These are some tips that I use to maintain my productivity in my workflow.
I think the only reason I do my GTD system well is because I am constantly trying new things.
This is something I learned from Sam Spurlin through his blog posts and podcasts. He would always give himself a little experiment: go purely analog for a month, use all Apple native software, etc.
I very much do the same thing, especially when there’s something about my current workflow that I don’t like. Getting too many newsletters? Google how to reduce newsletters and clutter in your email. I eventually settled on SaneBox. Don’t like your to-do list workflow? I tried an analog agenda and multiple apps before I eventually settled on Todoist, which I’ve used for a few years now.
This also means that what works for me may not work for you. I found my complete opposite in Dr. Raul Pacheco-Vega. I am a purely digital person (okay, I’ve started bringing a small moleskin to take notes in, but I always transfer it to my computer) and he’s a purely analog person (he has this awesome thing called the Everything Notebook that you should check out).
2. Create a system you can take everywhere…
This is one reason why I am a purely digital person: I go nowhere without my phone. It is my brain for dealing with tasks. Need to remember something? Use the quick-add widget and 20 seconds later it’s written down for me to remember later.
If you are more analog, the Everything Notebook mentioned previously would be helpful. I can’t imagine lugging that thing around all the time, though, so perhaps have a small moleskin notebook that could fit in your pocket.
3. … and capture everything
Do. Not. Rely. On. Your. Memory.
Was that clear enough? You will forget something if you try to rely on memory. As soon as a task comes to mind, you are to write it down. Period. This is the only way nothing will slip through the cracks!
4. Chunk it out!
If you find you are procrastinating on an important task, constantly postponing the day you will do it, then chances are the task is too big and daunting. “Work on thesis” is an example of a very poorly written task. I sometimes write these tasks down because it’s something that pops up in my memory that I need to do, but later I need to sit down and chunk it out. By “work on my thesis,” I really mean I need to fix the descriptive statistics in the second paragraph of the results section, expand the discussion section to add in literature discussed in the introduction, and write my limitations section. Those are easily manageable tasks. They have the added benefit of taking a short amount of time, so I could do it in between meetings if I have a 15-minute time period.
Want some more tips? I found this article on the Todoist blog to be absolutely wonderful.