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Power of Contexts

Lesson 13 from: Time Management 101

Mike Vardy

Power of Contexts

Lesson 13 from: Time Management 101

Mike Vardy

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Lesson Info

13. Power of Contexts

Lesson Info

Power of Contexts

This next segment is going to be all about the power of contexts we talked about energy levels and day one we talk about you know how managing tasks the managing your time has to do with not just you but also your energy so I want to talk about the power of contexts now the term context is actually something that david allen's used extensively in getting things done his book the art of stress free productivity and if you haven't read it yet we're only half read it uh sorry myself have todo vision out on his list is um then it's something that's well worth reading because the first go through when I read I've read it like I said about five times on dh the first go through was all about capture what you talked about on day one but then I got into contexts the second time because capturing is all well and good getting things down whether it's on paper were digitally or on your digital recorder what have you is all well and good but when you don't have something to really attach it to some...

thing that adds value to it so that you can really understand hey where's this supposed to go or why am I writing this down or how am I going to make sure that I really move forward with this thing then really all you're doing is creating just a simple list so you end up doing a lot of list making right was like this this I have to and then you look at you go oh my look at all this stuff look at all this stuff that I have and that's all it is it's stuff because you haven't really clearly identified what isthe so items without context are not fully formed that's ideas that's tasks that's projects that's areas of focus workspaces if you're using a task management tool like asana but they have the workspaces if you don't have context attached to it then really you're you're not informing yourself enough and maybe right now you understand what it means but when you look at it tomorrow the next day the next week the next month you don't really you're like what does this mean again? Why is this here member of jennifer we talked yesterday about emails right or ah rather but your to do list and e mails was on there and you had answer emails is a task right, which I mean essentially each e mail is a task there answering but if you know what, in what context you're dealing with those emails, then you're able to give a better response or a more measured response or you're able to decide whether you want to deal with that at that point time or not right so tasks are subjective, right? So really when we talked about tasks earlier on and I mean time is is subjective to appoint as well but tasker subjective in that how you identify with the task is going to be very different than how I identify with one so uh so you may think that you know, for example a task that you have that you're working on may have a certain level of of importance or a certain level of of of a degree of difficulty that may not apply to me it may not be something I look at right? So tasker subjective and so our contacts and that's critical because what happened, what david's talked about in his getting things done book is he basically classifies contacts as you know what you can do with where you have you know what you can do where you are with what you have so location you know, items you know, project so so for example the phone is a context so when you think about it call business partner well, where can I do that? Oh, with at home or on the phone that's a context so it helps inform when you're going to do those items. So if you were outside on the beach and you didn't bring your mobile phone with you and you're looking at your list and you've written down on capture called business partner, you're not going to be able to do it right now but all you know is you have to call the business partner so you may want to initial contacts phone you know and I'm going to show you some tips on how to do that paper as well but their subjective because certain context won't work for people for example home in office don't really work for me because home is my office an office is my home right like aiken I can identify it to a point but who is saying that they want cell it was you that said you know I'm looking forward he's like no I didn't say that I can't wait to work you're looking forward to working more from home right and you do work from home on occasion right now right right and I told you I shut my door even though even though my family's home I shut my door because the context I want to create like this this I know that if I leave the door open and there's a chance that I'm gonna be andr out and start to make it my home again right so I don't use the context of home in office necessarily in terms of separate contexts I used something very different uh location is not all that important to me in terms of that regard now location could work really well for errands and certain applications like omni focus is great for this for those of you who are using um acker or iphone or ipad, especially iphone, and that the offer geo fencing so you can actually have ami focus tell you, you know, when I'm leaving home, remind me that I have to go take this to the dry cleaner. So, uh, if you have law, if you have dry cleaning, you want to take with you, keep forgetting it and and and ah, friend of aunt augusta pino, who ipad only we're talking about this, uh, he basically gets in his car and starts to pull out all the nominee focus was ding dry cleaning god pulls back and grabs his drag remind him just in the nick of time that's a context, right and that's, a perspective that he's lined up with that so that's