Getting Stuff Done

"How do people get anything done around here?!"

A few months ago now, I switched to a new job, and that was my overwhelming thought by the end of the first week. In my job, I work with multiple teams, multiple products, and tons of time zones. By the end of the first week, I had quickly realized that my current organizational system simply wasn't going to scale as time went on. I had to make some changes in a hurry.

First things first, I had to change my task list manager. While I had previously thought that Clear was the app for me, when I had to start managing multiple projects and categories, it fell down. About that time, I saw a tweet by Federico from Macstories about 2Do, and apparently I had picked it up while it was on sale a while back, so I thought I'd give it a shot. Right about that time, 2Do was looking for beta testers for their 3.7 update, so I jumped on that opportunity, since iOS 9 was coming out about the same time.

Long story short, I'm so glad I did. There were always little things that bugged me about Clear. Sometimes sync wouldn't work just right, and there wasn't any real way to defer tasks to later dates, and if I had stuff that I wanted to get done on multiple lists, I had to switch back and forth to mark things complete. 2Do, on the other hand, puts so much stuff right at my fingertips.

One of the things that I did to change my system for getting things done was to read "Getting Things Done" by David Allen. One of the things he espouses in the early chapters is that you have to have a place to get things out of your brain and into a trusted organizational system. For me, 2Do has become that system. Its quick add feature lets me dump as many thoughts as I have into the system, and combined with the 3D Touch feature on the iPhone 6S, if something pops into my head, it has a task.

Mobility is Key

“Many people lose opportunities to be productive because they’re not equipped to take advantage of the odd moments and windows of time that open up as they move from one place to another”
Excerpt From: Allen, David. “Getting Things Done.”

That quote really stuck out to me when I was reading through "Getting Things Done." Because I work from home now, I will often wander around the house while I'm on calls, or head out to a coffee shop to work for a few hours. Even if I just step out of the house for a few minutes to run and get lunch or something, it usually shakes up my brain just enough that I think of emails I want to send, tasks I want to check up on, or just stuff I want to look up later.

As a result, my organizational system exists almost solely on my phones and iPad. Yes, phones, I do carry a work phone and a personal phone, but the work phone is really just for corporate email and long conference calls. 2Do syncs between both, as does 1Password, and Drafts, which kind of rounds out my "productivity suite," if you will. 2Do captures my tasks, 1Password captures well, passwords, and Drafts catches all those bits of text that I don't know what to do with. Being able to be as or more productive while I'm moving around than when I'm at my desk is a huge boon to my work.

Still, there's always more that I could be doing. I still have a hard time getting everything into 2Do efficiently, and I know I still hugely underutilize Drafts' capabilities, but this system has helped me keep my head above water so far. The beauty and trap of, as Merlin Mann calls it, "productivity porn" is that I'm always looking for ways to get a little better, be a little more organized, procrastinate just a little less. But it's a start, and maybe my write up of what I use helps someone else.