Productivity Toolbox

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  • I'm a GTD Padawan I always thought I was hugely productive, until I got a position that didn't have daily deadlines.  Turns out I'm a massive procrastinator if I don't have a deadline or immediate goal. Needed to find a way to manage my projects and not drop too many balls.
  • my new one - "out of Office" goes straight to trash.
  • I use a template for canned responses to purchase suggestions. I SHOULD create one for a biweekly call for agenda items!
  • If you haven't responded to an email from 3 months ago, are you really going to? From Merlin Mann "Is there an action here? Will you really respond to this email? Or, will you, more likely, just let it sit there for an hour or a day or a decade while you ruminate upon its ontological significance? Will you put it into some lame “holding” folder where notional Magick Things might transform it into something more interesting to you?"
  • Delete the obvious spam, chain letters, and kitty photos. Archive the mailing lists and blog comments (sorting by subject is great for this), all the while identifying, flagging, and relocating all the actual important stuff to a “pending” folder – that’s the stuff that will take your real brain power and valuable time. Just get that sucker down to zero now. Fast.
  • I find that if I have large blocks of unscheduled time in my calendar, it screams for procrastinating. "I have all afternoon to work on this!" will check email and blogs find right music noodle around with tools or gathering ideas and an hour has passed without me actually starting on the project! I need to schedule things in order to get them done. Have an entry that says "2-3: work on project"
  • If something's been sitting on your list for ages and is still not getting done, there's a reason.  Either figure out why and break it down, or accept that you're just not going to do it and delete it from your list.

