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Focusing on Task Part 2

Lesson 4 from: Time Management 101

Mike Vardy

Focusing on Task Part 2

Lesson 4 from: Time Management 101

Mike Vardy

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Lesson Info

4. Focusing on Task Part 2

Lesson Info

Focusing on Task Part 2

Evernote this is where the chat room lights up because I tried ever know, and I just couldn't s so big so much numerous platforms, name of platform ever know it's available on it. I like every note for capturing ideas for capturing big projects. I've even used it. I used a lot of it actually for this presentation for building this up, and I'll be writing a post about it for next week actually might even be for tomorrow. I can't remember when it goes up, but, uh, you could see here that there's notebooks, notes, tags, tags again key. They're also there the equivalent of contexts in aps in a lot of cases. So I can actually have multiple notebooks so I can store certain things and notebooks. We run mikes on mike's using, uh, ever know in terms of sharing stuff because my my partners in brooklyn, michael schachter. So we share an evernote notebook that allows us to capture the ideas forever it for guests for topics. All that stuff goes right in there. You could see there. There's my worksh...

op outlined some of the stuff, some of the bonuses for the courses I was coming up with those I put them in there, most of that stuff actually came from drafts into there. Uh, the other great thing about ever know in terms of capture is if you're on the web if you're surfing the internet there's an ever no web clipper which I'm sure you've used extensively, which allows you to clip certain websites or portions thereof and put them into the notebook that you want, right? So even if you just start with some notes and then you met, build a notebook and then you start clipping things into certain notebooks you can skate evernote scales incredibly well, there are reminders and evernote I don't use them again, I'm not focusing on time I'm focusing on task and this is a place where a lot of things incubate anyways, it's not really a place where I spend ah lot of time processing any kind of tasks, okay? The other great thing about every note is that again with tags minimum now I don't use a lot of tags, but I have a lot of notebooks and talk a bit more about that when it comes to task managers and howto how to balance that so that you're not having a hard time getting effective with that uh, everyone's great andi, I think that it's one of those tools where people just get overwhelmed with it because it could do so much, but again, it's scales do we have any people like that are either freaking out about every note are like oh my god drafts I should get no for the most part a lot of positive comments about every note tasneem says I like every no good for capturing stuff online and even pds but you're right there are some people who said that it is a bit overwhelming michaela says I use ever note but I've already noticed that I need to figure out mohr I have use it more effectively right and it's all about you got to think about every note as a digital filing cabinet that's how I look at it right I look at is like the notebooks are the different folders the notes of the notes that go inside the folders and one of the key things that if you're if you're having problems with ever now one of the things that I do is I created every no notebook called inbox I just call inbox and if I don't know where something's supposed to go that's where I put something so if I'm clipping something like oh I might want this later for something and it's not a someday maybe thing like it's not a map of bali it's like something else I will actually put it in my inbox because then later I'll go on process that in box right and then I'll put things where they need to go see a little bit of like I was just thinking it makes it likely david allen approach those do you have to put it in a box I think or something like that but if I don't have I don't want to print out every health no no well the thing is is that if you get an e mail and I'm going to show you the next the next application that I'm gonna show you definitely helps you in terms of where you want things to go but if your fourteen emails two from like outlook er from mail dot apple from any of these if you create an inbox in every note then that's and you make that your primary notebook your default notebook then when you forward emails to that using the ever known e mail addresses provided with then it's that it's at least in the application that it needs to be just more used absolutely it's in the right inbox basically what you're doing is taking something from my in box you know like your mailbox right think about this in the terms like this your postal maalox you don't leave stuffing your postal mailbox you put it like the bill's going bill folder right? Well think about it that way something that something that is going to be related to a project you want foster and ever know or an idea you're gonna afford it to the evernote inbox and then you're gonna look at every note later go where does this go? Right that way you get out of email really quickly but another way you can get an email really quickly another iphone app sorry android fans uh dispatch um this tool is my primary email application of choice on any platform I process email on my mac but I largely used my iphone because it's with me be so when I'm checking email the two to three times a day I check it I can look at it and go where does this go so you can see here there's an e mail from someone very important uh that I want to make sure it goes to where it needs to go so I click on the lower button there you could see where the forward arrow is and that goes opens up this this little dialog box really and you can decide there's a multitude of aps that air in there that you can decide which ones you want to activate which ones you don't it's generally based on what's installed on your iphone but you could see there I've got stuff that I can send tommy focus I've got stuff that I can say I created taschen asana so if it's a team based task I can create it there or I consented to ever know so if it's an idea or if it's a reference material because that's what that's what I would send avenue from email something that's a reference or something that's information not a task per se I can send it there I can even send it to fantastic out which my calendar application will talk about that a little bit later so if someone says hey jamie says hey I want to meet with you are they could talk a bit about day three I can say sure let's talk about you so how about this date and I consent it's