Tag Archives: GTD

Quick Hit – Why I Hate Email, and You Should Too (Because It Kills Productivity) 

[Photo: Tim Gouw via Unsplash]

Ever find that it’s noon and you haven’t accomplished anything on your to-do list? Get a productive jump-start on the day with these tasks.

Source: The First Four Things You Should Do Every Workday

My Vistage leader sent this article out.  It so hits the mark.

Over the years, I find myself cycling back to opening email first thing in the morning, then, basically staying there all day.  This article notes “the morning goes by and nothing got done.”  In my case, much to my chagrin, I find that a week has gone by – and the critical things are not done.  It’s times like these when I need reminders like this.

Reading this article will be the best two minutes you spend today.

Make it a great day.

Evernote for Tasks

As many know, I wrote an add in for Microsoft Outlook to help with task management for business users.  Alas, that’s water under the bridge.  So, now I use Evernote for this task.

I love Evernote.   I love that I can:

  •  Capture everything.
    • Mobile – if I’m out and around, the Evernote for Android client let’s me get things into my Inbox quickly and off my mind, especially:
      • Receipts using the Page Camera.
      • Quick notes to remember to do something.
      • Sometimes an audio note if I’m driving.
    • Email – I use Outlook for work and Gmail for personal.  Both have Evernote add-in’s that let me quickly throw an email into the InBox.
    • Web – If I’m browsing the web in Google Chrome and see something I want to keep, Evernote Web Clipper let’s me capture it in a form that will work for future reference.  Sometimes I send these to my InBox, or sometimes I send it straight to my Reading notebook for future reading.
      • I like to cook.  I will look up or find recipes and throw these right into my Recipes notebook.

You may have picked up on “InBox.”  Yup; I use David Allen’s GTD.  And, if you want a step by step “getting started” guide, go buy David’s “Evernote for Windows Setup Guide.”  It’s worth the $10.  I had things fairly figured out, but I picked up some tips and tricks from this, as well as simple motivation.

Prior to this, I had started with (okay, don’t laugh at the title), The Secret Weapon.  It brings in lot of good GTD concepts and is a great jump-starter as they did everything in videos.  (Make sure to check out their About Page for an overview.)  I ended up not staying with this system.  The issue – everything is more “priority” based, but as David says, and as we know, priorities shift on an hourly basis.  I was finding that keeping priorities set was a struggle.  Everything always went to urgent.  Other stuff never surfaced.  So, I’m pretty much on David’s guide’s method now.

Struggle is a good word to wrap up with here.  I again love (just no better word for it) Evernote as I can search (anywhere, on my phone, jump on a web browser in a hotel), organize, have everything protected up in the cloud, share.  Once you really start putting everything in Evernote, it’s very powerful.  But, overload and priorities are where I’m currently struggling with task management (not Evernote the tool).  I have things coming at me every minute of every day in my day job (home too).  I don’t feel 100% in control and that’s very stressful.  Alas, as I write this, I remember a couple of things:

  • If you are a person of Faith, well, then you are not supposed to be in control – He is.  Let Him control it and he will guide your way.  If you try to control it, you will just screw it up. 🙂
  • I had the opportunity once to attend a GTD class David ran.  After words, I asked him about the over load and he said something to me that was profound (and, sadly, I forget from time to time until moments like this) – “You have to get comfortable with the fact that you have a lot of things on your lists.”  You have to just let it go and trust that the system will bring you back around to these things at the right time and place.

“Mind like water.” That’s where we have to get to.  Evernote has proven to be a great tool to let me “cast things off” and work on getting to that state.