Last week I wrote about the two productivity principles behind mastering your to-do list:
- all commitments are kept in the one spot
- all commitments are sorted by urgency
and today’s article is all about the first principle: keeping your commitments in the one spot, that is Google Keep.
One of the biggest issues with work today is the number of inputs we receive.
Let’s face it, the human brain is an amazing tool but it is not the best way to capture and remember things in the long term! And in today’s hyper-connected, information-rich world, with information coming to us via email, social media, blogs, text messages, instant messages, social networking platforms, not to mention old-school physical documents it can all become too much.
Information overload can mean we end up only doing the things that have become urgent, whilst all the other things (that do still need to be actioned) remain in the back of our brain, reminding us every so often that they’re still out there without us ever actually getting to do them.
The solution to this is putting all your tasks in one area. This means that you need to store tasks in one spot – and in this system that is Google Keep. If someone leaves you a voicemail with a task, then you put that task in Google Keep as a Note.
If your boss stops you in the corridor and gives you a task then as soon as you can you add that task to a Google Keep Note.
If you’re in a meeting and take on an action (or are given a task!), then it goes into…you guessed it… a Google Keep Note.
Processing other inputs
This system works well for processing all your other information inputs as well – has a friend shared an interesting article via Facebook or Google Hangouts that you’d like to read?
- Open the article in your web browser and use the Google Keep Chrome extension to save it to Keep.
- Or if you’re on your phone, share the article via the mobile browser menu to Google Keep.
Get a text message from your child or partner asking you to do something? Take a screenshot and add it as an image to a Google Keep Note. Google Keep automatically searches on all text in images so there’s no need to duplicate the information in the text.
Using Actionable Subject headings
When writing a task, it’s important to only write the very next action or step that needs to be taken no matter how trivial.
For example, ‘take cats to the vet’ is not the very next action that needs to be taken. The very next action is more likely to be ‘phone vet to make appointment’.
Similarly you can’t actually do “performance assessment reports” but you can “Draft Sarah’s performance review”.
All next actions need to start with a verb. Examples are:
– Speak with
I use the last option a lot when I’m not actually sure what the next action is and I just want to get the task into the system!
Always look for the very next doable action to be your task’s subject or title.
The next step – urgency and priority
But what happens once you’ve saved all your various tasks in Google Keep? Well that’s where the second principle – Urgency – comes into play. In next week’s article we’ll go into more detail about the urgency zones and how they can help you prioritise your day.
Got a comment / question? Leave it below or get in touch separately!