fantastic out so what that does is it gets me out of that e mail application and in tow where things need to be seen as that two way communication right just like time can't control email some people going to send you emails and you can't say won't can you wait a couple of hours to sending that e mail please no they're not gonna so you have to have control over that element and that's this is one area where you can yes it's just like a second green box are so it's no no this access your mail letting your mail client so basically instead of using a default male app on my iphone, I use this I mean, obviously the one caveat is that if your opening things in safari or whatever apple will want you to open up the mail application but I'm just I've gotten used to the point where I just get to use dispatch so it's the one that sits right on my my syracuse apple smell you use this instead? No chinese apples, male on either of my devices, okay? No, I don't like it. Not at all. Do you have any anything else out there in terms of tools that people are using? Yeah, there's a tool here that I have never thought about before, and I'm very interested, but aaron berger says to create a completely separate google voice account with a voicemail that just says go turn it on, do not disturb and forward the email to your primary email address mobile typing free immediately, mind um, at zero costs so just set up a voice in box calling it and leaving yourself messages wow, that's, some front end work there, a mechanical voice, those I think that's that's, um, accessibility and that's a lot of people, when they start to get into this stuff, will do that. Like, how can I hack this? How could I make this? Is frictionless as possible? And, I mean, I'm talking about bare bones here, and some people are going to say, well, wow, that seems really complex that to me, it's like, wow, that's, the magical google stuff happening there any anything else that we have our let's see, there was a lot of conversation about the maps that we were nothing and they're not they used him and how well very cool all right and the final one because I don't want to google out of equation entirely google keep so is this is like the alternative teo ever now this is what google's answer is toe not really available android and web based it is it is great again for idea capture as you can see there's going quick notes it could be it to do if you want but this is another area where you could just capture stuff and one thing I like about google keep versus some of the other ones that are used for this is the use of color I'm very big on on visual touchstones uh they scream at me like they say you know, hey, this is what this is this is what this means this is what this means this what this means so I like color and this is one thing that I really appreciate about that because a lot of them don't really offer that that color aspect evernote certainly doesn't, um but this definitely does so so I want to talk right now really briefly about your task manager of choice just to the people that just so you guys here so let's let's start with jamie so you really using paper in your brain right like like do you have a date timer that you're using it all or is it is it just like to know why I do this as too like for example I think this would be just like a something for quantity like time to say that I have to do this that they but in my collender which transfer eventually you'd be like okay, I have this important us there have to be done that would be mark want quality this is quantity to quality okay okay. And then maybe at night I will just recapture what have done and I have not accomplished okay, so that used to my wrap up sheet you know? Okay, so you see, your task manager really is you're to me I think you're missing like a critical middle step yeah, I know that's what hope which we're gonna get to because I'm going to talk about the work flow here in a second so that now you know after you use on the focus right I use only focus for tasks and then I use reminders for lists okay, the task could be do grocery shopping and reminders is where you would make a grocery list and your chair with your wife and she could add her items to write that's very handy have been using that a lot especially now that baking right we're out of brown sugar so so you're using that, and then are you? How are you getting things in tommy folk? Gus, if you could just go to the inbox, sometimes emails become only focus tasks using mail drop or something like that always distorting progress. And yeah, I mean, I want to talk really quickly about how a lot of these aps do have that ability, ford directly into it from your email and lots of times, you know, you just you don't forward the entire female because it's confident tell me and what not to say, do this and it is forwarded and that that's easy and that's critical for something like ever notre asan or anything web based. Uh, if you have ever dealing confidential stuff, especially clients it's, very important to take out what isn't important or what is confidential and just use have those triggers their right because when they're sinking upto, like, ever notre or asana, you're going, you're leaving the native environment, right? So that that's a very good point. Very valid point to bring up. What about you, jennifer? Pretty much. I have a notebook for a small notebook. Pretty jewess. Uh, that includes grocery lists and just kind of joining down it's sort of like capture everything right? I think for me but it gets a little jumbled because it's both the to do list of like tasks and then the brain storming yeah so that's where it gets kind of messy that's my primary one I use I think I used ever known more for like information holding onto information like notes from calls or notes from interviews I've done sure or just, you know notes to myself like you know, I like you know I like this book that I read about presentations and hear my thoughts about it and you know this I talked to this person about presentations and here's what they said back is a little bit jumbled too so at this point you've actually started use ever know in a way that's very simple but you can scale it. So for example, what I would suggest you immediately would be to say ok created notebook folder called notes like whatever they're related to professionals and then you can have notebooks inside that notebook folder that are separated out into what you're really like whatever projects or whatever and then you then all the sudden it look you've basically compartmentalized them into get into that space and then you freed up all your other if you want to add another type of notebook later on it's not going to get in the way of those other