an errand and he's using a location to do that. So that's how far we've gotten from, where david allen says, home office phone now all those different locations, but again where we have our computers in our pockets, we have our phones and our pockets, right? We so locations becoming less relevant, we have to find for some of us things that are more because contexts add value to tasks, projects and goals, and I can even add ideas onto that as well, and the reason they dio is because they inform them they tell you you know hey, this is why I'm doing this task this is when or where I need to be when I'm doing this test this is what this project means all this ad value right there many digital aps associate two key elements with items okay, so and I'm talking items and not just talking tasks at this point and aps use the term contacts occasionally, but they also use another so context is one and I say or some very folders is another but they often use the term tags so if you're using an app like evernote or asana or on your mac operating system that now has tagging that's a context you can decide what content how you want teo define those context because again they're subjective but you could save yourself hey, you know what? The context of a client for example, jennifer client a could be a context, right? So that associates the task with that with that person because you may be working on multiple projects with, um right? So you may not want to make them necessarily a project you may want to say, hey, this is somebody that was something that I that I don't want to foster over a longer term period of time, not just a project folders in some maps are also the equivalent of projects and others so a nominee focus or asana those air projects but you never know they could be considered notebooks or in other applications folders right or him just again in the general operating system so an outlook a folder is in a lot of cases a project for some people right? So those are the things that you always find in some very inter another in a digital application you won't find him in a notebook a paper notebook because folders often are another notebook you jennifer I know you said that you had like several notebooks for different things you know, this is a notebook for this this is a notebook for that I mean, how many of you are here of different notebooks for different different yeah I'm liking the idea I have eaten notebooks I have five I have you know and then some people don't some people have one note book is a gateway which is fine that that becomes a different portal but when you're looking at this that's fine and I just you know, if you if you got a multitude of portals a multitude of entry points that's fine it's the context you wantto have less off because that's what you're going to be using to help define what you're gonna work on write the projects you're gonna work on that that's gonna add the value okay? So I don't have, you know like twenty contexts that I'm using for different aarons I'm running some people do some people say, hey, I've got a context for this grocery store here, so when I get closer to this grocery store this abscess, hey, you're near whole foods by this and this and this and this and this don't forget you wrote it down, you captured it at the time. Instead, I'll have errands, so I'll just use errands is the context, and that gives me a larger state of field, right? Give me a larger sense so that I don't feel is rigid and was trapped into like, oh, I'm at whole foods. What do we need to get a whole foods? I could just decide, right? I can make that choice. Some people like tio don't know you're using on me focus right after all to use. Okay, jews, locations like the geo fencing public. But I have a lot of context. You have a lot of contacts, okay? Like every person is a context, so it does seem e them a context instead of instead of a project, right? So you would have errand as a context on the project, then? No, I don't use aaron's. His projects use aaron's, his contacts. What would be the project that if it's a project is an errand for home stuff, the project is household maintenance or household you know, home home duties or something a lot daddy duty maybe you know I mean that's where? Because then I can really home that I get really specific right? Because when you're looking at a project right you want to be very specific about that project in the tasks that fall inside of it are also going toe be specific as well but context for me at least are often like the what does this mean to me again? Oh yeah this is this is this is related to this person right? So that to me that's that's ah something tangible the context and there could be a whole bunch of projects I'm working on with that person right? You know errands to me is I'm going out of the house now what? What, aaron what contacts on my erin's context. Okay, so what what projects can I move forward by doing these arum's right? So I'm moving a multitude of projects forward by focusing on the context as opposed to focusing on the project is that making sense to you to understand that? Ok um so that's why I say less contexts and mohr projects because projects and remember projects come and go right? So projects I mean one project you're working on one day you got a client there you doing if they could be gone the next hopefully they're not or that project could be at least done but then you've got the context of the person right saying hey you know what about this oh I want to do another project with you great then you just apply that context again to another project so the context of the things add value right? The projects are folders are those things where you're placing those things okay so we never know you'd do the same thing on the context or tags right? So for example um I'll give you an example in every note uh well when I'm planning when I planned this