Category Archives: productivity
Do you use a paper planner? While I use a digital task manager to organize my master list of to-do’s, I like to use a paper planner to jot down weekly business notes, and another as a health and wellness diary. There are so many beautiful ones out there that I kinda wish I could find uses for more of them. Below are my favorites:
1- Blush Full Grain Desk Diary, 2- Gold Wash Embossed Python Leather Desk, 3- Marble Mini Three-Ring Binder for use with -> 3b- Weekly Planner Sheets, 4- Day Designer Black Stripe, 5- MyAgenda Leopard Day Planner, 6- Black Natural Leather Pocket Book, 7- Sugar Paper Blush Pink Planner, 8- Moleskin Scarlet Red Planner, 9- Toile Blue Planner, 10- DapperDesk Leather Planner, 11- Panama Textured Leather Diary, 12- Sugar Paper Gold Planner
Do you use a paper planner? While I use an electronic organizer to manage my daily to-do’s (more on that later!), I like to use a paper planner to jot down workroom weekly notes for my biz, and another one as a health and wellness diary. If you haven’t gotten your 2014 planner yet, check out my round-up below of the most stylish ones out there:
1- Black Stripe Day Designer, 2- White Gold Metallic Leather Desk Diary, 3- Parisian Chic Weekly Planner, 4- Luggage Robinson Agenda, 5- Classic Kraft Planner, 6- Leopard Desktop momAgenda, 7- Blush Buffalo Diary, 8- Pink Postman’s Lock Pocket Book, 9- Black Perfect Bound Planning Calendar, 10- Gold Mini Three-Ring Binder for use with -> 11- Weekly Planner Sheets, 12- Dove Grey 2014 Fashion Diary, 13- Peach Leather Diary, 14- Red 12M Planner Daily, 15- Silver Gunmetal Tab Jacket for use with -> 2014 Planning Diary
I’ve been reading the book Getting Things Done by David Allen and have enjoyed learning about his approach to productivity. One of the things from the book that I have started putting into practice and have found useful is to ask myself, “what’s the next action?” when adding things to my to-do list. Here’s a look at what a few items on my to-do list would have typically looked like prior to me considering the next action question:
- replace broken steamer piece
- recover sofa chair
- buy file boxes
- get boots fixed
At first glance the to-do’s seem fairly straightforward but, when I would look at items like this on my list, for some reason I would find myself resisting them. They’d often get pushed back and continue to remain incomplete. Why? Mr. Allen explains that most actionable items require some quick thought and planning steps before we can precisely define what has to happen to complete them. Do you need to research something? Gather certain information? Contact someone? He says that the thinking exercise for each item is something that has to happen at some point or another and it’s better to complete it early on because “if you haven’t identified the next physical action required to kick-start [an item], there will be a psychological gap every time you think about it even vaguely.” (pg. 130)
Here’s the same list re-written after taking the time to think about the next physical action required for each of my items:
- get model number of steamer for replacement piece
- research fabric options for sofa chair
- measure optimal size for file boxes to go in closet
- research shoe repair places on yelp
In order to replace the broken steamer piece, I have to first get the model number so that I can contact customer service with that information. Before I can recover my sofa chair, I first have to find the right fabric. Before I actually go out and buy the file boxes, I need to first measure the space I’m putting them in so I know they’ll fit and I’ll know what to look for when I’m at the store. To get my boots fixed, I need to first find a repair place to take them to. The idea is to have all my thinking completed about the steps of an actionable item so that when I have a window of time to get something done, I can use the tools I have (computer, phone, etc.) and the location I’m in (at office, at home, out running errands, etc.) to cross more things off my list, having already defined what exactly there is to do.
To be honest, I don’t always write my to-do’s this way. It’s a habit I’m trying to develop. Sometimes I’m in a rush and write down something non-specific because I just need to quickly dump things out of my head. If this happens, I try to look back over my list when I’m not so rushed, and re-write the vague things on my list to make them specific next-action items.
Have any of you read Getting Things Done? I’m working on putting other recommendations from the book into practice and will report back here letting you all know how it goes.
photograph above by Yvonne Bauer of the blog Fraeulein Klein