ones you're going to clear, identify rhe when you're using, like a tag and there that's where context will come in a place so that we're going to say, how do I search for this one? No, I know it's related to this, I'll type this in and go for, but you're also missing that middle middle components. That task manager per se. Yeah, because you got the you got the capture and you've got the kind of the you got a bit of the curation in there, but you don't really have the calibration necessarily. And there was we're going to talk about in the next section. Um, here's a sample workflow. Now, when it comes to it like this is what I call the productivity path and this is mine. So I wanna be very clear that this is not gonna be when everybody uses. So as you can see, I've got draft. I've got email, got browser and get this tool called alfred. Now what? Alfred is it's a quick launch two on the mac. So it allows me to enter things really quickly so I can open. I could send something to ever notre aiken, send something tau omni focus. Just using a quick dialogue bar alfred is available the mac app store. I can I think I can't remember how much it is but uh I'll figure that I think it's I honestly think it's free and I think the power pack is is what costs money the little power packs but as you can see the green arrows in the red arrows they all goto one or the other right like ami focus you could see the green arrows are action items so tasks projects anything that's going to involve around a building of a task or building of a project executed bols all the army focus not an action item so very simply everything else research reference goes toe evernote right and you can actually link up on the focus and every note to talkto one another asian of my friends at asian efficiency asian efficiency dot com have done some excellent work on on ever known an army focus integration some of it's really high level stuff but it's there for the reading so I would look att asian efficiency dot com for that but you can see that I've clearly separated task just from knowing tasks as part of my work flow okay so that to me is a really critical component of time management is to say hey look this is where this goes this is where this goes time again it's amorphous right you know what time zone it is here is not a time zone that it is elsewhere the clock keeps moving, but when you can identify what each of these tasks means to you and where it belongs, you're already one step further than you are right now in terms of time management you're already saying I know where this goes which is going to save me time later that someday maybe less thing that you say well it's not really all that important it may not be important now, but later at least you know where it is your brain goes it's an omni focus or it's in a sauna or it's in things or it's wherever you're gonna put it and again the reason we I'm talking digital stuff and I'm sure the people are you guys using paper paper is great for short term stuff, right? You can quickly find it you said you go through the two duis it's the long term stuff that it's not really good for that's why I called the gateway right it's the it's the thing I use to get the thing out of my head and then if I can do it today gone but if not if I defer it I look at this and go and actually should have paper on here as well so it should be off I just use this as a digital work full but paper again you could go to ever know go tommy focus that's where that stuff goes and you can see I have a lot of portals of entry here, right? I have four and plus the unlisted paper is five plus the watch now all right, plus all these other things how many landing landing spots do I have to sew as I'm stuff's coming at me I only have to think about two places for it to go not seven, not eight knot which pages in this notebook are related to this? Oh darn, I didn't dog here that now I have no idea where you know what I mean and these could be very subjective. Like I said, your task management system will be very different in terms of what tools you may use. I'm obviously gonna offer you resources and suggestions, but these are the two I use and he could replace every note with google keep or omni focus with asana doesn't really matter and I actually have a third one cause assan is actually one that I've been using as a doom or team based stuff but I immediately know by just saying team based stuff that's where that stuff goes is this a team thing yet? Sana right? So it create that that ability, that structure that path has given me clarity and when you're focusing on time, clarity is something that is much harder to come by because time is speeding by and you can't catch up to it right we all said earlier you you don't have enough time in the day, right? No no so the more the more front end work you do the more working to setting up your foundation building that structure, building a path for things to go down the path of least resistance the better off you are both in the short term and long term do we do we have anything in the in the chat room that people are curious about please people are kind of concerned about having all of their notes in ever know in google keep just kind of out there in the clouds should there be any concern about that? I think a lot of people are saying, well, if I write on pen and paper I could keep that and have it private should there be any concerns about privacy again? Front end work you have to set up things so you never know you don't have to keep it online you could ever know it's our local installs so on your windows machine are on your on your mac um you could do that and you can have local notebook so you don't have to sink them across every note if you don't want to google keep I'm pretty sure it's sink on ly I someone may have to correct me if I'm wrong and maybe some of the chaps will be able that but every note you can have and I do I have ever no notebooks that our local only so if I'm out on the road I have no access to it right? So by having local access it's not sinking back to anything so I can create a local notebook some other tools no army focuses great because army focuses a sink server which is in need it it just basically processes matter data that's all you know encoded or encrypted rather and then sends it back but when it comes to that kind of stuff if you're concerned about privacy than go with local stuff and you can do that but digital the reason you want to go digital for long term stuff is for the very reason that you want to again protect your future you want to tell your future dumb you hey, remember that thing that we wanted to work on a few years ago? Where is it? Oh it's in the notebook from three, two thousand nine okay, well, let's