course right creative live was to me there's the creative life project right? But then I also have slide deck as a tag right? Because that's a context to me so if I search in every note for the term slide deck if I search throughout every now I get every single slide deck that I've created which may help me form some of the slide exercising today it's entirely possible that the use of it on other slides before um but uh if I search within a specific notebook or within a specific stack I can get even more specific but I know what I'm looking for I'm looking for slide dex right that's what I'm looking for and that's what the context they give they add that value they add that meaning you get where you're going to say something have seller our thanks like context for projects that they're they're like they're like contexts. I used to equate tags to contexts because when you're looking especially nap, like evernote or sauna, right, which are which are these applications I mentioned both yesterday and today, though they used tags instead of contexts. The thing I like about a sauna when it comes to contexts is that it allows you have multiple contexts. Apelike omni focus gives you one against again that's for focus where you can create other things. That we could talk a bit more about that as we move forward on this. But the fact you get multiple context is not a bad thing either. So for example, you have a client that's a context. And then you have an errand that, you know, you want to do that's related to that person. Then you could see all the areas that are related to that contacts both of them, right. So that's where it starts to scale out a bit as opposed to just being fairly insular. Jaime, you're going, you are asked this question. I mean, using contacts, right? So do you say you would be a a form of light a template. What you say you would be a custom I sway I mean, like context are something that you was sign it's not really a template like a project and folders or templates write if you're doing, if you're doing like, if, say, you're doing a, um well, for example, when you're building a talk, right, I know generally what I need to do to put together a talk. I have a repeating, like a template for that project, okay? The contexts made I'm going to use probably similar contexts to certain elements of that project, but maybe I'm adding something different, maybe it's for a completely different organization. But you do something like this? No usa about dropbox to so like, um, you know, like because you are doing so many, you can't just pull out one in that relevance. That's. Why, I said it sounds to me it's like a drop box I something like it can be used every time you have, for example, a top. This is the main teams you would cover for example, you are more onto productivity. So this is your team. So every time when you go there would be like, okay, this is thie skeleton. And you can use it for that because the tags or the context will well when you search for that we're going to see that but this is more in line for like so example you said drop box so let's let's take it outside of a nap let's take it back to the operating system let's take it even to like some a larger search thing so if I'm using the new tagging feature in mac os x if I type in talks because I have saved a bunch of things as talks I will get to see all of those things I have saved as talks whether they're called talk or nine because I've classified them with that context or that tag I'm going to see them right okay yeah so that's why tags and I wrote a post about this go why you need to start to get to know tags because they're going to start to mean mohr and they're gonna help with naming convention so you could say photo project a tag photos or or or you know wedding wedding right? Yeah so there you go wedding uh birth whatever you want to like whatever event however you want to classify and that's why I say context or subjective right? So is that a team then contacts are tough to work with teams because you need to be able to tell somebody if you're in charge of the team great because then you could say, hey, guess what? This is the context you're going to use this but no, I have never come across a team that says, ok, these are the tags were used of course in most cases I'm the one that says, hey guys, why don't we try this? Like when I've used to sauna I'm like, hey, what if we use this tag like I've got a tag in one of my asana things called marked for invoice all one word and what that tells me is that I have marked all of those assignments for in my invoicing app, so I know I'm going to be invoicing those so when I search in a sauna for the marked for invoice tag, I c I can count exactly how many of those assignments air there, so when I invoice, I know that that's what I'm going to keep obviously that keeps a running total and then at the end of the month, so I did that actually this morning I cleared all the march for invoice ones because I've invoice that now it acted as a trigger and then of course, as I get more november once guess what filled context all start applying to it marked for invoice, right? So you can use it khun bia genna subjective isn't need, but with team stuff it's gonna be you what? What these do is it doesn't necessarily add value to the team per se, but adds meaning toe why you're going to be working on it or where you can work on it that way or we're going to get to some of the more meaningful contact because I've talked about that before us. Well, go ahead. One thing I believe is important with tags and context is that you don't miss doing it like you you gotta do it otherwise, if it's not tagged, you're not going to find it. Is there any, um, backup plan to kind of triangulate and, like, find those that you haven't talked properly? Check your inbox no, seriously that's that's the way you have to kind of do it so when you're when