Productivity Academy Live Q&A December 13, 2017


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Hey everybody! It’s Adam with the Productivity Academy. It is the 13th of December. Happy to have you watching. This is the weekly Q and A. If you haven’t watched it before, thanks for checking it out. Today we’ve got a lot of really good questions. Going to go over some emailing apps, we’ve got note taking apps and kind of how to deal with that. Also, got a question about what’s the best method for keeping a to do list and what’s the best tool to help manage and then, prioritize your day to day tasks.

Real quick though, before we dive into it, if you haven’t yet you can … If you’re watching this on YouTube or you know where our YouTube channels at, should probably put a link up here. You can subscribe if you’re watching that on YouTube down below. If you’re on Facebook, you should definitely check out the group if you’re not already in it. I’ll post a link, you can join us there easily.

Alright, let’s dive right into it. So, the first one from one of the group members was asking about an email app. A new email app. For myself, I don’t actually have recommendations in terms of an actual app to use. I use the standard Gmail client, both on mobile and the desktop. I have used something called Wave Box and Tri Shift, on desktop and PC. Actually what I ended up doing was going back and then, using Gmail because what I’m doing … Sorry, the browser Gmail. Is because I’m setting times that I use it.

I do not use my email as a scheduling area or as a note taking app or anything else. All it is is communication. If I need to take action on something I move it out of email and so, I recommend that as well. One of the reasons is another distraction. I mean, don’t get me wrong, email is awesome, it’s super helpful, but I set times to check it and for myself, I don’t even check it in the morning right away. I check it later on after I’ve taken care of the things I want and need to take care of.

Then, I’ll check email and deal with that because generally, it’s external inputs. If you can avoid dealing with that for a little bit, it’s less you need to … You’re going to subconsciously be thinking about.

Another thing that I have written down about this was that I think it’s a really good idea if you have email on your phone. Okay, I know some people who have completely uninstalled email from their phone. I have not gone that far. I know there’s times where it’s been really helpful for me to have it. So, I don’t do that.

What I have done is you can go in, I’m sure on … I’m familiar with android myself, but if you’re on IOS or whatever you’re using, you can go in and disable notifications for individual apps. So, what I would do there is to just disable notifications so you’re not getting that ding, ding. You’re not getting the screen lighting up but, if you say, “Hey, it’s time to check my email. It’s 10:00 AM, I’m going to spend 15 minutes doing this.” But you’re out and about or you’re just not at your computer, then you’ve got it there when you need it or if you need to send an email.

So, that’s what works for me. For some people it works to completely take it away off their phone. So, I just say find what works for you. If anyone has recommendations for great email apps let me know. I’ve tried a few and for me, I just didn’t find the benefit was there for me. There’s some good ones if you need to manage multiple accounts, like Tri Shift or Wave Box. Those are nice if you’ve got several clients in terms of like you’ve got a business Gmail account, you’ve got an Outlook account and all that. So, instead of having a bunch of windows you can have one app and deal with it that way.

Alright, and then, a note taking app. So, I kind of think of this in two different ways. If you’re using something or you want to use something for jotting down quick notes or maybe writing in that sense, then I would look at it like a distraction free writing environment. I don’t think this is maybe what the question is about but I wanted to answer this in this way just in case and because I think it’s an interesting idea.

If you have times where you need to write something, whether it’s a draft of an email, a draft of a project proposal, creative writing, whatever it is, there’s a lot of really cool apps, even some available for the browser. I know there’s one for Chrome called Writer where it goes full screen and it’s super minimal. You just get your cursor and your screen, okay? It’s really nice. You can do more formatting than that but that’s kind of how you have it so that it’s really distraction free.

Okay, if you’re looking at actual note taking, I would definitely say something like Ever Note and I think that Ever Note has the power to be really complex and do some really cool stuff. It can also just be a great note taking app. So, you can take pictures with it. You can scan the business cards. You can do some organization with it. You can draw into it. You can annotate to PDF’s. I think that’s on one of the paid plans. Then, of course, you can just type into it and do some pretty good text formatting.

The one thing I will say with this though is you can’t just dump stuff into Ever Note, or any other program, and just leave it. Alright? You need to make that part of your process. Like, I always talk about having a morning review so, let’s say Ever Note is your go to, just kind of brain dumping ground, that’s great. But then, you need to have a process for collecting that information and turning that into action items. So, you go through and say, “Okay, I’ve got these 10 notes. Just random stuff out of my head from yesterday. Okay, I need to take them and turn them into action items or I need to save them for reference.” Which Ever Note is also good for. You can then work on, “Okay, do I need to have a tag?”

