Be more productive by Design - My Personal Productivity Workflow Setup


Published on

This is how I get work done! Here is the workflow I use to help me maintain control over the tasks I put my energy into during the day. This deck also explains the rationale behind it and the core tools (both on Mac and iPhone/iPad) that allow me to be remember more and keep focus on what needs attention. I hope it helps you - would welcome feedback, here or at my blog on

BTW - I've also got a Productivity Newspaper that I curate. If you find the presentation useful I'm sure you'll enjoy the newspaper too. It's call the Purple Patch and you can read it and subscribe to it at

Having reviewed this presentation, why not download my guide to Productivity Tools. Over 50 tools are reviewed covering everything from Task Managers, Note taking apps and utilities I use every day. Get it at at

Published in: Business
No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Be more productive by Design - My Personal Productivity Workflow Setup

  1. 1. Be More Productive by Design A peek inside my personal productivity setup Pete Jakob, Purple Salix email: Web: Twitter: @curdridge
  2. 2. You were never taught HOW to accomplish your work 2 • Our approach evolved organically over time • Much of it works fine • Just working longer/harder is the default
  3. 3. The challenges become greater as we get more responsibility, more connected 3 Eventually we run out of Time and/or Energy This is Leadership and Culture challenge
  4. 4. Why is this important?  EXTERNAL OUTCOMES – Leadership – Output – Productivity – Efficiency – Focus – Success  INTERNAL OUTCOMES – Stress Management – Mindfulness – Health & Wellbeing – Balance – Self-worth – Happiness 4
  5. 5. Ready to do something about it? 5
  6. 6. Caveat  Choosing your productivity setup is very personal – Other applications undoubtedly offer functions that will suit your requirements better – Your setup doesn’t need to be digital – Paper is fine!  Don’t overtinker – “Perfect is the Enemy of Good Enough!” – My setup could certainly be improved, but it works for now  There are hyperlinks throughout this deck linking to the key applications and articles
  7. 7. •What could you do? •What do you want/need to do? •What won't you do? •What will you do this week? •What will you do today? •What other commitments do you have? •Why do you want to be more productive? •What will you do with the time saved? •What would your ideal week be? •Are you progressing towards your purpose? •How do you feel? •What needs Adjusting? Balance Purpose ListsCalendar Purple Productivity Principles 7 How?Do • How do you maintain Focus? • What tools? • How productive is your environment?
  8. 8. I am convinced you need a TRUSTED SYSTEM to support you getting stuff done 8 Take Notes Capture Ideas Make Lists Save for Later Eliminate Distractions Track my Time Scan Documents Create Invoices
  9. 9. Building Your Trusted System  Essential Elements – A list manager (might be paper) – A Calendar – A place to store reference material (might be a hanging file) – An email program 9
  10. 10. Your Choices will be influenced by.. 10  Hardware  Inclinations towards digital v paper  Budget  Willingness to invest time learning
  11. 11. Considerations that drive MY selections LIST MANAGER • Flexible & Configurable • Synchronise between devices • Easy capture • Good Integration with email, Calendar, Reference CALENDAR •Handle Multiple calendars (multiple work accounts + home) •Multi-device •Integration with List Manager REFERENCE STORE • Multi-device • Support multiple doc formats • Easy capture • Good Search, Tagging, etc EMAIL • Multiple accounts into single inbox • Good offline capability • Good search • Easy List Manager integration 11 Hardware MacBook Air iPhone 6 iPad Mini Pen & Paper
  12. 12. My Current Choices (simplified) 12
  13. 13. Why I Chose Apple Mail  I have 7 email accounts (work, personal, plus 5 client accounts) on different platforms (Gmail, Exchange, iCloud)  I don’t use mail folders much – I find it’s quicker to use search instead  Apple mail feels fast and light compared with many web-based email clients  Extensive use of keyboard shortcuts aid productivity  Integration with Omnifocus means I can create actions direct from Mail (with link back to original email)
  14. 14. Why I Chose Omnifocus  Services allow me to create tasks directly from emails, or web pages  Otherwise can email a task directly into Omnifocus Email address  I can drag Tasks directly from my lists into my Apple Calendar – particularly useful when scheduling tasks for the coming week  Consistent but separate UI optimised for Mac and iOS – iOS works particularly well offline  Highly customisable to my environment  Note: OmniFocus is for MacOS/iOS only. Windows users may want to consider Todoist or ToodleDo
  15. 15. My OmniFocus Setup  Contexts – Inbox – This Week (by Friday) • Big Tasks • Little Tasks – Next Week – Next 4 Weeks – Later – Someday – Routine – Waiting  Project Folders – Client Work • Separate folder for each client – Business Development • Prospecting • Blog • Lead Generation • Offering Development – Administration • Business Admi • Expenses & Invoicing • Productivity – Home & Balance • Fun • Health & Wellbeing • Home Maintenance • Car-related • Garden Operation • Tasks get into Omnifocus by direct typing, adding direct from Mail (via Clip-O-Tron) or via Siri in iPhone (using iOS Reminders integration) • Any new actions, by default come straight into the Omnifocus Inbox. I can worry about categorising later. • Contexts. I no longer use the traditional contexts (@home, @computer, etc) as my work choices are rarely based on my location. Instead I use them to group activities by when they should be completed. • In my Weekly Review I transfer all the large items for the following week onto my calendar. • The Today Perspective (as described by Brett Kelly) is used to show me which tasks are due today, along with any items that I have flagged (from whatever context) • I use Due Dates only when absolutely necessary – the contexts implementation largely takes away the need. • Flags are used to denote actions that I want to add to my focus for today. • The OmniFocus user community is very active and a great source of inspiration for whatever you are trying to do with OF.