you're missing them and that weekly review process will help us, well, but I mean that's, why I give thee evernote inbox suggestion, right? Because when you're processing it, you're going to say, where does this go? And what tag do I apply? So it becomes that two pronged approach so now jennifer's gonna go back and go now I gotta have tags to everything, but seriously that's where you do it at the time of processing, you know, it's for the same thing when you used to process you want to do everything as far up front is possible yes that later you've got that covered right so but when you do a weekly review as we talked about I believe that was yesterday although they're all starting to blend together at this point that's where that's where you would want to you can go back and say hey what did I miss? What dennis and you khun look up items again and every note or something like that if you're looking up tags you can actually sort by tags so you could say hey this isn't you know in a sauna especially hey I haven't tagged us with anything let me add the filters do we have anything that people are talking about the chapel I was like yes lots of people asking yeah there are some people who are still having trouble wrapping their mind around this concept with the context there is one question here a clarification from karl p says if I understand it a task should only have one context is that correct or how maybe just do a quick run down again of contacts sure is there still some questions a task does not need toe have just one context okay in some applications you will be you will have no other choice omni focus is an example of that where it only gives you one context so again that subjectivity comes into mind okay what contexts are going to add more value to that task so I'll give you ah concrete example that I use because I'm going to talk about choosing your contacts in a second remember we talked about energy levels right? That's my primary levels of context that's what I use so I have three main context that I use regularly high energy, normal energy because I don't want to do average in low energy so high energy, normal energy and low energy are my three main tags or context that I use of course I have errands in there as well, but I also haven't I I also have the I'll have another one or a couple that I use based on aps, so if I'm using ami focus as my task manager of choice for individual task management, which we talked about yesterday and I know I have to go to a sauna, which is the one I used for teams then guess what context I use an omni focus to know where to look for certain things I've gotten asana context so actually oven app context within another app just because I need that trigger right? I need to know okay, I'm ready to go work on team stuff now what is in the asana context? Oh, there it all is or and it could be flow it could be trail oh, right could be any of that stuff because that's task oriented stuff right but the reason I use energy levels and the reason that's why this works with multiple contexts or multiple tags is that that gives me the option to look at hey, I want to look at all my high energy level task today. I woke up today feeling great, I don't care what I work on today, right now, I'm in a point now where I've got a bunch of stuff that I know I need to work on my energy levels high let's, filter this down by my high level level of energy context and see what I can move forward or you know what the other thing I feel sick today, I don't feel very well at all, I'm not going to move, mary, you know, I can't move mountains, I could barely move myself let's look at the low energy context, let's see what I can move forward just so that the next day I don't feel or later today, I don't feel as bad that I didn't actually do anything which is perfect for solo preneurs or people who are working that herself employed because the on ly person that you could that's going to give you gears the next day when you call in sick is going to be you, so that gives you the ability to move those low energy things forward, right? So that's where we talked about this earlier it was like well I normally focus on these little piddly things and then that the high end she thinks well this is where the when you have the structure the awareness is built in we could say hey look I feel really great now it's time for me to move those big things forward and I feel kind of low today you move some low energy stuff forward right and it's again you have to be honest with yourself with these ones too you have to say okay you can't lie and say I feel because and the lie always will be I really feel that great I feel kind of low energy that's what the normal energy is therefore it's especially when you're first starting out using these contacts it's like well I might be low energy but I might be kidding myself so let's let's look at the normal energy ones and then the low energy one so you can actually filter these down and look at them and that's where the filter and search tools work in there but that's that's essentially what context can do for you in terms of that that perspective and I don't again they're very subjective so it's going to be like what works for one person in terms of you know like energy level I find works for a lot of people because they don't know what to do next so they want to know what they feel, how they're feeling so they could make forward progress so it becomes the human component that you're throwing into the technology as opposed to the okay here's, here's what's on my next last year because if you don't have contacts, then all you're doing is looking at a list and all the list does it say, here is what I have on my list it doesn't give you any additional information beyond that other than maybe due dates, which again, we get back to the hole time management stuff and we're trying to cram all these things