My personal Growth stack

How can you get things done? When I first heard of”Getting Things Done,” the time-management methodology and publication, I was mystified. Surely it is not that difficult to accomplish tasks. Just do them!

Now that I am somewhat older and somewhat wiser, I’m in awe of individuals that are productivity machines. I have evolved my productivity stack through the years. Here’s how I get things done.

Productivity tools

I nearly always have a Muji laptop handy. I write in it constantly. I use one laptop every 45 days, approximately. For me, writing down things by hand versus typing on a phone or notebook helps increase learning and recall.

I like the Muji laptops since they’re easy, relatively cheap, and easy to personalize with artwork and stickers. I buy the version with chart ruled paper as occasionally I sketch diagrams and product designs.

I like quality pencils, too. I met Brian Goulet of Goulet Pens before this year, and he re-introduced me to my hibernating love of fountain pens. Now I have a little collection and a couple of preferred inks.

I have evolved my productivity stack through the years. Here’s how I get things done.

I seldom carry a fountain pen with me, but for reasons of convenience and because my favourite fountain inks aren’t water safe. I do take a variety of Paper Mate Inkjoy Gels and Pilot G7 Rollerballs in a few different colours. I also take a highlighter.

From my laptops, I transfer plenty of information to my Evernote app. In actuality, I am writing this column in Evernote. It syncs between my laptop and phone. (I have written about my apparatus at”My secret weapons — tools, groups, actions .”)

I pay for a premium subscription on Evernote. I wish there were better company options within the app, but it works nicely for me as a filing cabinet. One especially helpful aspect to Evernote is I can use it offline. Once I am back online, it updates automatically. This is vital for me because I travel frequently — Google Docs are not easy to access and sync in China.

I run my life by my Google Calendar. My”work” calendar contains both work and private events. If an event isn’t on my calendar, I will not be there. If my wife wants to go on a date, then I set in on the calendar. I will forget differently.

My wife and my employees have access to my calendar. All can add events. I provide non-employees access to my calendar also, to include events, through an app called Calendly. It’s great for scheduling phone calls, lunches, and meetings.

I run my jobs — personal and work — during my Workflowy, which I use several times daily. These tasks aren’t time sensitive, generally. I use Reminders on iOS to alert me on meetings and other scheduled events. I also often set alarms and timers through iOS to remind myself to change tasks.

As much as I adore Evernote, I use Google Docs for collaborative word processing. Evernote’s collaboration tools aren’t as intuitive. For collaboration — like a team together writing operating procedures — I allow full edit access to everybody. Letting full edit access hasn’t been a problem for me in the decade that I’ve been using the tool.

We utilize Slack for communicating at FringeSport. I attempt to Slack over email. I am able to give direction much faster through a short-form communication instrument versus composing an email, which necessitates a greeting card, a signature, and some amount of protocol, grammar, and spelling.

We’re moving job and task management company-wide onto Asana. We have tried Asana before with adequate results. I’m now making adoption mandatory.

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To prioritize my time, I use the Eisenhower Matrix (also referred to as the Covey grid), which has four quadrants.

  • Quad 1: Important and Urgent
  • Quad 2: Important but not Urgent
  • Quad 3: Not significant, but Urgent
  • Quad 4: Neither Important nor Urgent

I spend as much time as possible in Quad 2 — the magic quadrant!

I try to make. Most individuals are consumers. Be a creator. It almost doesn’t matter what you create, simply make. Be in the stadium.

In a nutshell, I get quite a bit done. However, I have a couple Achilles’ heels that I could address.

  • I’m bad at email and receiving bad at texting.
  • I get a huge amount of calls daily since I supply my mobile phone number easily. (It is 512.423.6275.) I attempt to answer those calls.
  • I do not return voicemails. I hate voicemail. It is the new fax machine. My voicemail greeting says, “I check voicemail infrequently, if ever.” And I still get voicemails. Every. Single. Day.

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