I listened to David Allen's book "Ready for Anything" the past couple weeks while working out in the gym. (By the way, I found few things more invigorating than listening to books while working out--at the end of the hour I feel awesome, focused and competent like a kung fu master).
I thought his book was very good and wanted to write down the practical advice he gave about how to live and work more productively. His system is known as "Getting Things Done" or "GTD." I really like productivity gurus for the most part. He's very good and I've already implemented several key things he recommends:
- Get your work, tasks and goals out of your head and down on paper. Be certain you can trust your system--it must be easy, simple and effective. This allows you to remember what you need to do and--if set up correctly--it'll remind you when you need to do it.
- But writing the task/goal/project down is not enough--it must also always have the next action step involved. Gmail is actually perfect for this, because you can start a project just as you start a new "conversation" and simply add a star next to the next action step. When you've completed an action, change the star to the next action item or--once you've completed the entire project--you can delete the entire email conversation.
- Do a weekly review of your tasks and projects to make sure you're on track and working on the right stuff.
- Allow your mind to focus on creative problem solving and coming up with new ideas--not keeping track of what you should or could be doing. Give yourself structure to produce freedom.
I've been loving google's gmail and calendar and I schedule deadlines for certain tasks using google's calendar. Adios.