in I hope I kind of I mean it's it's a very tricky and this is a little bit of the higher level stuff, but it's it's critical, because if you start applying context to your tasks projects and you're going to find that you're gonna be able to make progress on mohr things consistently because you've given yourself more meaning, more value bit of unidentified so thank you. Um, so now I wantto want to dive into some of choosing your context, so this is where we're gonna bring somebody up here, you need me? Go ahead, grab. All right, so your photographer yes, right, you haven't you're always eight steps behind twenty seconds, twenty minutes, twenty minutes, steps twenty seconds, eight steps okay, so when you know what when you're thinking about the stuff that's on your list your to do list like just think about it for a second list that you've created that you've said to me already I have so much on a list maker it's just on my list you put into ever now and by the way even if you tank that if you create like notes instead of lists and start applying tags you're at least a little bit further ahead and if you're only ten minutes behind what kind of things compel you to move things forward like what kind of I'm not whether it's feelings whether it's like what what what kind of motivators are going to get you to move some of the stuff for big small whatever can you think of anything I can't think of what keeps me away from um a handful authorities like things that are making me forcing me to make decisions okay so when you have to make decisions that's when you you basically get paralysis by analysis I got there's this huge list you step away it's like twenty things where you just stand like I look at the list those there are important and I need to think through lee and make decisions on like I have toe clear my mind clear my desk okay clear all these little things before I can really concentrate on it that's how I fooled myself right and I spend all my time on those little things and might end of the day okay, now I can sit down on the big thing and the time is up so why do you want to do those big things what's your driving force behind doing those big things those are the ones that I'm supposed to do that that that's not really a dry what what why are you doing in the first place like I mean if it's what you're supposed to that's one reason but why do you really want to do them that's we're trying to get deeper than that then that list of like yes I have to do this because we all have to do certain things but why why are those big things? Because obviously the when you do them it works for you, right? Yes. So why are you wiring listing them in the first place? Well, I think those are the steps that I I need to get them sort of I can reach my longer term goals what's your long term goal to become better in photography and be more international okay, so there you go now obviously your project is not photography right? Because if you had a project called photography then guess what it's going to be filled with thank you, liz everything right? You've got a bucket that's full, but what if your context was photography or better for like what did you just actually use something like that as a trigger as it like this is this is going to add value to this task right if you said work on developed these photos I know I'm thinking back to when we actually did that so give me an example of one thing you're gonna have to make a big editing like calling the photos like I have three thousand photos I have to make them a thousand photos breaks now if you looked at that and you assign that task to it in that context better photographer or or what are they some kind of like any any kind of trigger that had like a one more trigger that has to do with that and then you take the ones that are the piddly things you know like clean dad started it and create a context for that that allows that they kind of turned you off a bit yes administration no one likes administration right? You like administration you are very alone e I mean or housekeeping yes right or who which one of you chris or which one didn't like laundry I don't like okay so long to make it look like seriously I'm not saying laundry needs to be the one but find something that turns you off of it turns you away from it right respect when you're first trying this stuff out yet so clean desk housekeeping and then what you're gonna do is it in your home if you've got do laundry that's housekeeping that's housekeeping right wash dishes housekeeping, housekeeping, housekeeping you've got all these housekeeping things that are in the house keeping context right then you've got all these things they're in the better photography contacts more better editor or something maybe a little bit more specific but something that goes you know what? When I do this it's going to make it's gonna move me that much further ahead then housekeeping corrections does that make sense? Yes, totally like it's all a mindset it's just one thing is pulling me in it's positive right ideas and the other one is because all this does is it doesn't have any identifying for you at all this point it just is this is what I have to and you said I have two d'oh everything on the list including cleaning your desk was sometimes what I have to do for you to even get to the thing that you I really should be like you won't do it unless you clean your dad yeah, it becomes that have to do even when it is mean what's the saying and I think chris gilboa said this to me I said this once uh if you want to write if you ever want to get down to writing a book are clean your office start reading a book or something like that because it's the last thing you really want to you know I need a clean and ask and you need this and we all fall down on this I have a very clean desk a lot of the time, but I've also gotten rid of a lot of stuff so that I don't have an