At the very least I would say you have two folders, right? You have an inbox and you have a reference folder. Then, you can just sort them and they either turn into action items where, again, you could use Ever Note to organize this. I would say probably use something else but, you put them into your daily plan in your planner book or maybe to do list or Focuster or something like that instead of it just being a nebulize idea or something like that. I think that’s where the power of that comes from but, you really got to close the loop on that.

Then, going back real quick. I missed something that I wanted to definitely share. I’m going to pop a link in here and I think there’s a really great way to get more out of email and it’s something I shared with how to use Starred Email as a Gmail. I think you can do this with other email clients and IFTTT. It takes a few minutes to set up and it’s really nice so, you can go through and have emails and if you got something you know you need to do, I hate the idea of having to remember, “Okay, I saw this email I need to get back to it later.” Dealing with stuff like that drives me nuts just because I’m more liable to forget it.

So, you can just click on the star and IFTTT will then automatically create, for example, in to do lists, a to do item. So, it pops in there and it’s tracked. So, pretty handy.

Alright, one sec. If you can hear me, I’m getting over a cold and dealing with having to drink a lot of water. Wow. Alright, much better.

The last two questions. One of them was what is the best method for keeping a to do list? What is the best method for keeping a to do list? I think it’s less that you have an app, which I see a lot. I realize that’s not exactly what this question’s about. I know a lot of people fret over, “Ah, should I use this app, or that app? Or this piece of paper or this notebook?” Well, just use whatever works for you. Try a few.

But the best method is to make sure that you have that centralized. Earlier was talking about using Ever Note as a note taking app and kind of a brain dump that you can take pictures of stuff and annotate PDF’s and do all this. You’ve maybe got a journal or a day timer, something like that. But then, you’ve got that to do list and that’s like an action item as to where you bring all of this information together. You pull in from Ever Note. You pull in from your piece of paper. You pull in from where ever else it is. You kind of have this centralized to do list.

A big part of that is, once you have that centralized, then you can go through this process. Batching your tasks, right? Getting like items together and then prioritizing and saying, “Okay, well I’ve got three personal tasks I need to do today. In this business I know I have these two major areas I’m working on. Then, I’ve also got these three random things.” Okay, batch them together either by maybe business or personal life or even, like tasks. It doesn’t have to be business one, these tasks, business two, these tasks. You could organize it by similar tasks across businesses, for example.

So, it’s just coming up with what works for you but doing something like that and then, you can really prioritize and say, “Okay, obviously these are the most important. Most bang for the buck. I need to get these done and then, work my way down.”

Alright, then what is the best tool to help manage and prioritize day to day tasks. Alright, so I’m going to give a little twist on this one. As far as the tool, I think that’s entirely up to you. I certainly have my recommendations. I would highly suggest you check out To Do List and Focuster and Ever Note. Alright? That is going to help you and they are tools, right? It’s in the question that they are a tool, they are not the solution.

For me, the solution, and one that I highly recommend to anybody, is your daily review, if not a twice daily. But, starting out and saying, “Hey, every day at this time I’m going to go through all of my tasks. I’m going to gather all of my loose notes,” whether it’s from Ever Note, again. Note card or whatever you use. Batch them, get your like items put together and then, prioritize.

I think that that is really the best tool to help you manage and prioritize. Once you’ve done that, it just becomes much more clear mentally. You’re able to see what you need to do instead of looking at these different systems. Literally, maybe I have To Do List up over here and I have Ever Note over here and I’ve got my journal here and I’m trying to be like, “Okay, which one do I need to work on first? Where should I prioritize and what’s similar?” So, getting that stuff in one place and having a set time each day that you do this activity just kinds of multiplies how effective it is. Over time, you’ll just get better at it and it’ll pay off more and more for you.

Hopefully that helps. Again, if you have any questions or you want to ask a question you can always go to Productivity.Academy/questions. Just pop it in there and let me know. Then, I review that every week and check out what people are asking and answer them on here. That will do it for this week.

Again, if you want to subscribe on YouTube just hit the subscribe button. I’m looking forward to answering some more questions next week.

About the author

Adam Moody

I'm Adam Moody with the Productivity Academy. Get your productivity, time management, automation, and organization questions answered here. Be sure to check out the Productivity Academy YouTube Channel.

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By Adam Moody

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