Streamlining your Productivity
It’s a New Year, time to get organized and be more productive.
How I Got Here
My life has gotten exponentially more crazy in the past few years I had to find system to keep everything running smoothly.
In addition I’ve moved from relying on a single computer to relying on the internet, what we refer to as the cloud. I daily life is lived between a desktop, 2 laptops, & an iPhone so desktop applications don’t work for me. The cloud however allows my Contacts, Calendars, Email, Tasklists, & Notes to all reside on the internet. So, if I’m in Taiwan or across town I need everything at my fingertips, not “at home on the computer”. That’s why this system works for me.
Lastly, I’m an organizer, Everything has its place and that structure keeps me mostly sane. Keeping things in my head stresses me out so I have to dump all this somewhere and know things are not falling through the cracks.
Sleep better, Get More Down. Better Living through technology – Let’s dive into…
Calendar – Google Calendar
There is no other calendaring system I’ve found as flexible and robust as Google Calendar.
I use 4 main calendars Work, Personal, Church, Reminders and using Google’s layering feature I can see all 4 or just 1 by toggling the calendar on and off. I configure reminders for events to be sent via email and text message so I don’t forget an appointment. Then I use the sharing features to collaborate with my spouse and small working groups.
gCal also integrates with everything. Browse the interesting calendars to add forecasts, sports teams schedules, and contacts’ birthdays. Import calendars from Facebook and Plancast for a comprehensive social calendar.
gCal is amazing. You’ll never look back
Links for doing more:
- Getting started with Google Calendar – the official introduction
- How to Setup Google Calendar on Your iPhone 4 /by @MichaelHyatt – Best tutorial I’ve ever found. Tip: Use the IMAP setup for the phone instead of the exchange method. Exchange only allows one calendar.
- Create a public space for people to schedule meetings with Tungle.me – (example: see Tungle.me/tsudo) It syncs my Google calendars to create free/busy times.
- Add the SnapCal app to your iPhone or Android for better weekly and monthly calendar views and quicker add event methods.
Bonus Tip: Use the reminders calendar to add reminder triggers, for example Sugar Bowl at 7, or take out the trash, then set a txt reminder and you have your own personal secretary.
Lists & Notes – Evernote
Evernote is so good it’s difficult to describe. It allows me to put a note in one time and have it everywhere. I use it as a second brain to store everything from blog posts I’m working on, to meeting notes, shopping lists, travel plans, and my even my prayer lists. Is my list and notes that exist everywhere because Evernote has a full line of desktop and mobile apps that just work so well. Need to capture an idea here’s just a few ways I’ve used Evernote:
- Record a voice note on the road and when I get home the mp3 file is already on my computer.
- Take notes in meetings then I snap a picture of the notes and the whiteboard for context.
- Ask me to remember you in prayer? I won’t remember in 15 min so I pull out the app and edit my prayer list on the spot. I even throw my memory verses in evernote.
Honestly just go get the free account and thank me later.
Links for doing more:
- Check out the Tips section of the Evernote blog to see how everyone from authors to students and photographers use Evernote
- Browse the Evernote Trunk to see all the ways other devices and software ties into Evernote
Bonus Tip: Add your Twitter account to Evernote and you can add an item by sending a reply or DM to @myEN – Great for when I what to follow up on a tweet of reasearch the user later, I quote it send a DM to myEN and I’ve got it.
Tasklists – Toodledo
I’ve evaluated several tasklist methods over the years and I’ve yet to fine one that has beaten Toodledo. It is truly fully functional and their mobile app is superb. The website may seem a bit clunky but it gets the job done. Use folders & contexts to custom your task display and edit your “hotlist” settings on the app to show you the tasks most important that day.
Bonus Tip: Add the Toodledo Google Calendar widget to see your tasks directly on your calendar.
My productivity system is sorted in my mind like this
- Event’s and Reminders go to appropriate Google Calendar – set txt/email reminders
- Taskslists and To-Do Lists all reside in Toodledo
- Everything else falls in to Evernote
Bonus: See my list of the most productive iPhone Apps
I hope you’ll find these tools useful so your life looks a bit closer to this guy
What productivity apps are you using? How does you system compare?
This isn’t a onesize fits all solution so share your system, or lack there of, so we can see a variety of solutions.
Next up I’ll cover mastering your email inbox, and your contact list.