just what I do. I have decided my brain is better at figuring things out than remembering anything. Which is a bit crap since the brain is where all memories are (lucky there are these things called “cameras”). So, because my brain doesn’t like to remember things, I rely on more permanent storage systems instead.
Before having a “system”, I would think of something I needed to do – it would just “pop” into my head as an idea or something that really needed attention – then I would really try to concentrate and commit that action to memory, hoping I could recall it when I was in the right place at the right time. Or, I’d turn to the person next to me and say “remind me to…”. How many times do you think either of these things worked? You wouldn’t even need one hand to count it.
So I had to come up with new, more permanent and reliable ways to remember all those things that I needed and wanted to get done. I think this was the start of my journey into the world of productivity applications, “getting things done” (GTD) and all that good stuff you can find around the web.
Here are three things I use to capture tasks, ideas and everything else, so that I can easily get to it when I need to, wherever I might be.
It’s here! After months of writing I am extremely happy to announce that Wunderbook: Life Organized with Wunderkit is now available!
When Wunderkit was launched at the beginning of 2012 I noticed there was a lot of confusion about how to use it and when. I put this down to the fact that people were expecting Wunderkit to be “Wunderlist 2.0″. Wunderkit is actually a very different tool and when used correctly, it will definitely help you organise all areas of your life!
We all have a mountain of things to do. Some things need to be done right away, some tomorrow and some can be done later, as long as they all get done. But what if they don’t? What happens if the things you were supposed to do today end up slipping through the cracks? Tomorrow’s agenda then grows in size and there’s a bigger chance of even more things slipping out to the next day. After a couple of days, your agenda becomes too big to manage and so it’s discarded. Your life is thrown into chaos as you no longer plan your days and activities.
One of the key principles for success, in just about anything, is measuring. Simply tracking achievements against estimates. Knowing what you’ve done helps you to make better decisions going forward. And the same is true for how and when you get things done. Adding your tasks to a list or system and ticking them off when their done is great for the “doing”, but won’t help you do more and work smarter.
There are a lot of applications out there that are aimed at helping you be more productive, either individually, or as a team. However, there are just as many, or maybe more, that make you unproductive. In today’s day and age, the biggest killer of productivity is email.
In my time sitting a desk in a 9-5 job, I’ve learned a couple of very effective strategies for managing email and the time spent in the inbox.