What can help me become more productivity
We can think of Productivity in one of 4 ways: Personal, team, systems, and tools. We will examine each of them in this blog. The emphasis will be on improving your personal productivity systems using tools.
Webster defines a system as “a regularly interacting or interdependent group of items forming a unified whole.”. To me, a system is a process that has many steps you repeat repeatedly. Some examples are your morning routine, your evening routines weekly review, a monthly review, or goal setting. Each of these activities has in common that they contain over one step and they repeat regularly. We all have them or need them so we can make sure nothing gets forgotten.
But without systems, tools will not do you any good. Tools will only help improve your productivity if you have a system. The tool represents the system you want the computer to help operate more smoothly and with less friction.
Here are some examples of popular systems.
Getting things done, by David Allen
Pomodoro Techniques. This technique is a way to manage your workday.
Eisenhower Matrix- is a way to help you prioritize your work
Twelve Week Year- a system to create urgency in getting things done
SMART Goals – a way to improve your goal setting
Kanban: a way to organize and execute your projects
A team is a group of people that someone is managing or assigning work to. They are sharing systems. An example of this is a product development team. Each member does certain tasks. You have to keep track of how all of them are doing on a daily or weekly basis. Then you have to report to your manager or boss. This team management and remote employee work management will become much more important as companies redefine work in the post-pandemic era. Keeping everyone up to date on all the information, meetings, status, and reference works can be an enormous task.
Personal productivity relates to what you and I need to keep track of in our lives. It can be as simple as a calendar that lists where I am supposed to be and when. Or it can be a more complex system if you have responsibilities in multiple areas of your life. Some areas might be Church, Volunteer work, a job, and most difficult of all a family. Each of these areas put demands on your time and create activities that you need to keep track of. They each have overlapping schedules that create conflicts every day. It is a lot to keep up with. You can solve this management avalanche by using several tools or one general tool. It really depends on your own personality.
For example, if you only have a list of things to do and a calendar to keep track of appointments, you can do this with a calendar tool and a to-do list tool. Even if your life is more complicated than just these two things if you can keep track of everything in one place or the other you can get by with two tools.
However, if you want to keep track of everything in one place, you need a general-purpose tool like Notion (http://notion.so) that can start small and grow to meet all your needs. Notion can start out as a place where you keep track of Projects and tasks with a simple calendar, and then it can grow into a place to keep track of your whole life- book lists, contacts, tasks, goals, clients, teams, etc. The important concept for using Notion is that you start small and let it grow with your needs.
Here is a list of some tools that you can use to help you be more productive.
a. Evernote for Note-taking http://Evernote.com
b. Zoom for online meetings http://zoom.us
c. Todoist for handling to-do lists http://todoist.com
d. Instapaper http://instapaper.com and Pocket https://getpocket.com are two read later apps
e. Mindfulness for meditation- many apps are available, one is https://www.smilingmind.com.au
f. Mind mapping apps for interconnecting ideas and flowcharts such as Aoya,
Mindmeister and many others. These are for the person who thinks more visually.
The list of individual apps is endless.
General productivity apps that are available include.
a. Notion http://notion.so Notion has been available for two years. It has proven to be flexible and useful in many use cases.
b. Roam Research http://roamresearch.com is in its first year and is being used in many use cases
c. Obsidian http://obsidian.md is the latest addition to the list and is only available as a test version so far.
You have to decide what you want (to fit into what their app does or to make your own.) This is the philosophic difference between using single-purpose apps and general-purpose apps. Most single purpose apps require you to use them the way the designers intended without variation. Almost all fall short in some way. A General-purpose app allows you to design what it does so. Then the app fits all your needs rather than making you fit the apps.
Most single purpose apps require you to use them the way the designers intended without variation. Almost all fall short because you always want to do something more than what they do. This can lead to having to get another app.
A General-purpose app allows you to design it so that the app fits all your needs rather than fitting the design of the app.
I have been on this productivity journey for more years than I want to admit. I have spent too much money on systems to make me more productive if I would only follow their system. None of them worked for more than a month or two. I gave up because their system didn’t fit the way I think or work, and they couldn’t change. So I began looking at the available general-purpose apps. I wanted to find one that would let me work the way my brain does. (Although my kids weren’t always sure it worked at all.)
I will discuss some of these with examples in followup blogs. However, I will mostly discuss Notion for non-programmers. Because I believe non-programmers view apps differently. I want to show you how to get started. I don’t want you to get so overwhelmed by the flexibility of Notion that you give up.