Productivity in the Workplace (and at home): But which work?
I was recently interviewed by the Juice on ways that I stay productive at work. I thought that I would write a short series on my particular methods of productivity. This is more of a description of how my system works, there will be very little technology mentioned. If there is interest, I could write a followup for the specific techniques that I use, however, I suspect that such information would be less useful to others than the general overview that follows in this series.
[flickr]photo:224775465(small)[/flickr]And someone said, Let there be a system in the midst of the chaos, and let it divide the tasks from the tasks.
And someone made the system, and divided the tasks which were similar from the tasks which were not: and it was so.
And the system was called a scheduler. And time management was born.Another idea in GTD is that of a tickler file. Basically, if there is something that you do not need to-do now, but you will need to-do eventually, you put it into a time-based system so that you are reminded when it’s time. This is where terms like “43 folders” come in. However, since I had a Treo, I implemented it electronically.
I use DateBook 6 to track my items. It synchronizes with my work calendar, and pulls to-do items into the calendar view. Thus, if I need to defer a task to the future, I create the task, go into its properties, and move it to a specific date in the future. The fact that I can set to-do items to repeat means that the OPERATIONS side of getting things done is pretty easy. Once I vacuum the house, I check off the task and it automatically re-schedules itself one week into the future. Once I change the furnace filter, the task reschedules itself for 3 months later.
Similarly, if I need to follow up with someone, I go out to the day that I want to-do that and add a to-do instructing me to follow up with someone. Luckily, in DateBook 6, I can link to the person’s phone/email contact in my Treo, so it’s very easy to-do this.
Also, if I miss a task, it appears on the next day’s task list.
This can be bad.
I recently had a long-term medical issue that weakened me for months (I’m better now). BOY did the work pile up during that time. I kept rescheduling the same tasks into the future again and again.
I needed something to make sure that I could look at the big picture often enough that the work I was doing didn’t build up to unmanageable levels.
- While the specific technology used is fairly unimportant, it can matter if it’s consistent across an organization.
- Are you synchronizing work between your groupware system and employee’s PDAs?