Over the last few months, during networking meetings, I have noticed an increasing number of instances where people ask me about how I organize myself. Now this can be taken 2 ways. Either they are so impressed at how I prepare and organize myself or alternatively they are appalled at my disorganization.
Whichever it is, I do take pride in being efficient as I have researched and tried and tested a number of things to help me get more goal orientated and focused.
As more people asked me about this subject, I found that I was developing a productivity template to share with them. I was also sending them a brief explanation of what I use and how this helped me.
So, I decided it may be a good idea to share this. Now, full transparency, I am an avid Mac freak, so some of these tools are only for the Apple biters! But I am sure there are similar tools for those Windows and Android lovers and some of these work across all interfaces anyway. What I use, works for me personally as well as for my business.
The starting point of my productivity planning and organizing is David Allen’s wonderful book ‘Getting Things Done” or GTD. I read this book a few years ago and it is a book I go back to for reference or when I feel I have fallen off the productivity wagon.
David Allen teaches a great process and methodology for getting everything out of your head into a “trusted system” from which you can then schedule and do things in the right priority in the right environment.
Capture & Organizing
My “trusted system” has become Nozbe. Designed to run on David Allen’s GTD system this digital aid allows me to capture “To Do’s” on the run, label them, put them into projects, set reminders and even send e-mails into the Nozbe system and convert them into actionable items. It can be accessed across all devices as well as via a web browser.
Focusing and Planning
For many years I gradually switched to digital and I used Nozbe and my calendar to schedule my work. Then along came Michael Hyatt’s Goal setting course and then a few months ago his Full Focus Planner, which I have recently started using. I had noticed that since I went almost totally digital (To Do Lists, Meeting Notes, Shopping Lists, Errands etc) I started losing focus of the things that mattered i.e. priorities and focus on my goals. The technology had started getting in the way.
I also noticed that when I wrote things down and laid them out, I retained more and got more focus. So, Nozbe with the Full Focus Planner has become my productivity hybrid which I’m finding has raised my number of completed accomplishments. It also ensures I have a better balance between work and leisure time. I am getting more shit done!
For e-mail, I love the Apple Mail system as all my e-mail correspondence is in one place and I can switch easily between my different addresses to answer e-mail and file.
In addition, I use Contacts Journal CRM which is linked to Contacts and Apple Mail so for $30 I have an integrated Contacts system that provides what I need without over investing in Salesforce.com.
Then comes Evernote. I love this tool. I can send e-mails to an inbox, web clip articles, write my journals and meeting notes, convert files to pdf’s, share with links and tag all notes. It also has a great search function. Everything is searchable, including the contents of notes, notebooks, tags, and attachments. I can throw everything in there and find it again easily. Wouldn’t it be nice if our computers had that kind of function? There are other tools for taking and storing notes and there’s a great article worth reading on this subject.
Lastly, I write a lot. I have published a book, I am working on another one and I write blogs and articles every 2 weeks. Scrivener is THE writers tool where images, research, notes and articles can all reside in the same Project Folder. It is an amazing tool and this article like all of mine, originated in Scrivener.
Three more items I included in the image are Dashlane for passwords and secure information, Grammarly for great grammar checking and spelling and Bitly which shortens and stores links for you.
I love all these tools and apart from my MacBook Air, iPad and iPhone would be lost with out them.
I sincerely hope that if you aren’t already using some of these that checking them out and adopting them will also help you increase your efficiency and productivity, peace of mind and get more shit done!
Peter M. Beaumont is the Founder and Principal of ConnXN Consulting. He is also the author of The Relationship Roadmap, a comprehensive guide to building relationships with strategic clients. Find out more at www.ConnXN.net