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Hacking Your Information Workflow

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  • Ask them to define -David Allen, creator of GTD “You are disorganized if you need something somewhere that you don’t have or have something somewhere that you don’t need” -Look into your purse, wallet, or a folder or notebook - look at what you brought today. Get something that doesn ’t belong there permanently but has been there longer than a few hours (besides money). Do you have a receipt, a business card, scrap of paper with notes, old parking ticket? -These are things whose location does not map to their meaning to you. -If no longer useful, it is trash -If something you need for reference, store it somewhere else so that you can access it when needed -If something you need to do something about, put it in a place where you can be reminded of it
  • -Very few text message, only 20% use it once a semester or more often -About half have Twitter accounts, only 25% use it once a week or more often -About half use instant messaging, only 25% use it once a week or more
  • -Get things out of your short term memory -empty them regularly -Many people want to take their paper inflow items and put them in digital collectors
  • 5 minutes
  • @2:35
  • Good news! We all do this in some way. It can seem hard to keep up.
  • We all have stuff to deal with, our inflows Items in orange require action, purple do not We process some collectors as information arrives (e.g. email) so we need to restrict them to high-priority information Some collectors can be emptied daily or weekly. Every week, reserve a little time to give your systems a checkup.
  • - If needs to be done ON a specific day or time, put it on the Calendar- If it can by done BY a specific day or as soon as you can get to it, use Action lists (Tasks, To Do's etc.) -In Outlook 2007, a Task is something you enter onto a Task list. A To-Do includes all tasks automatically, PLUS any email, calendar or contact you flag for follow-up.In 2007 products, all Tasks are To-Do's, but not all To-Do's are tasks.
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  • 1. Hacking Your Information Workflow Sarah Bombich May 27, 2010
  • 2. What do disorganized and organized really mean?
  • 3. There Is No One Size Fits All
  • 4.  
  • 5.
    • Capture anything in your inflow that has your attention into collectors (Outlook, RSS reader, Twitter, notebooks, in-basket, etc.)
    • Your inflows may or may not also act as collectors
    • Have as few collectors as you can, but as many as you need
  • 6.
    • Name your collectors
    • Which is your favorite?
    • Which is your least favorite?
  • 7.
    • Red
    • Blue
    • Green
    • Purple
  • 8.
    • Compare your lists of collectors
      • Which collectors are the most common?
      • Which collectors are unique?
      • Why did you choose your collectors?
    • Pick two favorite collectors from the group
    • Share the favorites with the larger group
  • 9.
    • Everyone finds Outlook ’s folders at least moderately helpful
    • Most of you lose things in Outlook and cannot find them when needed
    • Most of you use flags, with varying degrees of success
    • Only half use rules, but all receive bulk email
  • 10. (e.g. Facebook or LibWorks)
  • 11.
    • Consider the type of information
    • Try to group information by priority or type
      • Outlook: Set up filters for all listervs or other non-personalized email so that it doesn ’t clutter your inbox
      • Get low-priority information into tools such as Google Reader that allow you to easily declare “bankruptcy”
  • 12.
    • Short term, newsy information
      • Google Reader, Twitter, Facebook
    • Websites
      • Get updates to changes using an RSS reader such as Google Reader
    • Scholarly Literature
      • Subscribe to searches using RSS or email
  • 13. You know how to collect stuff. Now what?
  • 14. Process and Organize It
  • 15. Collectors Process Now Later Add to a project plan Add to “waiting for” list Add to “actions list” Put on your calendar File for reference Toss it Do it Someday/maybe
  • 16.
    • Toss it
      • Digitally or physically
    • File for reference
      • Somewhere you can find it in the future
    • Someday/maybe
      • Things that you might need to or want to take action on in the future
  • 17.
    • Add to Actions List (aka To Do or Task List)
      • Don ’t try to keep it in your head
      • Common tools include flagging items in Outlook, hand written lists, keeping things in your inbox
    • Put it on your calendar
      • Only if it needs to be done on a specific day or time
      • Consider creating recurring calendar items when possible
  • 18.
    • Add to or create a Project Plan
      • Anything that requires more than a couple of steps should be considered a project
    • Add to a Waiting For List
      • Things that you delegate or that someone else needs to respond to before you can take action
  • 19. What does this mean to you?
  • 20.
    • Look over the workflow diagram. Where do you put things?
      • References
      • Someday/Maybe Items
      • Projects
      • Action Items
      • “ Waiting For” Items
      • Calendar
  • 21.
    • Compare your lists of tools (places you put things)
      • Which tools are the most common?
      • Which tools are unique?
      • Why did you choose your tools?
    • Pick three or four tools that are interesting, unique, or a novel use of a more common tool
  • 22.
    • Consider your collectors
      • Can a collector also keep track of a list?
      • Can you automatically send something from a collector to a list?
    • Tagging, color coding, flagging
      • Find ways to organize information within a tool
  • 23.
    • To Do List
      • Remember the Milk, Outlook, OneNote, ...
    • References
      • delicious, Evernote, Instapaper, OneNote, ...
    • Projects
      • OneNote, ...
  • 24.
    • Share some of our least favorite collectors and tools
    • Suggest alternatives to collectors and tools we don ’t like
    • Note any new collectors or tools you ’d like to try
    • Lifehacker.com is a great place to find out about new tools
  • 25.
    • My Workflow Hack Plan
    • Consider buddying up so that you ’re not working alone
    • If you ’re interested in RSS, there will be a class in late June
    • What tools do you want to learn more about?
  • 26.
    • Things change in meaning over time
    • Being organized is a dynamic process
    • Review your project plans, action list, calendar, “waiting for” list regularly
    • Try one new tool at a time