How do you manage it all, and what software do you use? The first question I am asked after folks learn what I do for work, my professional background, and my involvement in various projects/companies. My answers have changed over time. Many people think that software will help them be more productive, get more done, take on more work, and thus make more money.
Here are a few hurdles that hold back productivity and getting things done digitally
- Getting caught up in complex systems
- Hopping on the latest recommended software
- Changing software frequently
- Spending too much time making the software's workspace "aestehically pleasing"
- Spending too much time watching setup videos
The key context here, "too much." There is no problem with exploring productivity software, learning how to use them, and evolving to more complex systems that will save you time and allow you to track metrics.
🧠 Develop A Brain Dump Habit
I used to tell people how I "manage it all" via [ insert long list ] software.
The current truth - I don't, I slip up, some things fall through the cracks. The software that I use? I stick with markdown files for personal use and organize them with obsidian and client-side encryption software. For work, it's truly whatever my team uses. I'm not a diehard fan of Notion or anything similar. I have tried all of the popular productivity software available. Of course, for work, I enjoy software such as Todoist, Airtable, Notion, Obsidian, Almanac, Coda, etc. Yet, it's not where I spend most of my time. It's not how I initially organize, and it's not how I get ideas and to-do's out of my head.
Do you find that you forget a task, a to-do mentioned during a meeting, or struggle to balance and maintain projects? Here's how I
productively get ideas, thoughts, and to-do's out of my head.
✍🏾Write Everything Down Immediately
One of the biggest "productivity hacks" you can do to keep up with all your work, take notes on conversations, etc., is to write everything down immediately. Our brain is not meant to hold so much information. For example, if you were like me and you have ADHD, then you'll find yourself like I am now in the middle of writing this essay but occasionally drifting off thinking about if I should make dinner or not right now.
📋 ONE Simple Running Document
I have shared with folks how I organize my to-do's for the day in the past. I have one single markdown file with a heading of all the companies and contracts I work on. I open the document while having my coffee and make it fullscreen not to get distracted. It looks like this:
🧠Brain Forge (random items to be organized, also the name of the file)
All Daily To Do's
(The microtask that arises throughout the day)
All Daily Notes
(Randon notes taken throughout the day)
- Today's task 1
- Today's task 2
- Today's task 3
(and I repeat this for the remainder below)
[ Redacted FTE]
[ Redacted Contract Position]
⚙️Now Move to a Complex System
Of course, having a simple running file is not a great way to manage era tasks, and of course, it doesn't provide any metrics or collaboration, but it does help you get everything out of your head. Am I personal case the next step I do after I've checked everything in my running dock in the morning as I copy and paste the test items into whatever system my team is using or whomever and collaborating with.
This is a short tidbit to my personal system and what helps me - now go ahead and get everything out of your head!