Ever get distracted and feel like you need to do something right now or you’ll forget about it?
I can be the same way.
This morning, as I was working through my notifications on Basecamp, I was reminded that I need to get a client their Build Sign Off form in the next few days.
Yes, Basecamp creates a task for this.
However, there’s a difference between a project management system like Basecamp and a personal task list like Things 3. They are different in the information they give you as well as the way you interact with them. For example, there’s not a way to just quickly add something to Basecamp.
There is, however, a way to quickly add something to Things 3. And not only that, but I have a process I go through to make sure tasks don’t fall through the cracks.
So, in that moment, without going down a rabbit hole, I hit a quick keyboard shortcut and typed “(Client Name) Build Sign Off” and hit enter.
Won’t even think about it again … until Monday morning.
This is when I do my weekly preview. And during that time, I check my Things 3 inbox and process tasks where they need to go.
This is classic GTD productivity methodology in the specific, but I’m also trying to teach you a general principle.
Rather than responding to every whim throughout the day, build processes, and “dump” new thoughts, ideas, tasks, activities, etc., into them.
Below are a few other ways I’ve done the same thing. (Note: Some of them may not seem as obvious, but look for the similarities.)
- Check email every day at 4pm (only, if I can help it) — this is me “dumping” the mental bandwidth of needing to check email every 5 minutes; instead, there’s a predetermined time
- Write a project overview/kickoff and assign the task of assigning the rest of the tasks to my project manager, Brian
- Schedule recurring todo’s to free my brain from having to remember when things are supposed to be done
- Send a daily email to my SWD list (it’s easier to market every day as a habit and keep a pulse on what’s happening than to spread things out, at least for me)
- Have my assistant do a task that I had been doing; this means rather than doing the task myself, the process gets it done, and I’m brought in automatically when help is needed
- Pinned idea capture note in Bear notes app — easy to append to, then once a week process the ideas into Notion during weekly preview
What you’re basically doing here is outsourcing, whether to tools or to people.
You’re allowing yourself the brain space to get your most important work done, while keeping a system in check so that the things that come up from time to time, or need to happen regularly, happen “on their own.” It’s personal automation and it’s a glorious thing.
Ok, enough for now. Hope this is a helpful tip for ya.
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