  16. 16. Alternative List Managers  Todoist – Haven’t tried it, but the UI looks very simple and gurus like Mike Vardy and Erik Fisher use it. If I hadn’t already invested in Omnfocus, I would probably start here.  Asana – Very popular platform for teams rather than individuals.  eProductivity (Lotus Notes) – Integrates fully with Lotus Notes (replaces mail template) – Workflow and Reference in one environment – Highly recommended for Notes Users – I no longer use Lotus Notes – Does anyone outside IBM?  ActiveInbox (Gmail extension) – Powerful tool if you want to manage your day from within your email. I want to separate the 2 items – I found it limited around printing and the lack of a native iOS became a real issue so I ditched it  IQTell – Looked promising for a while. Tries to become a dashboard over your email, todo lists, Evernote etc – I found the UI a little cumbersome and struggled with it’s implementation of projects. – However, a strong candidate and good support – Ultimately I left the plaftorm because I found having mail and todo lists in the same platform to be a distraction more than a benefit. If I’m doing work I want email out of sight!  Evernote – Some people try to use Evernote as their GTD system – after all if it’s already the reference system, why not extend it further? Read more here from Ruud Hein – I found it too clunky– simply asking a great tool to do something for which it wasn’t designed.
  17. 17. Why I Chose Apple Calendar  Unified calendar across all my mail accounts (including a “home’ calendar shared with my wife  Omnifocus tasks can be dragged directly to the calendar  In my weekly review I look at the big tasks for the next week and drag them into free slots in my calendar – I use a separate iCloud calendar for scheduling work – Forces me to confront the time available for work between meetings  I work from the calendar rather than an Omnifocus list during the day – Simple principle: What gets scheduled gets done – When I start work on a task, I also start the Toggl timer – I have the same Project structure in OmniFocus and Toggl. Therefore I can track intention versus reality.
  18. 18. Why I Chose Evernote  The Evernote Web Clipper allows me to copy and file any web page straight into Evernote. I use this CONSTANTLY  Evernote offers Tagging – more flexible than folders for retrieving information (items can have multiple tags)  Offline storage on Apple device – so all info always available  Import folders – allows, for instance, PDF downloads to be automatically imported for later reading  Outstanding search capabilities – Advanced OCR capabilities allow even handwritten/scanned notes to be indexed and searched – Evernote search can be integrated with Google search, allowing you to search the web and you Evernote library at the same time. – I don’t use Folders very much these days – Search plus tags is perfectly sufficient,
  19. 19. My Evernote Setup  After many years I’ve now greatly simplified my setup. The reality is that Evernote has great search capabilities (including saved search) and tags – with that I can do all I want from a reference bucket  Most things get into Evernote directly, or emailed, or using the Evernote Web Clipper  I tend to use the following Notebooks – Inbox (this is the default Notebook). During my Weekly Review I will process any items in here so that it is empty – Reference. This is a single notebook into which I place anything I want to keep. I use tags to group them under key topics (eg recipes, receipts, garden, client names, etc) – Read. This is a Notebook I use for articles/PDFs/Presentations that I find on the web (or get emailed) that I want to read later. Once I’ve read them I’ll move  With the Clipper I can automatically place articles into folders and tag them accordingly  By Default, emails etc go into Evernote into Folder called “Inbox”. I can then tag them  I use searches and saved searches to get rapid access to information. Check out Brett Kelly’s list of saved searches.
  20. 20. Other Key Players in my Productivity Team 20 Function Application Platforms List Manager OmniFocus MacOS, iOS Reference File Evernote MacOS, Windows, iOS, Android, Web Note Taking Notability MacOS, iOS Mind Mapping iThoughts MacOS, iOS Typing Accelerator aText MacOS Accounting (UK) Quickfile Web Time Tracking Toggl MacOS, Windows, iOS, Android, Web Flow Charts LucidChart Web (Chrome) Read more about each of these at my Purple Salix Blog
  21. 21. My Full Productivity Setup 21
  22. 22.  I offer bespoke coaching for individuals or teams wanting to become more intentional in the way they use their time – Aligning Activities with Goals – Prioritising – Focus and Balance  Please get in touch – Found this Useful?
  23. 23. Additional Resources  I write regularly on my blog about various topics related to personal productivity – The Purple Salix Blog  I also curate a weekly newspaper of latest articles from around the world on Productivity and Marketing – The Purple Patch 23
  24. 24. Thank You! Pete Jakob Purple Salix Limited +44 7710 820512 @curdridge 24