My Productivity Tools…

When you’re spending an hour a day running, you need to be smart with the time you have. That’s why I wanted to pass along some of the tools I use and How I Work.

The foray into productivity started with reading Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. Since reading that I picked up many “self-help”/leadership books that typically share common themes. First Thing First. Create Margin. Plan before Action. Just Do Something. You get the point. But in today’s mobile and web network, there are some great resources that might be effective in your life.

Evernote (Web, Desktop, iOS)
How I Use It: 
Great for long term, centralized storage. Still trying to use Evernote to it’s potential including using Tags to easily reference items. Right now I have frequently used documents (past tax returns, financial statements, logins, insurance forms) in Evernote. Evernote integrates into many applications. I also setup Outlook contact ‘Evernote’ to directly email into Evernote. The Web Clipper tool is a handy tool to build internet wish lists or collect recipes.

Asana (Web, iOS)
How I Use It: 
My to do list. I’m a huge David Allen and Getting Things Done (often just GTD). Asana is my web app to easily maintain a feature rich to do list. If I get a task through email – I simply forward into Asana and it is stored in my Workspace. Asana is intended for team collaboration – but have adapted it just for personal use. You can setup many projects to include smaller tasks. However, my projects are contexts. For example, I have Home, Work, Calls, Read/Research/Review, Shopping, Agendas/Conversations, Waiting On. So I can simply move tasks into those contexts to easily knock out the calls in one batch.

Feedly (Web, iOS)
How I Use It: If you browse the internet, you may develop FOMO. FOMO is a fear of missing out. So to save time spent browsing each website for updates, Feedly is a productive RSS-reader to capture blog updates or new posts on your favorite news site. The feeds can be organized into groups and easily reviewed to see if you want to read further or if the article doesn’t interest you enough to click further. Feedly is my blog/content collection tool which I then save to Pocket.

Pocket (Web/iOS)
How I Use It: Pocket is another collection tool – but of a different breed. Pocket is my online “Read/Research/Review Folder”. If there is a linked article in Twitter, I save to pocket. When I stumble across a random web page and want to check it out later, I’ll save it to pocket. Then when I have time set outside to read online stuff – I can simply access Pocket to go through the saved articles. The iPhone app allows me to read on the go and the Chrome extension lets me one-click save web pages.

iTrackMyTime (iOS)
How I Use It: “It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?”— HENRY DAVID THOREAU. Many of my work projects are billable to the client, so I need to take note of the time spent working with them. However, I use this app beyond that time card. Do you ever wonder exactly what you did during the day or want to see if there are time holes in your day? Keeping track using this richly designed iPhone app present reports for exactly what consumes your calendar.

These are what I use. The key is to find your own system and continually tweak and refine to what works best for you. Sometimes I use a Moleskin notebook and a pen to get the “crossing off the to-do item” feeling.

What do you use for your to-do list? 

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