excuse to clean it but like you see what I'm getting it now are you guys going to use the better photography context on the no right? You make morph it into something that works for you and you may not need to use the housekeeping one you like putting away dishes and doing the dishes, don't you? So that may be something that just becomes low energy for you, you know, you need a break from the high energy stuff going teo you don't like and I'm not trying to endow you with any kind of context because we're gonna get somebody else up here in a second, but you see what I see, what I'm getting out like they're subjective, but they have a lot of power, right? Yes and so you can use, and one key thing is you're only using every note right now, right? We're talking talking for tusks, its wonder list wonder list okay, you can use contacts and wonder listens well, their tags so what you need to do and this is key, is that tags you won't have much universality is possible. You want to make sure that they are across the board because otherwise you're not going to remember them, right? And, like, what might you want to make sure the tags and context across the board are have some universality, which is why you want I'm going to go back to less contests because there's less to remember, right? You want to go? Okay, that's, why? I only have, like five or six, right have tons of projects, only five or six context, and maybe you'll have more contacts because you'll you'll need a few more, but whatever gives you meaning, whatever helps propel you forward, that's going to be what you wanna do that helpful? Yeah, I have some ideas already. Awesome. Go take a seat. We're having somebody else up. Thank you. Who? Jennifer, when we get you up here, we'll get jennifer up here. We're going to we're going to talk to you guys out here a little bit as well to get some ideas, but I wantto get a specific. All right. So, um, something that that really kind of you know, you have to do you know I have to work on to move yourself forward what's what's an example of that like a task or a project that you really and what I know, we talked a bit about this yesterday, but you give me an example, follow up with a potential client to set up a date for training budget, so meet and follow up to have meeting with client up to meet in project to this far ok, so now well, the email context worked for you in that regard, so just using the location of email is that something that would work for you or do you need to have something a bit bigger? And the reason I ask that is because a lot of people will use email is a context I don't know if cell to use email is a context, unfortunately, yes, and the reason is because once you have an email, once you identify that's a context and guess what every male goes in, the email context doesn't matter what it's related to you can plug it into a project and then start to look at your projects and go ok, what emails can I move forward on this project? But let's, I want to try to get back to the context component more than anything else, so we talked about acquiring clients right or or what what is it you're you what's your job like what's your presentation coaching right so coaching that could be your context right? That could be like coaching or something that really hits here and I just did that mission of its here something that really hits there that gives you the sense of going forward with it even when you might not want to especially cause it's an email because email is one of those things where people are like I'll get to it later I'll get to it later and that puts you in a mindset to deal with it properly does that make now what's something that you see you do that you end up for going for with that quite frequently or is that something you struggle with? Is it something like look okay either you don't do as well as you like or it's something that just gets pushed off right now I'm good with the more or less good with it but if I get more for it than it gets tougher so what's what's the more and more that that piles up can you give an example of more and more that piles up that maybe a stealing your focus away from doing something that will really push that that element of your thing you know like getting distracted or by doing trying to do errands around the house or tours and then trying to focus on my own training like my own reading books or watching videos to train myself and really the material that I'm going to be working on them, so but that stuffs ok? Like the reading and educating stuff is okay, right? Because that's going to move you forward as well, right? That's where, of course, the awareness comes in. So if you're saying, hey, you know, training or education is a context learning, you know, I think, right, I think all the e mails go into one in box, and then they just kind of staying one in box, and then I lose the email, right? Okay, so if you're doing that, then that's where when you forward them to whatever you're going to be using, what whatever task manager using, we talked about it about that yesterday say you're using ami focus on or whatever you're going to use when you move them there, then apply that tag that means something a little bit more so coaching, learning, career, you know, things like that, things that you're gonna go oh, I want to do this, not you and I have to, but I want teo and then things like you said, you mean, you like doing laundry, like, doing that kind of stuff? You can say, excuse me, you can say that that's that's kind of that's going to be maybe a low energy task, or it's going to be something that resonates with you in a different way, maybe that email is again, maybe you need to use energy levels is context, maybe? See, you know what? This email is going to take a lot of energy to get out there, so I'm going to assign it to the project of build clientele, and I'm going to make all of my