Here is a random collection of little things I do to hack my productivity. These work for me. They might not work for you. But perhaps, they inspire little ideas that might help you out or blaze a new path.
1. I shifted my use of the Lift app. At this point, all I do with it is track and build habits that improve both my mental and physical health. Here, I track the distance running I do, the amount of water I drink, meditating, and silly things like getting my daily push-ups and sit-ups done for the day. I figure if my health is poor, I won’t be very productive…. So, moving on…
2. iPhone voice recorder – When I am out in the world, I get random ideas or think of some action items I need to execute. I will use the voice recorder on my iPhone to record these little notes. My weekend routine involves jotting down all these notes into my Moleskine to process and implement.
3. I use Any.Do to track and monitor my human contact. Whether I need to call or email someone, this is where I monitor and organize. The app syncs to my iPhone and iPad, and there is a nifty extension that integrates nicely into my Chrome browser. So, no matter where I am or what I am doing, I can quickly access my daily contacts, and take action.
4. Moleskine notebook – This is my favorite everything. I love jotting notes, sketching flowcharts, org charts, doodles, quotes, and all kinds of general nonsense in this notebook. I’ve finally found the perfect pen to use as well (Uniball Vision fine/black). The notebook I use is the Moleskine soft cover squared notebook (5 X 8 1/4″). It is perfect for me. This is now where I track all of my To Dos and action items. I’ve used countless tools to track my action items, from CRM systems to iPhone apps to other tools. At the end of the day, I still like to review a real, handwritten list, and check them off when I do it.
As I accumulate tasks, ideas, and other action items on my various collection points, they all get moved ultimately to my notebook, which goes with me most places. Every weekend, I rewrite all tasks fresh in one sheet (or two), to remind me of what still needs to get done. Remember, I do not log human contact – those contacts are all collected and organized into the Any.do app.
5. Field Notes – There are a few occasions where I do not want to bring my larger Moleskine to a meeting, say a lunch meeting. I also use smaller Field Notes that can easily fit into my pocket. I order the three-pack notebooks, graphed, sized 3.5 X 5.5″. In these, I take random notes and ultimately transfer them to the Moleskine or add to Any.Do where appropriate.
6. Whiteboarding – Sometimes you just have to stand up and sketch out stuff on the wall, you know? And when I am done, 50% of my sketches are ignored, 50% get transcribed into the Moleskine…
7. Post-it notes – Sometimes, when I have just three or four key tasks that I need to get done in a day, I will pull out the post-it notes, write each To Do on a separate note, and post them on the wall, in order of importance, right in front of me. It feels nice to rip the post-it off the wall when the job is done. And, just focusing on the minimal key tasks helps keep me on track.
8. Followupthen.com – Just discovered this tool, and I really like it. This is a really functional tool to send email reminders to yourself about misc. tasks. You can have email reminders sent to you in five minutes, on specific dates or times, or daily at recurring times. And when you get your reminder, you have “snooze” options to remind you at your requested intervals. It is pretty slick. Methinks in a year’s time, this tool will become a bigger part of my productivity regimen…
In fact, email yourself a reminder…try it here –> firstname.lastname@example.org
So, that’s it. A few simple productivity hacks. Let me know what you think. And if they work. And if you have any other ideas…
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