Most of us need multiple packing checklists to cater for the different situations in which we find ourselves: a kids’ toys checklist for a beach holiday maybe and a very different one for a conference or an international flight. There are specialist apps that help you set up customised checklists, but why would you spend money and manage yet another app when Evernote already provides you with all the tools to create a packing checklist across all your devices?
In this post I want to share with you how I have set up my packing checklists in Evernote. It may not win a design award, but it is easy to set up and use, as well as totally customisable. The ingredients: simple Evernote checklists and note links that tie them all together and make it easier to navigate between individual lists. Continue reading →
In my previous post I introduced you to IQTELL’s virtual workspace, which brings together all your calendars, email accounts, contact information, tasks and notes into the one gargantuan browser-based application.
In this post I want to use a couple of screenshots provided by the IQTELL team to zoom in upon one of those areas and take you on a tour of IQTELL as a task manager. Continue reading →
This post, dear reader, commences as a tale of mystery. A dark tale of late night tweets and skype calls across the continents. It all started with a tweet inviting Ozengo to become a beta tester for something called ‘IQTELL’ and proposing ‘a private session’. Now Ozengo knew about cold calling, but was new to the world of cold tweeting. Or should that be #coldtweeting? Anyhow, Ozengo’s curiosity was piqued sufficiently for him to fire up his trusted mac to unleash some serious research upon this whole IQTELL proposition.
It turned out that the IQTELL crowd claimed to have developed ‘a single, fully integrated application that allows you to manage all your needs‘. Ozengo’s initial response was one of scepticism. Most things that sound too good to be true are just that. However, it being a cold and rainy saturday morning in Melbourne, Ozengo looked further afield and came across consistently positive comments about this fledgling beta on user forums. Could this be true, a browser-based application that provided integration with your email, calendar, contacts and Evernote? That was steeped in David Allen’s Getting Things Done® (GTD®) methodology and fully customisable?
Having signed up as a beta tester, Ozengo set to work, quickly and methodically, and this is what he discovered:
One of the core principles of David Allen’s Getting Things Done™ (GTD™) approach to task management is that you need a ‘trusted system’ for capturing all the information, ideas and tasks that come your way. Evernote is eminently well-suited for the ‘collect’ phase of the GTD process: it provides an intuitive, versatile and robust repository for every shred of information that you may wish to collect, whether that be a business card, a recipe or a web page. You can sort your information in folders, tag individual items and retrieve your information thanks to a lightning-fast search function. Evernote is zenlike in its simplicity, but can it be adapted to support the more complex phases of a GTD workflow? Will it help you process all this information, organise tasks and review priorities? Can it help you to get things done? Or are you better off co-opting a custom-built application like Zendone, which was designed to provide a task management overlay to help you work with the information stored in Evernote? Continue reading →
Does this sound familiar: you subscribe to a newsletter because you are interested in a topic; the newsletters start arriving in your inbox, brimming with superbly relevant information, yet after a while you feel overwhelmed rather than stimulated. You face a forest of factoids, a twirl of tweets, hystËricÅl hyperlinks – you feel like abandoning your 1,274 facebook friends and retreat into the cave of caveats. You, my friend, may be suffering from informatosis.
This post describes how I am trying to turn the tide of information overload and chaos in one area of my life by using evernote and omnifocus to keep track of literary awards that I learn about via twitter or newsletters. How can you capture snippets of information, regain an overview and build a platform that you can use for action? If literary awards are ‘not your thing’, you may still be interested in the principle of storing information in evernote and tracking associated tasks and deadlines though omnifocus. Continue reading →
Fools rush in, they say, where angels fear to tread. I thought I would create a diagram, using XMind, a free mind-mapping program, to ‘shortlist’ selected task management programs from a couple of user perspectives.
There are no winners: most of the listed apps have the capacity to boost your productivity enormously. Choosing a productivity app is largely a matter of personal preference – you have to feel comfortable with how data are entered, with the views on offer, with the workflow and the colour scheme. Some of that takes time; an app that dazzles you in the first week may feel suffocating and uninformative once it needs to handle a couple of hundred tasks.
You can question many aspects of my diagram. For example, most of the listed apps support various degrees of customisation; I have only listed omnifocus, gqueues and toodledo as being extraordinarily versatile in that area. For ‘bug free’ I have set the bar equally high.
There are also gaps in my diagram. I have not included apps that I have never explored (call me traditional), nor apps that are primarily geared towards note taking (such as evernote, that swiss army knife of productivity) or team collaboration (such as basecamp or flow). I have not included other parameters, such as whether file attachments are supported. There is only so much that will fit on a page.
My aim in posting this is not to provide complete or authoritative advice, but to provide a couple of pointers for people who are trying to find a task management app that may work for them. I would appreciate constructive feedback!
Today marks the launch of new desktop versions for windows and mac of the nozbe productivity app. This post is a fully independent review of version 1.00 of the mac desktop version, which I am running on os 10.7.3 (lion).
Nozbe is the brainchild of michael swilinski of apivision, whose website describes the software as a ‘web-based time- and project-management application for busy people and teams’.
Nozbe has been available as a browser-based app for five years. More recently, the company released apps for the ipad and the iphone. The desktop version can be downloaded for free from the nozbe website. It works faster than the browser version and lets you work offline. Continue reading →
Most to-do lists nowadays provide the capacity to attach a note to a task. These notes can vary from a couple of lines to extensive web clippings or file attachments. The gold standard these days seems to be whether the productivity app provides integration with evernote. I will look briefly at four that do: omnifocus, nirvana, nozbe and zendone – although ‘integration’ seems to mean something quite different in each case.
A word of warning: this is a rather dry, technical post and if you would rather bail out now I am happy to direct you to a very funny post by a fellow blogger who recently shared his anxieties about niches, target audiences, flagging readership and the like. I can relate to that – my WordPress country stats show me I am yet to make headway into South America, China, Africa and Iceland. Most places, actually. Where are you folks?
Zen is not commonly associated with productivity. However, as a western buddhist working in a large organisation I was able to draw on the clarity, simplicity and integrity that characterise zen in refining my work habits. Other sources of inspiration over the years were stephen covey’s seven habits of highly effective people (1989) and david allen’s how to get things done – the art of stress-free productivity (2001).
The list below shows what works for me – some steps, strategies and workarounds I have developed for tackling complex projects.
articulate your vision
think big, describe what your dream looks like, where you want to be in five, ten years’ time
do not let your thinking be constrained by current practices, resource constraints or technical difficulies at this point
once you are satisfied with the vision you have articulated, embrace it and and start living accordingly
translate your vision into a broad plan
identify what needs to happen for your vision to become a reality
start grouping these change areas into domains (for example, research, skills or product development, strategic alliances)
identify opportunities for learning and collaboration for each of these domains (for example, online research, formal study, finding a mentor, informal networking)
do a ‘skills audit’: can you do this by yourself or within your current team configuration?
identify your personal supports: who is already on your side; with whom can you share your progress and frustrations?
talk to people – they may come up with great suggestions or point out a ‘blind spot’ in your thinking
develop an indicative timeline and costing
remember the saying: ‘a vision without action is a daydream; action without a vision a nightmare’