Archive for the ‘Productivity’ Category

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Better Note Taking with Notion

TD’LR: You don’t need to pick one note-taking app, but you do need to choose your master app. Define a workflow and set rigour around it.

Angsty videos and medium posts on why folks selected a particular note-taking app mostly miss the real need – how to be productive, collaborate, and, well, forget less.

The answer is blindingly simple – take notes everywhere, anywhere, using anything. Just do it.

The tricks are:

  1. First: pick a master system – in my case, Notion – where all those thoughts and ideas can go to live.
  2. Second: define a simple workflow to get notes from wherever they were captured and into Notion. The tip here is to make it fast. So, I’ll drop a photo from a whiteboard into Notion rather than trying to recreate it.
  3. Third: establish a routine to get all your notes in one place. Every week I have a calendar block marked “download and clean” where everything goes into Notion. I even have a simple Notion checklist of everything I need to look at, from receipts buried in my bag to my notebook, Apple Photos and more.

So what about the notes capture? As I said, just do it.

Here are my big three:

  1. Old fashioned pen, paper and index cards. Scribble away, fuel that stationary fetish, and have fun. I use my iPhone to snag whiteboards, brainstorms and more.
  2. Use whatever digital app works best for you. Bear is an excellent app for catching notes on the go. Especially the voice capture on an Apple Watch. So, if I am driving home and recall something, I tap Bear on my phone and watch it automatically convert to a text note. Apple notes is OK but not great. But occasionally, I’ll sketch or punch a note in there.
  3. Notion is where everything goes and is shared. The point is not the storage in one place – that’s great and sometimes useful at a future date. The point is that through the process, I am creating secondary notes. So, I might capture notes from a team meeting that include a reference to check-in on headcount approvals – they sit in one Notion page for all my Day Notes. But I’ll also flow that action into my 1:1 Notes for the next meeting with our talent team. Equally important, Notion is the only place I share notes – so I have one place to collaborate from.

The underlying philosophy here is time to ingestion – the faster and more quickly you can capture a note, the more you’ll do it and the more productive you’ll be.

The leap in all this is the discipline and habit required. We’re defined by our routines and rituals. So for those struggling to do this, just do everything in Notion and work backwards.

  • Learned

Productivity Booster #1: Use Email as Intended

I’ve been asked several times in the past week for tips on how to be more productive. I’m going to post thoughts for comment. Hopefully they’ll help.

Asana is great for tracking tasks across a team. Rather than email tasks, use Asana and keep track of progress as well as discuss the task. You’ll cut down the email ping-pong, sleep easier knowing where people are at on tasks, and declutter your inbox.

A task is implicitly a communication but email wasn’t designed for that kind of communication. Use email as intended…

Team Asana have been running a great challenge to actually go without email. I like it.

For those frustrated by Asana’s lack of offline support, try the weirdly names Hill88 app for Asana.

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Up And Atom!

Get up early.

Get up at the same time every day.

Adjust the time you go to bed if tired. Not the time you get up.

Do the most important thing first. Do not do email.

Invest in yourself first – meditate, work-out, journal, walk…

Make it a habit.

Pretty straightforward really. Do this and good things happen. Building rewarding habits are life changing.

You can read more on this, or you can test it for yourself.

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Simplicity vs. Complexity in Management

This week’s gem from the MIX:

Few have summarized more elegantly what this is all about than Dee Hock, founder and former CEO of Visa:

“Simple, clear purpose and principles
give rise to complex, intelligent behavior.

Complex rules and regulations
give rise to simple, stupid behavior.”

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High Performance

Tony’s blog is well worth following and if you haven’t read the book, I highly recommend it. I like how he focuses on labor day on how we can get more productive. These hit home in particular:

  1. Make sufficient sleep a top priority. Schedule your bedtime, and start winding down at least 45 minutes earlier. Ninety-eight percent of all human beings need at least 7-8 hours a night to feel fully rested. Only a fraction of us get that much regularly, in part because we buy into the myth that sacrificing an hour or two of sleep a night give us an hour more of productivity.
  2. Schedule specific times for activities in your life that you deem important but not urgent. With so much coming at you all the time, it’s easy to focus all day on whatever feels most pressing in the moment.
  3. Live like a sprinter, not a marathoner. When you work continuously, you’re actually progressively depleting your energy reservoir as the day wears on. By making intermittent renewal and refuelingimportant, you’re regularly replenishing your reservoir, so you’re not only able to fully engage at intervals along the way, but also to maintain high energy much further into the day. (I think lots of people uknowingly do this… reading blogs, sites, feeds, twittering… we seek retreat in the river of digital content around us)