Last time here on the blog we talked about the Getting Things Done task management system. While GTD has millions of devotees all over the world it isn’t for everyone. Maybe you have given it a go and weren’t impressed. Or maybe you have tried all sorts of productivity systems, to do list apps and time management plans but haven’t found anything you really like?
There is a tendency to assume that because something worked for one person it must work for everyone. Which is why we get floods of books and articles about the productivity habits of the top entrepreneurs and businesspeople.
Of course in reality we all have our individual quirks and habits, not to mention unique circumstances. If you can’t follow anyone else’s system you don’t need to be set adrift and completely system-less. Instead you need to build your own, tailor-made to you.
How do you currently organise your day and your to dos? Do you think it could be better with a few tweaks or do you want something else entirely?
The foundation of your new task management system should be somewhere you already spend most of your time. That could be your online calendar, paper diary or planner, email inbox, to do list or note taking app even pinboard in your kitchen. Don’t reinvent the wheel and remember that the key to getting organised is to actually use it.
Once you have decided on your base of operations you can build on it. If it is electronic there will be addons, extensions and plugins that you can use. Most email programmes link to a calendar where you can add reminders, or they have a tasks function like Gmail. Online calendars can send you reminders of tasks you had scheduled, support attachments and lists, integrate with your phone and other tricks. To do list apps should have notifications, shortcuts for adding tasks from your phone home screen and so on.
If you prefer offline use then there is still plenty you can do to streamline your system. Check out different colour and shape post-it notes for different tasks and reminders. Some stationery shops sell little packs of notes, tear off lists and reminders. Colour coding can be good for a paper calendar too – either by person or by category of task. If you use a paper diary or planner check out the Bullet Journal to supercharge it.
Most of us don’t have enough hours in the day so we have to press the less convenient times into service. One of the biggest empty spaces in our lives is our commute. But you can make that time productive by using MessageMia. It’s safe and legal using the hands-free on your phone so you can record reminders, ideas, tasks and to dos. Mia saves them and sends them back to you so you never need to forget another idea while driving. Find out more now.
Getting Things Done is a time management and productivity system by David Allen that has become legendary. It has spawned countless books, apps, accessories, copycats and extensions since the debut of the idea in 2001.
What makes it so phenomenally popular? Why are so many people devoted to the system?
At the heart of GTD is the idea of capturing all the little items that are floating around in your head at any one time. The to dos, the ideas, the tasks, the things you need to remember. Allen says “your mind is for having ideas, not holding them” and that is something of a motto for GTD. He calls these “open loops” or “incompletes” and the theory is that having them buzzing around in your head is distracting and causes anxiety from worrying you are going to forget something.
So the first step is capturing and collecting all those incompletes. Anyone who has done a proper brain dump – whether related to GTD or not – knows how freeing it feels to get everything out of there. The feeling is almost addictive so it is easy to see why people keep coming back to a system where that is the first step and a very central point.
GTD goes on to provide a really robust and workable system for clarifying your to dos, organising them, reflecting and engaging. It gives users the confidence that their to dos are in a process where they don’t need to keep them in their heads anymore.
It’s also really flexible in organising your tasks by likely time investment and location so you never need to wonder what you should be working on. If you are at your computer and have 15 minutes you can easily find what you should be working on.
The key is to be able to trust your system and not be worrying about all these open loops so collection and capturing is key. Whether it’s an app on your phone, a notebook on your desk or both, you need to know you can get the information down and then into the system.
One of the most frustrating places to have ideas or remember things you need to do, is when you are driving. You can’t simply drop everything to capture new tasks or thoughts on your phone or in a notebook.
Which is exactly the problem MessageMia is here to help you with. Mia is a hands-free way to record your ideas and to dos. Using your usual hands-free setup you call Mia and record a voice message – safely and legally while you are driving. Mia transcribes your note for you and sends it back in an email, along with the original voice file. Your commute and driving time becomes productive, safer and less stressful trying to hold on to ideas.
MessageMia is your hands-free to do list and on-the-go note-taker. Try it now.