You see, I’m a list person. Lists here, lists there. Lists for this, lists for that. I had so many lists, I needed to have a list to list all my lists on. I was all listed-out. But thankfully, there are many productivity tools available today for the GTD inclined.
I Think You’ll Like This Tool…
I don’t know about you, but I like to be able to capture thoughts effortlessly, and file them away later, to be added to the appropriate list, and ultimately, to be actioned. The tool I use for this is Evernote. I love it. I have it on my BlackBerry, too. And there is a desktop tool, as well as a web-based interface. And the great thing is, you can have multiple computers, and a mobile device, and have Evernote synced across all of them.
I then have a couple of times a day now where I check my Gmail (I no longer keep it open – it takes a good few minutes to pick up the thread on an activity that is interrupted by email or a phone call), my Evernote notes, my RSS feeds in Google Reader, voicemail, text messages, and my physical intray (including mail). I then action things if they’ll take less that two minutes to do, and if not, I file them away into the correct file for later actioning.
And If You’re A Fan Of Ticking Things Off The List?
I also have set times during the day that I work on a particular project. I have created checklists for each project – with tasks dependant upon which day it is – that I tick-off when those things get done. I use GQueues for this, which is fantastic, as it can be synced with Google Calendar, which in turn, syncs with my BlackBerry.
For time-keeping, I use a natty tool called, E.gg Timer, which lets you input a time period, and then you can see the time countdown in the tab in your browser. And it even beeps when your time is up. Brilliant. Having that countdown visible at a glance is a real motivator.
The Ultimate Distraction Killer
And how long do I set the timer for? Well, I generally allow 1.5-2 hours for a task, but I honour the Pomodoro technique and split each task into 25 minute periods, and then when the beeper sounds, I get up and stretch my legs for 5 minutes. This is something I’ve only just added to my routine (I’ll try anything to be more productive), but by splitting a task down in this way, I find I avoid the distraction and procrastination that can creep in on a large task, and I can clear my head ready for another attack.
So there you have it. My workflow. It works for me, and has allowed me to stress a lot less about having so many different lists, and tasks, and not knowing when I am going to get to them. The tools in the article may or may not work for you, but if you’re a productivity tool fiend, or you simply want to become better at getting things done, then I’d definitely check some of them out. I hope they work for you. Now if you’ll excuse me, my E.gg Timer is telling me I need a break. Sounds good to me.
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