Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Best App for Productivity Isn't an App.

I get the question frequently.  As a tech guy what's the best app out there to manage your time?

New task and productivity apps come and go all the time and I've used them all.  So to go ahead and technically answer the question, day to day I'll always use Google Calendar (meetings/scheduling),  Google Notes (don't forget), Trello (prioritization/progress) , and even Gmail (this stuff all comes from somewhere).  I've found you can manage most any project within the combination of these apps. Sure,  there's more specialized ones out there but I'm talking about what makes us productive.

Turns out there's many good apps out there and then there's the process that I actually rely on:

6"x 9" Steno Books.
So hold on.  You're a tech startup guy and you're not using an app?  Blasphemy.

Well - yes and let me give some background on why you always want these in your toolkit. I like ones with a plastic cover,  for what it's worth.

They're always on.
You don't have to charge or plug in a notebook.  It's always on,  it's always there.  They're mobile, no wifi, and work everywhere.

It's an archive.
You always have a physical record nearby,  no password to remember - no locking your information into someone else's platform. No changing platforms.

You physically write.
This is an important one.  There's something about physically writing something down that binds you to a task, and triggers importance to see it through.  I'm not a psychologist,  but it's true.  At least for me.

You physically cross things off.
Goes hand and hand with the above.  I only cross something off my list when I have verified or reasonably confident it is complete.  Sticking to this one rule faithfully adds vital importance to the act of crossing something off.  Make it a habit and soon you'll start getting a feeling of accomplishment when you cross something off.  Hold yourself accountable.

Years ago I worked for a company that had an internal task management system.  Tickets,  tasks, projects would come into it assigned from everywhere,  and I would login to see what I had to do.

Once I completed a task and click a link,  a huge page size image of a coffee cup would appear,  along with something along the lines of "Congratulations this task is complete".  Ah.  I could relax.

I worked there for five years. Literally thousands of tasks I completed to see this silly message and picture.  Some tasks took 2 minutes,  some took weeks but the outcome was always the same.  Seeing the coffee cup was pretty satisfying.  Also knowing that if I closed a task when something wasn't actually fully completed, quickly felt like cheating.  That same thing applies when crossing something off in my notebook.

I picked up the habit of using Steno books about 10 years ago while working on government projects.  They always had them around.  I'm cheap.  I started using what was there,  and it stuck.  The key to making it work is to define a standard process.  There's many standard ways to do it but I just made up a simple one that works for me,  your mileage may vary.
  1. Date the top of each new page.
  2. Draw a box next to any line signifying it's an action item
  3. Only cross off tasks when they're verified complete/closed
  4. If page fills up, I use circles across entire line signifying it is not complete and copy the line to a new page.  (This also helps show things that are taking more time or you're procrastinating on as you flip through the pages)
  5. Don't commingle tasks and notes.  Any new page can be used for notes (meetings etc) but no tasks lists on a notes page.
On the notes pages,  I will usually staple a post it note so the edge hangs outside the book and title the notes so I can find them easily.

Every Friday I will go back through the last 10 or so pages of the book and look for things I may have missed or note any accomplishments.  This helps close the week, reflect,  and plan for the next.

Each new notebook I put my name,  email address and phone number on the back cover in case I leave it somewhere (saved me several times).  I also put the date I started the new notebook.  It takes me 45-90 days to fill up a notebook,  and when it's full I write that date on the back.  This allows me to see what date range the info in each one is when I have to look back through my stack.  So yes,  I have stacks of notebooks crossing many years and projects at this point.

So that's my app. Keep things simple,  follow your own process,  and write things down the old school way.


Unknown said...

you rulez.

Anonymous said...

Packers and Movers Gurgaon
Packers and Movers Delhi
Packers and Movers Bangalore
Packers and Movers Pune
Packers and Movers Hyderabad
Packers and Movers Mumbai

Unknown said...

Now I can fax my documents much faster than ever before and all the credit goes to get your online fax number. This is really a revolution of communicating!

Unknown said...