go into that fogeys right? Like um actually on that note cali girl asked a question about how often you do go back and look at the older journals that maybe not yesterday's but previous days previous weeks and oh, you mean like my my digital journal? Yeah, okay, um actually I do that during my weekly review so when I'm doing the weekly review because it's informed, like, every day that I've done two entries, so by the time my week is done, I've got fourteen journal entries so that's my reading I'm like, okay, what? S so I use that to kind of inform my weekly review, and then I can sometimes because that's, what a legal review is a week in review, according to david allen on brothers who have since talked about it, it's a way to catch the things you missed, right? Oh, that that task that I forgot to move from paper to digital? Oh, that digital task that I just keep putting off to tomorrow and tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow, the journal gives me that information that I need to say, oh, that thing that I really because I could get a theme from my journal entries for the weak, right? Like this week, you probably a good idea with the theme my journals been to this point, right? And, you know, that's going to carry its way through until when I do my weekly review, and I do my weekly review on sundays generally that's what I do it because that's, one of I've decided that I'll talk a little bit more about that later, but yeah, I do look back and actually, uh once a month I actually have in miami focus set up because you can't tell army focus when to review certain things at certain times every month I have I can look back at the whole journal and I also want to make a point of saying that when I do the monthly review and sometimes a week for viewers I will actually write a paper journal entry uh just just encapsulating my thoughts maybe like for after this experience I'm sure it's going to go on a paper journal because when I'm gone it be great if my kids can take a look no look what look what look what your grandpa did look what your dad did and not go this file format doesn't work anymore I'm sorry I can't it's corrupted like I wanted to be able to have something and again that's where those really nice notebooks come into play anyone who gets me for birthday gifts and christmas gifts all the time I and it was like ten notebooks like ten really nice notebooks like this great my pens are all out of hank but this is fantastic so we know that that's that's how I do it if you have anything else we're good in the chat room kenny final comments when you guys about the but we're not you can also encrypt certain notes so that way they're protected even if you think them so you can select x and encrypted yeah it's for those that are like for the guy who set up the google voice thing like crazy he'll be able to that no problem but a lot of people yeah again so many people are fearful and I use the word fearful because they're afraid they're gonna lose time of doing that front and work of saying, I want to really understand this no one wants to read the manual right? I mean I'm a guy I don't want to you want to do it, but when you do that when you set things up, you're going to put yourself in a position where you can say okay, you know what? Just a smallest step just the you know what I know this is private, I'm going to make it a local notebook involves two buttons done right encrypting comes later write certain things will come later that's while of the scale ability of at apps certain aps, others don't and and I mean, I we've got a lot of absolutist in here and I know that you guys both here and out there have seen like absolutely clear and to do list aps and those were great to a point they don't scale very much beyond that to do list thing and we're going to talk about that of course in the in the in the next segment, but they don't scale very far clear is that I don't have any clear is a great app prioress I love it it's great for grocery list I've used it for grocery list ally like I got to go by this and this and this but it's not really great for for me for high level like project management down the line, I wrote a post about it when I reviewed it and what I did was again I hacked the conventions and scales to a certain degree where I created like a monday tuesday, wednesday, thursday, friday, saturday, sunday folder in it and then I put different lists in there, but even in that was about as far as it would scale, so I mean that that that to me you've got to find an app that simple to use that doesn't scare you off and it will scale so that when you're ready to like take another step forward tio tio focus on the green lantern power for those the green lantern ring and avoid the yellow lanterns if comic book nerds out there uh, then you'll be able to you'll be able to do that we're not google docks is pretty awesome replacement, so you can use google spreadsheets and create multiple spreadsheet fair with people and you can sink up google drive with the saunas well too, so you have that and the nice thing about using something like that is instead of the whole hero share a document with you and then someone else updates it and then you have to come back and you have to update it again. Suddenly google driver drop box, they stay in sync so you don't have to be multiple iterations. It's just it's the consuming, insistent adoration and we'll talk a bit more about that later, too. I enjoy this this discussion, I am accused nerd when it comes to this stuff I love to try on all the latest abs I would really like to see everybody has a different system that works for them, so I don't know about you, but I love all this well, the app scare me actually, they frightened me, and but once I get using them, I become obsessed with them because they do make your life so much simpler and what's interesting throughout the process of this morning, I guess you'd say I'm looking at my own habits and how I can get myself really stressed out over almost nothing and it's simply just a flip of a switch in the way you think about things and then utilizing some of these. These maps that we've talked about and it's pretty simple. But, you know, sometimes I think in our minds we make things a little more difficult than we need. Thio. If you're having trouble, just doubled, try, it works for you. I have a few quotes here that I want to share from the morning. Yes, h dot, c a. Their favorite quote was, you need two things to be creative time and space, and michaela said that her mind is blown, and I'm jealous of where mike is in all of this, I want to be there, too, but patient's baby steps, so they'll get there. But this is a step in the right direction by using all of these tactics.