contacts more related around how I'm feeling so that I don't get overwhelmed, so that can move back and forth between a high energy, low energy and the reason that the context also work for me is because I used the heavy lifting and light lifting days, right? So on a light lifting day, if my son's playing around, like when I'm on daddy duty, when my son is playing and he's tells me to go away, which, as I said, can't happen, I can look at my late lifting task, my low energy task that are related, teo stuff I'm doing that's more work related on that day and go ok, I could do these really quickly get them out of the way and a need for progress, so you're suggesting I could create contexts based around energy like high energy could be emails and building out a strategy proposal or something you could do whatever it is to be a normal is whatever, and then low or it could be coaching education, and I don't know coffee meetings. Absolutely, it would have whatever resonates with yume or in fact, you could use both using an application that allows you to use more than one contact star tag. Every note lets you do that with certain things. A sauna like I mentioned, uh, then you can use both. You could say, hey, I need high energy to deal with this e mail. I need low energy to deal with this email, you know, so you could do that. It gives you a lot of flexibility, but it informs you it makes you say to yourself, hey, what can I do right now to move things forward and area? So these could potentially be, like ever known notebooks like there wouldn't be no but no, but it wouldn't be no books. Notebooks are the folders of the project, they would be tags never note they would be tags. So when you're searching for things and ever note, you're gonna type in high energy and they would all show up. Or low energy or view took typed in high energy email then you could see all that stuff if you're gonna use it in that regard, what could it get kind of confusing if you if I type in high energy and I have like, you know, answer emails and for example, walking the dog if that's high energy to me, right? But the thing is, again, answer emails is not a task it's a project, right? So every time you get an email, you're going to say, email person x about subject why? Right? So that's going to be a task, you're going to evaluate that as you capture it from your e mail application saying is this what is this related to? How does it how does have meaning to this? Oh oh, this is a tough client I'm going to need a lot of high energy for this one, right? Or oh, this is related to my education or it's again, however, you wanted to find that and it's going to be very different depending on what resonates with you. Energy really resonates with may and I don't know if ever I mean we talk who is it that we talked about stephen covey, right? Cos you managing managing time is you know you can't manage time, give me the quote again yeah, snow more you can only manage yourself right? So I mean that's kind of what you have to look at is like what? Why need to be informed about so I can move these things forward and whatever round I'm gonna move forward and contexts and tags are a little bit again like I said, they're a bit higher level stuff but you can start small you could start with energy levels and then worked for me right where you could say I'm trying with learning and coaching on gratitude you know, like you could use emotion based contacts happy, sad like it doesn't matter as long as it helps you move things forward and adds meaning to it. Does that make sense? Yeah, if I you said that the tags could apply to different, he said, like high energy, middle low could apply to other units of the universal universal means if you're using them in one application, make sure you use them across all of them because then you won't be sitting back going okay, what what does this mean in this application? If I had like a base camp ever know then you want to be the same. You want to make sure because remember there disconnected to appoint right any any apsara using any part of your work flow you want to find a way to connect them context allow you to do that right because you could say ok, I'm building these amusing base camp and using ever know we need the context of high energy and boom they're goingto that marries them up that links them up a bit right because you can e mean there are some technology ways to make certain you know abbs talk to each other but if you don't want to take that approach and a lot of people either can't don't or have no interest in doing it then that gives you that conductivity does that way when we talk about context are we referring tio the tasks or like putting things into long term storage tasked we're referring to referring to ah very large thing actually tasks you've you assigned a context to a task than you're giving it meaning if you sign it to a project because you're gonna sign contacts to project you're giving it meaning so anything that you attach it to that's what it is it isn't a task like assigning context I guess is a task once you start doing this so you may have to goto sign context everything but nothing it can attach to both project's goals like I said orjust tasks on their own creating contacts is really trying to get away from just creating a long laundry list of like answer emails and you don't know what it means into I don't know respond to client about prod you know it helps you separate things in a way that adds meaning teo so if you answer emails anyone when I see that or get teo inbox zero or checking ill checking it was like the worst task I think because that that is your first task of the day and your last task becomes that that opening and shut of the day where you say you know, respond to email accident and the forwarding capabilities and a lot of these uh these task manager's allow you to be very specific hey, I've got an