Productivity Tools, my stack
Who know me well know that I’m little bit obsessed with productivity and time management, in terms of put focus on what you are doing and write every thing that is in your mind, both personal and work.
In this post I will explain the tools that I’m using to organize my day, and again, both personal and work, because at the end, it’s about myself and we have the power to decide in what to spend our time.
Email and GTD method
The first one, and one of the most important, the email. When you are receiving nearly hundred emails per day or more, you need to do a good management. If not, your work relies in only reply them. For me the best tool is Gmail.
I’m following the rules of GTD, Getting Things Done. So my inbox is always 0 after I’ve read it :)
The GTD method rests on the idea of moving planned tasks and projects out of the mind by recording them externally and then breaking them into actionable work items. This allows one to focus attention on taking action on tasks, instead of on recalling them. (Wikipedia Link)
My email management is very easy to follow, and it works very good for me:
- Unsubscribe from unuseful newsletters :)
- I only check the email when I’m not doing other tasks that need me to be focus
- I use a lot the Gmail filters, for example, to archive directly some kind of emails that are managed directly by my team
- When I’m reading the email, if I can answer and do the tasks in less than 5 minutes, I do it. If not, I have different options:
- If it is not important and it can be done by the team, I forward it
- If I need to do the tasks of this email and get answered by, I add it to the Todoist App, which is integrated inside Gmail and I will schedule in the calendar later.
- My email notificacions are disabled on the mobile. Everything that is important in my company is on Slack. I check the email in the mobile when I can, not when the email gets into my inbox.
For my todos lists I use Todoist. This app allows me to write everything that I have to do, thoughts, new ideas, personal tasks… everything! I can organize the tasks in different projects. It’s very easy to add a task in the inbox to review it later or when I’m planning my day in the morning (in the nexts weeks I’m going to write about morning routine).
In the past I used to use the calendar just for meetings scheduling and the todos lists for all the tasks. Now it’s different and I use the calendar for everything. In this case, Google Calendar, some of them shared with my team.
One of the things that I do with my morning routine is planning my day by reviewing everything important from my todos list. After, I add the important tasks and meetings into my calendar with the estimate time to complete them.
By adding a time for each task, it allows me to put more focus on that task. After that change, I realize that I’m more productive. If you priorize your task correctly, you add the time that you think that you are gonna spend with it, and you follow your calendar, you can do a lot of stuff.
Of course, sometimes the time that I’ve thought to spend in a task is a little bit more. But the solution to this problem is easy:
- You have to add some ‘free time’ between some tasks to be flexible, also for daily problems that you can’t plan in advance
- At the begining, you will fail to assigning the correct time for every task. But this is like a training, after some days and weeks, you will improve that skill.
For team communication we use Slack, which is an amazing tool. Once we started using Slack at Volcanic Internet, our internal emails between the team where decreased to zero. For who don’t know about this app, you can use it for chat, share files, broadcast messages, you have different channels (web, alerts, stand-up…) and also a bunch of bots that helps you a lot every day, like Geekbot. This bot allows us to do stand-ups meetings in different timezones, it’s fantastic! the whole team knows what is doing any member in the company and if anyone needs any help to do his job.
We are only using the email for clients and partners communication. That saves us a lot of time!
We use Asana for project management. We switch from JIRA to Asana a year and a half ago. It was a good change. JIRA is a good tool and I loved it, but it looks like old, the integrations are not easy… Asana is a modern tool, very easy to use, it doesn’t require too much training and you can share the projects with the clients who can follow their progress. They love it!
The mobile app is awesome and you can integrate it with Slack in a very easy way, which is very important for us.
To write notes I use Notes App from Apple. In this app I write notes about talks, conferences, tricks… whatever that I need to remember sometime.
During the day you will find a lot of articles that you want to read… on Twitter, Facebook, surfing the web, etc. For me is very important to have a tool to save this article to read it in the night or later.
For that I use Pocket and it’s browser extension. When I find an article that I want to read, I just click the Pocket button in my browser and the link is saved in the application. When I want to read it, I just go to Pocket and I have there everything that I saved. After the reading, I can classify the archive and archive it. This tool allows me to have a good history about my readings.
One important feature about Pocket is that it saves all the article. This means that it is available to read in offline mode.
This is the stack that I use to try to be more productive and that I want to share with you. I’m always trying to improve it by reading other people examples and trying new tools.
Maybe these tools aren’t the good ones for you. I suggest you to try as many tools/applications as you can and use the ones that are most useful for you.