Saturday, July 4, 2009

Productivity?


My first thought when I hear that word is some sort of factory conveyor belt!

However, in my quest this year to LIVE (my word for the year), I have learned this word now refers to making the very best use of my time and Getting Things Done. Sounds like just the thing to reduce stress about stuff that is behind and increase time to do the stuff you want, rather than be a slave to stuff you have to do.

My other goal along these lines is to become as paperless as possible. Paper equals clutter and clutter equals stress and I don't need that!

So - here I am, mid way through the year. What is working?


Time management:
Remember The Milk RTM - working really well. I have it installed just about everywhere, which makes it really hard to ignore! I have gadgets on my Google desktop and iGoogle page, it is synced with Outlook and Google Calendar and I have the app on my Blackberry. I mainly use it for personal tasks that are done away from the computer, like getting prescriptions filled before I run out, remembering to get cash out to pay my wonderful cleaning angel and stuff to buy at various retailers.

I have moved away from using it to manage my work/volunteer To Do list, as I have now discovered Toodledo, I find Toodledo's options allow me to categorise projects/tasks in a more useable way, it also has an iGoogle gadget :) but not a Google Desktop gadget :( and an app for the Blackberry.

Information management: I am now a firm fan of Evernote, Delicious and Google Reader, who between them keep my information up to date and accessible.

Evernote replaces filing and notebooks, with searchable files and notes being synced automatically between my desktop and online notebooks AND the ability to read handwritten notes which I can scan or photograph and send to the pool. New rule - scan, save, shred.

Delicious - which I thought was "just" an online bookmarking service, has been much more, as it offers the ability to subscribe to tags of interest and brings up sites that other people bookmark under those tags!

And Google Reader allows me to subscribe to as many blogs as I wish, with a gadget on my iGoogle and a couple of great add-ons: a subscribe button on my toolbar and a next button, which lets me power through my reading by taking me straight to the unread blog post!

Access all areas:
I made the move fom Internet Explorer to Google Chrome several months ago. I mostly love it, resent it lacks some of my preferred tools (auto-fill, which is in the Google toolbar for other broswers, but not their own? And compatibilty with my beloved Robo Form password manager :( ) However, I love the functionaility of Chrome and am willing to wait til these tools come to it, rather than battle with IE. I tried Firefox, but didn't really like it that much.

iGoogle however, changed my life!! Alright, just my online life! Now my home page, it has gadgets that bring all the stuff I use to one place! My current set up includes Facebook, Twitter, Toodled, RTM, Gmail, Google Calendar, bookmarks, Google Reader, News Alerts, ABC news headlines, weather radar, Evernote and Delicious! All on the one page. I have a complete overview and can easily move to the full sites of any of these or just use the scaled down access right there. LOVE IT!!!

Google Desktop is a new addition to my tools but I couldn't be without it already. Permanently stuck on the side of my screen, all my normal stuff (browser, programs etc) open up in the slightly smaller than usual space, so the desktop is always in sight. As are the gadgets I choose for it to display - currently my RTM list, Twitter (how I found out MJ died etc), a battery monitor, analogue clock, current weather and a small note pad I can dump my brain into as needed!

Over at the central control centre AKA Microsoft Outlook, my world has changes as I embraced Inbox Zero as normal expectation instead of mission impossible.

Orla made the difference, an add-on that introduced for essential buttons to my life: Ditch, Deal, Delegate, Decide. Instead of emails building up in the inbox, I handle each one in turn with one of these buttons. Ditch is the most used button: 90% of what I read I don't need to keep just in case, so I don't! Deal means I either reply/forward immediately or it is moved to my To Do, Follow Up, Waiting On or Send to Evernote folders! Delegate I don't use so much - probably because I have no staff LOL! Decide means I need to add it to the calendar, create a task in Toodled or file it in the corresponding folder for future access. Three times a day, I work my email back to zero - in the morning (two shifts @home over breakfast and @work after I arrive), before I leave work and before I go to bed.

And because all work etc, I love my Xobni add-on, because while I process these emails, the senders profile pops up to the side - including their Facebook profile if we are friends! So a little bit of water cooler action without leaving what I am doing! Bliss!

So, that's some of the tools that will be migrated to my new laptop nect week :) Stay tuned for more.

2 comments:

Kevin said...

Hi Yvette,

It looks like you have some great tools there, thanks for posting some of those links.

I've been working on a tool that you might be interested in, it is a project management tool for Microsoft Outlook. I wanted to let you know about it and get your feedback.

The site can be found here: http://www.MissingLinkProjectCenter.com

Kevin
Kevin@MissingLinkProjectCenter.com

YvetteDownunder said...

Thanks Kevin! I have downloaded the trial and so far I like what I see - you have plugged the one gap my system has - a simple way to manage projects in Outlook!!! Once I have my new laptop set up, I will definitely look at buying your product! It also seems happy to work with Orla, which gets an extra thumbs up!