Boost Your Productivity With …
… a set of simple tools. Episodically, when there is too much mess around, I read something about GTD, productivity etc. Recently I found this article by Paul Klipp: “Personal Productivity”. It’s not a new article, spiced up with marketing stuff, but anyway has really some useful things inside. I decided to adapt these advices for myself. So, what are main ingredients of energy drink?
Ingredient #1: Mind map of all the ideas/things to do, with several branches like: Work, Home etc. I see no point using online tools for making mind maps cause I’ve got Microsoft Visio: it has specific template for brainstorming, so I just tweaked it. My mind map looks like that:
It’s just a sample, not the actual one. It’s always on my PC desktop, I update it time-to-time and use an open-source utility to put picture on the desktop: Dual Monitor Tools. It perfectly works with both single and multiscreen configuration.
Ingredient #2: Kanban board with several columns, e.g.: ‘Backlog’, ‘This Week’, ‘Today’, ‘Doing’ and ‘Done’. Task visualization is the key. Another one: limits, e.g. no more than 5 tasks a day, no more than 2-3 should be in progress. I’m not a big fan of online tools, so I started to look for some offline alternative. I spent several days googling and finally found … nothing that I like. I don’t think that Word, Excel or OneNote can be an option. It should be as simple as physical whiteboard with sticky notes. Finally I developed it for myself (it’s here). It looks nice and I really like it:
Now finally I can keep all the tasks in the single place. Every Monday I move some tasks from ‘Backlog’ to ‘This Week‘, every morning – from ‘This Week’ to ‘Today’ and so on. If something has to be repeated I change deadline date/time and move it to ‘Backlog’.
Some spice: a timer to track time spent on tasks, also known as ‘pomodoro timer’. Main idea is to focus on the single task for 25 minutes, then take a 5 minutes break – it’s a single “pomodoro” - and so on. Every 4 “pomodoros” take a 15 minutes break, or have a launch, or better make 100 push ups. I found a very simple windows sidebar gadget (more one, more funky one). Now my personal kanban board has built-in one.
Ingredient #3: Calendar for tasks related to some date and time. I can setup deadlines for tasks in my board, but occasionally use Hotmail calendar, it works well in offline mode. Google Calendar also has offline version, but it works only with Chrome browser.
Ingredient #4: Seinfeld charts. It’s actually quite simple thing, may be used e.g. for counting “pomodoros” every day. I think I can live without it, so currently do not use any charts.
That’s almost all. One more crucial ingredient, my own one: it’s obstinacy. Without it nothing works.