Class Materials

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Productivityist Progress Planner.pdf
Productivityist Workbook Printable Exercises.pdf
Productivityist Workbook v1.2.pdf
The Productivityist Workbook v1.2 - Mike Vardy.epub
The Productivityist Workbook v1.2 - Mike
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Ratings and Reviews


Mike's class was chock full of useful information on streamlining a to do list, digitally and by hand. His process seems pretty robust, and extremely well thought out, to provide maximum efficiency and success with the least amount of effort. Granted there is a learning curve, and one must practice to become proficient and use it effectively, but if you are willing to put in the effort there is a major positive impact on productivity. He goes through his favorite apps (he apparently consults with app developers) and why, which was exactly what I needed at the time. Some of his 2nd choice apps may now surpass the others, but he explains clears how to pick the best app for you. I'm a small business owner and I found the class to be quite helpful. Thanks Mike.

Pavel Voronenko

Very interesting class! I would recommend recording it as it based on apps' solutions and since 2013/2014 there are a lot of changes. Al least maybe some wrap-up session. Well done, Mike Vardy and Creative Live team! Jan. 04, 2021


Just finished Mike's course and it was exactly what I wanted and hoped it would be. Nuts and bolts, real life ideas and hands on ways to implement what he shared. If I dedicated the time spent on researching an organizational system on just USING the system, I would be a shining beacon of efficiency. Mike's class and materials helped me let go of the need aka obsession with looking for the Holy Grail of systems and just pick a combo and do it. Thanks, Mike, I'll let you know when I AM that shining beacon of effortless organization...or at least when I quit writing notes on my hand! Great course!

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