My Productivity System
Last couple of weeks (or months) I have been trying to read as much as I can on productivity and was trying to re-organize my flow and how I get things done and organized. I have been using Evernote (with implemented GTD: Getting Things Done a-la solution The Secret Weapon, that uses smart tagging system) to plan my goals, projects, tasks and general references. To be honest, it worked, but I didn’t quite like it. So I decided to re-develop it. This article is the result of such an effort.
Everything started couple of years back by reading Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits and David Allen’s Getting Things Done (which I haven’t read, but have read other books/articles discussing it, like Zen-to-done). But with the recent development of apps and Cloud solutions I had to re-visit my “system”.
The book that started my recent quest was The Organized Mind (which I highly recommend) that also introduced some practical solutions like Asana. The key takeaway from the book is to “externalize you memory”. Having things floating in my head (things I need to do) just killed my productivity and focus. When I was working on something my thoughts have been jumping all around (which might not be that bad in creative persons and endeavors, but sometimes we need to shut it down – read more in The Organized Mind; it is again complementary thing).
I approached this problem in two ways. First one one was using “via Negativa” (or limiting waste to use Lean/Toyota term) – removing things that distracted me. The second one was “via Positiva” – by adding things that organizes me and setting up the applications and apps. I will cover both.
Together with mentioned books (The Organized Mind, Steven Covey and David Allen books) I highly recommend checking to following ones as well. They are much shorter and get to the point immediately.
The “Factory of One” is such a great book that influenced most of what I am writing here. There is a free webinar HERE which outlines the whole Lean/Agile idea of personal productivity.
Reboot your life is also great little book that sets you up straight with your goals, projects and tasks. Besides, the author’s second book “The Science of Successful Organization Change” is also very funny and insightful book on leadership and change management.
“Personal Kanban” is a book about visualizing your work (this is called “information radiator” in Lean/Agile practices) to get the big picture and spot the bottle necks. It is great way to create clarity and transparency not only in personal area, but mostly in group and corporation settings. Will touch this more later. In the mean time watch the short video below. Also check Jim Benson website.
There is also free Wiki that outlines “Getting Results the Agile Way” book HERE. It is small book, but quite repetitive – so I guess wiki is enough the get the key message.
All in all, these books really good rounds up the Lean/Agile approach and complement each other. The key with Lean/Agile is removing waste, but also action – don’t dwelling on creating a perfect system (like I usually tell, but never seem to follow up my own recommendations), but rather something usable that you can easily remodel as you go. That’s why I used “in an attempt” in the title. Here is another FREE article that summarize Lean/Toyota way (recommended reading).
Now that I covered my apriori (using Bayesian terminology and trying to sound smart) I will cover my posteriori implementation.