Transcript

  • 1. Productivity Toolbox Tips & Tricks for Getting Things Done!
  • 2. Introductions
    • Name
    • Library
    • #1 Productivity challenge
    • or - Why did you sign up for this session?
  • 3. The agenda
      • Productivity barriers and solutions
      • Time Management
      • Break
      • Email!
        • Some time for actual email processing
      • Break
      • Calendars
      • To-Do Lists
      • Fun tools
      • Discussion/Questions
  • 4. Know thyself
    • Everyone has different work styles, habits, and tendencies
    From http://www.flickr.com/photos/totalaldo/2400635097/
  • 5. Sound familiar?
      • Being overwhelmed by too much to do.
      • Too many distractions
      • Procrastinating – dreading a task.
      • Not wanting to do a task because it’s boring or hard.
      • Being intimidated by a large project.
      • Tools are distracting or tough to use.
      • Fiddling with tools instead of doing.
      • Other people, making requests, calling, IMing, emailing.
      • Meetings.
    •  
    •  
    •  
    •  
    • from  http://zenhabits.net/2009/09/done-reduce-task-friction-to-get-to-task-completion/
  • 6. Break it down!
    • What's stopping you from getting it done?
    • What are your weaknesses?
    • What can you do about it?
    • Take a minute - write down your top 3 obstacles.
  • 7. Intro to GTD Getting Things Done: the Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen  
  • 8. GTD in a nutshell
      • Capturing anything and everything that has your attention
      • Defining actionable things discretely into outcomes and concrete next steps
      • Organizing reminders and information in the most streamlined way, in appropriate categories, based on how and when you need to access them
      • Keeping current and “on your game” with appropriately frequent reviews of the six horizons of your commitments (purpose, vision, goals, areas of focus, projects, and actions)
  • 9. ...and that means....?
      • Processing inboxes to empty
      • Capturing ideas and tasks
      • Setting up a reference system
      • Lists for Actions, Projects,Waiting For, and Someday/Maybe
      • Calendar or Tickler file for reminders
      • Weekly Review
  • 10. GTD Flowchart
  • 11. 10 Habits of Zen to Done (ZTD)
    • 1. Collect: ubiquitous capture
    • 2. Process: don't put off decisions
    •   3. Plan: set tasks for the day & week
    •   4. Do: focus on single tasks
    •   5. Simple System
    •   6. Organize: everything has a place
    •   7. Review: system & goals regularly
    •   8. Simplify: remove nonessential tasks
    • 9. Routine: set & keep routines
    • 10. Find your passion
  • 12. My kryptonite: Time Management
    • Have to find the trick that works for you:
    •  
      • Routines
      • Rules
  • 13. Tricks
    • Work in Bursts
      • 50 minutes, 10 minute break
    •  
    • Focus
      • reduce interruptions
      • Get in "the zone"
      • eliminate temptation
    • 18 minute plan
      • 5 minutes at beginning of day: plan
      • 1 minute review each hour
      • 5 minutes at the end of the day - review
  • 14. Conserving time & energy
    • Set Goals
      • Project timelines & objectives
      •   Plan important tasks by the week
      • Schedule enough time for preparation, getting places
    • Set Monthly Themes
      • vaguer than goals, but still useful
      • "This month I will improve my email skills"
      • Follow your rhythms
  • 15. Break!
    • From http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/2163520196/
  • 16. Email!
    • Don't be a slave
  • 17. Schedule your email time
      • Turn off email notifications
      • Set times to check messages
        • 10 minutes every hour
        • 3 times/day
        • whatever works for you
      • Just tell yourself no one will die if they don't get an immediate response!
  • 18. Triage
    • Medical
      •   beyond help
      • can be helped by immediate response
      • response can be delayed
      • minor injuries, who need help less urgently
    • Email
      • delete it
      • archive it
      • defer it for later response
      • generate an action from it
      • respond to it immediately (2 minute rule)
  • 19. Folders
    • The inbox is not your to-do list!
      • Archive folders
      • Needs Action
      • Follow Up
      • Read Later
      • Not to me
    From http://www.flickr.com/photos/nypl/3110130720/
  • 20. Filters/Rules
    • Automate some of the work - that's what computers are for!
      • Anything with "FW:" in the subject line
      • Anything with "fyi" in the body
      • Filter by specific sender
      • Listservs/committees
      • Vendors! 
    •  
      • http://lifehacker.com/software/email/geek-to-live--essential-email-filters-190416.php
      • http://support.csp.edu/Outlook_Filters
      • http://mail.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=6579
      • http://help.yahoo.com/tutorials/cg/mail/cg_filter1.html
      • http://email.about.com/cs/hotmailtips/qt/et102101.htm
    •  
  • 21. Searching
    • Most email clients have search functionality - use it!
    •  
  • 22. Templates
    • Don't type out the same messages over and over
      • Quick Parts in Outlook
      • Lots of other tools: http://lifehacker.com/software/feature/save-time-with-text-substitution-162484.php
  • 23. Delete!
    • Yes, really.  I totally give you permission.
  • 24. Inbox Zero!
  • 25. Email Exercise!
    • Make a plan for ruthlessly processing the backlog:
      • Schedule time chunks: 1 hour/day
      • Reduce by half & repeat
      • Fresh Start: chuck the whole thing in a DMZ Folder
      • Archive or delete anything more than 30 days old. Be honest - are you ever going to respond to that? We all know the answer is no.
    •  
    •  
    •  
    •  
    •   Fun help: http://www.43folders.com/2006/03/27/process-to-zero
  • 26. Break 2!
    • From http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/2162899861/
  • 27. Calendars
      • Keep it current and relevant
      • Schedule stuff!
        • Deadlines
        • Recurring tasks
        • "Me" time (or a "no-fly zone" if you want to sound less selfish)
        • Reminders
      • Keep it with you (sync w/phone, pda, or paper)
      • The calendar is your friend!
  • 28. To-Do lists
    • To-Do Lists, like email, can get out of control
      • Keep it Do-able
        • Give yourself orders: What's the next step? 
        • Use specific, active words
      • Keep it simple
        • Easy to remember and track
        • Daily/Weekly/Someday
      • Keep it tiny
        • 3 Most Important Tasks (MITs)
      • Keep it moving
  • 29. Prioritizing
      • Assign priorities!
      • What NOT to do.
        • Eliminate tasks that are sucking time & energy
    From http://webworkerdaily.com/2009/05/25/not-a-gtd-disciple-dont-worry-about-it/
  • 30. Reminders
    • Automate what you can
      • Calendars
      • To-do Lists
      • Ticklers
  • 31. Weekly Review
      • Email: Review and prune Hold and Follow Up email folders. Bump up anything that’s been languishing in Follow Up for too long on to-do list.
      • To-do list: Read over current task list; prune stuff that doesn’t matter any more; re-prioritize items to work on next week.
      • Projects: Move any “next actions” for each project to the to-do list; Revise and prune the project list to reflect current status.
      • Calendar: Check out next week’s appointments and meetings; add any necessary prep work to to-do list.
  • 32. Tools
      • Remember the Milk: http://www.rememberthemilk.com
      • Outlook 
      • Pen & Paper
      • ReQall: http://www.reqall.com/
      • Jott: http://www.jott.com/
      • Evernote: http://www.evernote.com
      • Gmail Tasks: http://www.gmail.com
  • 33. Other tools
      • Netvibes: http://www.netvibes.com
      • iGoogle:  http://www.google.com/ig
      • Dropbox: http://www.dropbox.com
      • KeePass: http://keepass.info/
      • Springpad: http://springpadit.com/
      • Todoist: http://todoist.com/
  • 34. What are your suggestions? From http://www.flickr.com/photos/statelibraryofnsw/2960116125/
  • 35. Questions?
    • Here's mine - what did you find the MOST helpful about today's session?
    From http://www.flickr.com/photos/statelibraryofnsw/2959326615
  • 36. Thanks!
    • Anali Maughan Perry
    • Assistant Librarian
    • Arizona State University Libraries
    • [email_address]