I am a longtime fan of the Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology described by David Allen. (If you’ve never heard of GTD, here’s a basic overview). He prescribes a system in which all of the “stuff” you need to get done goes in an inbox, and then is periodically sorted into contexts and priorities.
Over the years, I have used a number of tools to help me manage my GTD-centric system. Most recently, I moved to using Nozbe, and I am really happy with the ways that it helps me manage my life.
Every task starts in the Nozbe inbox. Whether I am at home and remember I need to do something, or I am at work finishing a project, I add any new tasks to the inbox. I don’t think about what task list the task needs to go on, and I don’t bother to categorize it. When I think of something I need to remember to do, I quickly add it to my Nozbe inbox and then I get back to doing what it is that I was doing.
By simply dumping to-do’s into my inbox, I am able to very quickly add the task so I know I won’t forget, but I keep from getting distracted by opening my list of tasks.
At least once per day, I look at each task in my inbox and I assign each task to a project based on the area of responsibility in my life. For instance, I have projects created for each area of responsibility I have at work, at home, and in my personal life. Some examples include a project for all my work-related finance tasks, another for my home-related finance tasks, and another for my home “life” tasks. I have projects created for each software product I am working on at MSPintegrations, and projects for the different areas of my Rezitech responsibilities: finance, technical, sales, and administrative items.
While I review each task, I also assign the task to a category based on the context in which I can complete that task. For instance, some tasks require me to be at a particular place (at home or work), some tasks require me to be able to make phone calls, and some require me to be in front of a computer. Based on the context needed to complete the task, I assign the task to a particular category such as phone, home, work, computer, or errands.
If tasks need to be completed by a particular date (or if I want to be reminded on a particular date), I set the date of the task as I file it. Nozbe will automatically move the task to my priority list on that date.
Nozbe tasks can be flagged as “Priority”, which I use as my list of tasks that need to be done today. Tasks that are due today will always move to the priority list, and I can manually mark a task as priority if I want to be sure to work on it today. As I work during the day, I primarily work in my priority list.
On a weekly basis, I work through each project in Nozbe. I make sure that I have marked off all the tasks that I completed, and I also make sure I have created a task for the next step for the project.
One of my favorite things about using Nozbe is the ability to make tasks with a category (which I use to track the context). If I have time to make some phone calls, I simply pull up the category for phone calls. On one screen, Nozbe lists all the tasks that are related to the phone, across all my projects and areas of responsibility. I can then make a bunch of phone calls all at once and knock them all out. Same thing for when I’m at home, or at work, or running errands. I can quickly see all the things that need to completed while I am in those contexts.
There are things that I need to do on a recurring basis, such as paying the bills, submitting payroll, and getting an oil change in my car. When I add these tasks to Nozbe, I mark them as recurring. Nozbe then adds the tasks back to my inbox on the schedule I set.
My iPhone used to be a very attention demanding device. It used to buzz, beep, and alert me for all sorts of things, most of which I didn’t need or want to know about. My iPhone was sending me too many notifications.
When I was participating in a meeting, sitting through church, or enjoying a quiet dinner with my wife, my iPhone would distract me about things I didn’t care about. It didn’t bother me just when I was in meetings or otherwise trying to focus on something, though. My phone distracted me when I was shopping at Home Depot buying stuff for my house, or when I was cleaning said house, while I was watching TV, and when I was driving to work. I really didn’t care that someone re-tweeted something I wrote, or that a stock I was watching hit a certain price, or even that I got a few emails in my inbox, but my iPhone alerted me nonetheless.
As our business grows, I find myself with more and more opportunities to pass work on to others in my organization. I am constantly training, providing input and feedback, and helping my team be effective, productive, and efficient. It is not uncommon that I notice my team doing tasks or making decisions differently than I would in a similar situation. This difference isn’t necessarily bad, but it’s my job to provide general direction and help to keep things on course. And, ultimately, every decision we make falls on my shoulders.
In today’s entry in His Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers makes a few excellent points. Namely, he reminds us that we are completely unable to learn to follow Christ as our True Savior until we realize that we are incapable of succeeding on our own. Chambers specifically quotes Matthew 5:11, a portion of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in which Jesus suggests that those who are “poor in spirit” (whatever exactly that means) will inherit the Kingdom of God.
It’s about time that the next generation steps up to the plate and takes responsibility for their church, their community, and even their own lives.