Posted in Techniques, Tools

What’s your productivity every day carry?

“What’s in your wallet?”  

That’s the tagline from a major credit card company that raises an interesting question in the productivity space. If we expand our thinking beyond the limitations of our physical pocket we can start addressing the bigger question: 

“What’s in your productivity wallet?” 

The concept of every day carry (EDC) has been around for years, developing an almost cult like following in some corners of the interwebs. Posts on Pinterest, blog articles, Instagram feeds all showing the things in our pockets we won’t leave home without.

Unfortunately the one thing these feeds miss out on is the why.  Why are you carrying what you’re carrying? What’s the benefit of the commitment to the item? The same question applies to the items in your “productivity pockets”. 

Every tool you use should have a clear and direct benefit to your productivity if you consider it an “every day carry” tool. Things such as task lists, note trackers, and calendars all have specific benefits. 

Make sure you know exactly what the benefit of a tool is and the ramifications of not having that tool immediately available are. 

Redundant functionality is another consideration of your “productivity every day carry” thinking. For example, I use a task tracker (Todoist) multiple times a day, but I also carry a small paper notebook and pen with me all the time.

People have commented, “Why bother with the notebook and pen if you have your phone with you?” Yes, the functionality is redundant and that’s the exact reason why. In cases where I need to capture or reference something while using my phone for something else at the same time, the paper notebook and pen are invaluable. 

When was the last time you tried to provide information to someone from your phone while on the phone at the same time?  It’s not as easy as people make it out to be.  However, taking 5 seconds to write down that confirmation code into a notebook and then enter it into a note management tool when the call is done makes all the difference in the world. 

To refine your productivity everyday carry start with making a list of every tool you use during the course of a day. Repeat that process every day for a week.  Now go through your list and sort the tools by frequency of use.  This process will help you identify the tools that are critical to you vs. the ones you just need to have accessible on demand. 

Being aware of the tools you need and how to make those tools a trusted part of your productivity system will make you more prepared, more confident, and ultimately more successful. Spend a little time to reap a much bigger reward from your productivity EDC. 

Posted in Uncategorized

Tips on choosing YOUR productivity solution

How do you choose a productivity solution for your needs?  What is the process of deciding what will work best for you, be the best investment of your time and effort, and provide the long term support you need?  There are hundreds of articles on the web suggesting what you should be using based on the current wisdom.  

Let’s talk about what you’re trying to accomplish.  There are a plethora of tools out there (as demonstrated by the Springpad G+ community I assure you) but the one(s) that are right for you will come down to a couple of decisions:


1.  How do you want to put content in?  You mentioned you are a “clipper” who is primarily a mobile user so that should be the first evaluation criteria you apply.  Without content capture in a consistent, efficient manner any solution can fail.


2.  How do you want the content back?  Do you like to read full articles later?  Get taken to your web browser? Read things in an app?  Look at what you’re doing now and how you’re happiest accessing what you’ve captured.


3.  Where do you want to access the content?  Are you a person who needs your information on the go or is it for later use?  Are you a “sit down and organize” or a “let me do this while I’m waiting in line” kind of person.  These kinds of self-aware observations can make or break your choice of tool.


Recommendations:


1. Start slow.  Ease into your tool choices.  Try them for a few days.  Don’t be afraid of test drives.  These are tools…not life choices.


2. Adapt.  Nothing says a tool has to be used as it was designed.  One of the strengths of Springpad was its ability to be adapted to various needs and content.  Do the same to make things fit you.


3.  Ask.  Online communities are the place to get people to share ideas and thoughts about how to deal with your challenges.  There is an amazing power to this kind of community.  Not to be self promoting…but it’s a pump of ideas primed and ready to flow.  đŸ™‚