email from jennifer jennifer wants me to email her about contexts okay? I can't do that right now because I'm you know on stage but I will ford that I will make that a normal energy contacts because I'm gonna have to make a bit of a list up and then I will and I will send that to her and then I can assign a date to it if I were want so getting specific makes it easier to actually execute on yes, absolutely and that's what contacts give you okay, awesome thanks. Have a seat. Okay, so let's talk this jamie let's go to you on doing bringing up here but I want to find out like in terms of you know, I've talked about energy for the past day and a bit and how like that so when you're looking at context and we're choosing them because this is what this is about but choosing your contacts, trying to figure out what's gonna work for you to add meaning when you're looking at your list what can you assign your tasks or your ideas that are going makes sense to you when you look at them later on and go oh, this is why I'm doing this this is where this goes, do you have any sense of what will work for you? Well, the thing is like, you know, um, it's kind of mother up now that you say because used to define that this is such a, you know, like, uh, spirituality and this is actually like a life button because ofthe, like, hearing this is that you're telling me that oh, you have to put attacked we and to be able to buy what he's doing in the forest you have to something ever a way to make him really want to do it a bit more so saying that means okay for spirituality. I wanted to have to have more off that s my contacts, but then the thing is like it can be a talk you can be so many things days, subcategory rice wrote, so I'm trying to find a way to put tags on it so that he said you segregated because the switcher letty so it's arabic you know a big topic but you can for the cut you know, further categorizing too many sup little sections so because I don't have the tools that I mean the upset I've not tried yet so I don't know how to you know well living them shake hands let me give you an example how you could do with paper right off the top because a lot of your capture with paper eso once you've identified our chosen your contacts that I'm going to go over this a bit more tomorrow because I've got like a paper system that actually using it helps with that um once you've done that, then you can start to assign context as you capture them, so once you get comfortable with it, you can start to say, oh like for example um published slide deck on youtube okay to me that's a low energy task doesn't take very long, so I'll put that task down and then I'll put in l a in a circle around it next to it so that tells me by looking at it before I even put it into my digital task manager if I even need to do that because I could maybe get that done without having to move it there I go this is low energy right now I just got done doing seven hours on stage I'm feeling like I might have a little bit of low energy going on right? So then you go ok? I could do this right now more you know what? I'm feeling great I'll put that this doesn't need to be done right away it's not urgent not important it's important but it's definitely not urgent I will put this in my digital task manager I know what context have assigned it because when I captured it I did that I assigned it to the context at that time boom it's in there you've already done the steps on paper of it you can actually use contexts on paper once you know what contacts matter to you yeah, I get where you're coming from but my question for you is like, you know, if you actually identified them really precisely what you want off them they can be just like very insane is that you know say you have to arrange my top two actually host a talk you know, like you can't put down wishes the you know like your distinction high energy norm energy and low energy so you know, some things is just like you want to arrange that means if you already got the values in mind, you just put the low energy when he said just call the venues to see we she's the one that's wiper you know then no, my energy would be something else that you need to you know, like go to email to toe send an email just a general email to all these contacts you having it so like to make sure there are informed yes, it's well, actually, like more like an electric une electronica lee and also the who are the ones that doesn't have you to physically do this more not normal, right? So when you come to the top part when she's like something okay, you have to create art. You have a lot of things, like a lot dynamics to have to take shape before you care for make the hole even happened. So that might be a high party, high energy one, right? But it could be made up of several other tasks that have a combination of low energy or it can be that we're ins uh, better talker, you know? I mean, like again it's gonna be subjected to a point. You're right, it does connect I mean again, it's like you're saying it mindset orange, right, it's like, what am I prepared like it prepares you it's proactive that's what the thing is like when you do this on this case that's what you say, sometimes you can even you know it is actually like the back burner you don't even have to do it becomes like a snake. But like you say, it comes on its own. It's, just rusted out it, actually, oh, this would be here. Oh, this is from this world, and it all comes to get control together. Absolutely.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

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
The Way of The Productivityist Manifesto Poster - 16x20.jpg
The Way of The Productivityist Manifesto Poster - 8x11.jpg

bonus material with enrollment

Paperless Organization Guide.pdf
The Way Of The Productivityist - A Manifesto.pdf

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!

Student Work