Streamlining your Productivity

Is your life hectic? Are you struggling to keep up with appointments and tasks? image348

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…

The System

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:

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:

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.

Toodledo is all about extending your tasks through other services. Take a look at their “Import, Export, Sync & Tools” page.  You can even print out these killer pocket to do lists.

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

  1. Event’s and Reminders go to appropriate Google Calendar – set txt/email reminders
  2. Taskslists and To-Do Lists all reside in Toodledo
  3. 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


Your Turn

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.

11 responses to “Streamlining your Productivity”

  1. Kevin Tea says:

    I use all of those above – probably badly – via my desktop, netbook and Android smartphone with the addition of Springpad which is similar to Evernote but a tadge more lightweight and easier to use and organise.

  2. This is an AWESOME compilation list Keith! Thanks so much for putting it together. As I trust your recommendations immensely, I will be looking into the apps I’m not already using (mostly already at your advice). Thanks!

  3. Great post, Keith! And all excellent recommendations! I started using Google Calendars today after seeing your earlier post yesterday and then immediately realizing that I had put it off for way too long. Thanks for the great insight!

  4. burningfp says:

    Good Stuff! I’m using a Samsung phone with Bada operatind system so many apps are unavailable to me. I’m already using Evernote and Google Cal (which does sync well in my phone) but your tips are inspiring so thanks.
    DM’s for Evernote, GCal and Toodled look great.

  5. Keith says:

    Actually I used Jott a long time ago. I left them when they went to paid
    accounts because I could do most of the tasks in other ways. I know several
    folks that use it and like it so I appreciate you bringing it up.

    Personally I only use txt reminders for calendar appts that I don’t want to
    forget, my tasklist is all in Toodledo and I’ll use a push alert at times.

    I had the same issue trying to figure out how to marry outlook and google
    and a couple years ago moved everything into Google. Works for me

    Thanks for stopping by and for the great comment.

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