There are times when you suffer the disease being treated immediately before things got worse. Thank you for sharing the information :)

Cara Mengobati Miom sampai Tuntas
Cara Cepat Menghilangkan Keloid
Obat Insomnia Paling Ampuh
Cara Mengatasi Keputihan
Obat Pelangsing Tubuh Dengan Cepat
Cara Cepat Atasi Masalah Lambung
Cara Menyembuhkan Berbagai Macam Penyakit Kanker

Unknown said...

Want to know about Veterans Day,which is a day to celebrate the great officers of the US army,just checkout my blog Happy Veterans Day and stay updated.

Unknown said...

I have been working from home running my urgent care in San Diego for over 5 years now and I can't begin to tell you how difficult it was at first. It took me at least 6 months to get used to working outside of an office environment.

Viral News said...

Cheap Seo Company in Lucknow – We offer you best SEO services and get the position on Google search with the ethical SEO work. Our services are SEO, SMO, Online Marketing, Facebook Promotion at an affordable price.

Bisma Uciha said...

thank you very useful information admin, and pardon me permission to share articles here may help :

Cara membersihkan luka gangren
Cara mengobati nyeri dada sebelah kiri
Obat susah kencing

Unknown said...

just information we only provide information for those who need it cara menggugurkan kandungan
A. obat telat datang bulan
B. posisi berhubungan agar cepat hamil
C. makanan dan minuman agar cepat hamil
D. panduan agar cepat hamil
E. cara agar cepat hamil
F. cara agar cepat hamil setelah selesai haid
G. cara alami untuk segera mendapat kehamilan

Packers And Movers Kolkata said...

Excellent Blog! I would like to thank for the efforts you have made in writing this post. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well. I wanted to thank you for this websites! Thanks for sharing. Great websites! @ Packers and Movers Kolkata

Packers Movers Chennai said...

Packers and Movers Chennai Give Safe and Reliable ***Household Shifting Services in Chennai with Reasonable ###Packers and Movers Price Quotation. We Provide Household Shifting, Office Relocation, ✔ ✔ ✔ Local and Domestic Transportation Services, Affordable and Reliable Shifting Service Charges @ Packers And Movers Chennai

Packers And Movers Mumbai said...

an awesome blog thanks a lot for giving me this great opportunity to write on this.please visit our website I assure you that it will be very useful for you @ Packers and Movers mumbai

Packers and Movers Ahmedabad said...

Packers and Movers Ahmedabad list, Cheap Packers Movers Ahmedabad Charges, Local, Affordable Household Shifting Ahmedabad @ Packers and Movers Ahmedabad

Packers and Movers Ahmedabad said...

Nice Blog ! i have seen that u have written a good Blog and way of expression is Awsome..
Thankyou @ Packers and Movers Ahmedabad

Packers Movers Hyderabad said...

Packers and Movers Hyderabad Give Certified and Verified Service Providers, Cheap and Best ###Office Relocation Charges, ***Home Shifting, ✔✔✔Goods Insurance worth Rs. 10,000, Assurance for Local and Domestic House Shifting. Safe and Reliable Household Shifting Services in Hyderabad with Reasonable Packers and Movers Price Quotation @ Packers And Movers Hyderabad

Packers And Movers Bangalore said...

I do consider all the ideas you have presented on your post. They're really convincing and will certainly work. @ Packers And Movers Bangalore

sandy said...

شركة نقل عفش بالقطيف
شركة نقل عفش بالخبر
شركة نقل اثاث عفش بالجبيل
شركة نقل عفش بالدمام
ارخص شركة نقل عفش بالمدينة المنورة
ارخص شركة نقل عفش بمكة
شركة نقل عفش

Packers And Movers Kolkata said...

This is really attentiongrabbing, You're a very professional blogger. I have joined your rss feed and sit up for in search of extra of your fantastic post. @ Packers and Movers Kolkata
Packers And Movers Kolkata to ahmedabad

Packers And Movers Kolkata said...

Get Packers and Movers Kolkata List of Top Reliable, 100% Affordable, Verified and Secured Service Provider. Get Free ###Packers and Movers Kolkata Price Quotation instantly and Save Cost and Time. ✔✔✔Packers and Movers Kolkata Reviews and Compare Charges for household Shifting, Home/Office Relocation, ***Car Transportation, Pet Relocation, Bike SHifting @ Packers and Movers Kolkata