Sunday, February 19, 2012

Let's Get Productive!!

One of the things I'm doing to start fresh with the NEH and my life, is getting my head organized. Looking for how to do this, I found that I needed to become more productive. That was the key word. I needed to find a way to be able to explore and do a lot of things I dream of doing without driving myself to exhaustion with an imbalanced life as I was doing. So if you think you should look at doing the same, I've found some tools that are taking me out of the hole. Pack your believes in a box while you read about them and when you finish, open the box again and see if you can align the new info with what you believe in. 

Getting Things Done (GTD): The title says it all I guess.The foundation to how I do things now and how I'm sinchronizing all my tasks and the different online tools I use. This is a very good introduction and compilation of what GTD is and how it works with lots of links to get informed before you make the decision to read the book and get started. 

Evernote: An AWESOME...AWESOME!!! software that lets you pretty much remember anything and everything from everywhere. I think the easiest way to explore it before signing up is via videos, so this page might help. Of course there is the long option, which is reading their guide.

Nozbe: Another AWESOME software specifically design to put in practice the Getting Things Done approach. This page will probably give you a synthesis of GTD and Nozbe. 10 videos 3 to 5 minutes long each, explaining each of the steps to use Nozbe and GTD).

ActiveInbox: An extension for Gmail that lets you organize your emails according to your GTD system. I'm finding it helpful to help me clean up my cluttered email.

Just so you how I find them useful, let me show you a bit of what I do with the ones I'm using every single day of my life since a January 2012: Evernote and Nozbe. Inevitably, since I really do use them, you'll find out about what's happening with the Cells of the Earth project. Let's start with Evernote. can create all types of notes, you can write them yourself, you can drag and drop files in the desktop version, you can create voice and ink notes, you can clip articles from the internet, pictures and websites. On the far left, you have your notebooks and tags to organize your notes. As you can see, I'm organizing pretty much everything here. You can share your notes and notebooks with some people or with everybody. So here is an example of one of my notebooks. The link will take you to the web version of the notebook. Feel free to read anything in there, that's why I'm sharing it, although mind you, contents are not finished yet. I also used Evernote to get the screenshot by the way.

Evernote doesn't work so much to actually DO things for me.  Although it does have the capability, it would mean that I have to design my own system to move tasks and actions forward rather than just keeping notes in a safe place. There is however, an unofficial guide to create a GTD system within Evernote. It costs $5 but I'm not sure how good it is. So here is where I keep stuff. 

Nozbe, instead, is where I do stuff. 

You can see there all the projects I have. As it is there, it is showing you the tasks I need to do for a particular stage in a process called "Customer Development" that I'm summarizing in this prezi. You can drag and drop your tasks to the calendar, contexts and projects sections to add information to the tasks. Starring them means that they become your priority, and you check your priorities by clicking on "Next Actions" at the top left hand side of the page. Your inbox is where you collect all your ideas and things you'd like to do and have them ready to be processed. "To process" means to decide what action you need to take in order to make that item happen. Then is when they become tasks. So I just check my inbox once a week to keep the flow going.

Now, go to the public notebook on evernote again and click on the "task list" note. Now scroll down and see what you find...YES!! the evernote notes related to the project!!! can link your Nozbe and Evernote accounts and by naming tags in Evernote as you name projects in Nozbe, you link awesome! for me at least! I don't really need to have that task list note there in case it looks redundant to you, it was just to show you the nozbe/evernote integration.

Both services give you an email account for you to send emails to and with both services you can send the emails straight to the project, notebook and/or tag where you wanted it to go. Although that might be useful, I find it a bit hard to use because I have to think about how I named the project, notebook and/or tag in evernote and/or nozbe, in order to send the email properly. That is why I looked for a GTD application for email and found ActiveInbox, which I just recently started to explore so I don't have much to say yet. However, I can tell there is a potential cool feature in the paying service that lets you push emails into you GCalendar(s). The coolest possibility is that Nozbe also lets you synchronize your Nozbe calendar with your Google here is the the story:

I linked my Nozbe account to Google calendar. This means that if I create a task that says "call mum" and drag it and drop it on to the Nozbe calendar, it will show up in a Google calendar named "Nozbe". Since I have an Android phone which associated google account is the same I linked to Nozbe, I can choose the Nozbe google calendar to be my default calendar and it will remind me on my phone of the things I have to do that I initially put on Nozbe. I'm not sure if my excitement is because I'm a newbie to these productivity things but it was just so cool to see!! So...if you push an email straight from your inbox gmail to your Nozbe Google Calendar, as opposed to having to go to Gcal page and enter the details,  or to Nozbe Calendar so it shows up in Nozbe GCal, it will do all with the one action: show  up on  your Nozbe GCal, your Nozbe account and it will remind you on your Android phone. 

I'm still discovering a lot of things and the more I understand how they work, the more excited I get about what I can do and my usage has been increasing with my understanding of them. The pricing system of Evernote is very flexible and I would even say generous. To get the most out of Nozbe you have to pay, but the price is relatively low compared to the frequency you'll use it if you find the GTD system appropriate for your lifestyle...I am a happily paying customer. The free version of Nozbe will get you only five projects to work with. As you can see, I have more than that. The free version of Evernote will give you 60Mb data usage per month and 200 or 250 notebooks maximum. The premium version gives you 1GB a month plus other features. I'm still in the free side of Evernote customers.

The most functional version of Evernote in my situation is the desktop one, whereas the web version of Nozbe works the easiest for me. They both have web, desktop and phone app versions so you can be productive on the go if you want to. Although I haven't mastered the whole system yet and I'm still learning and figuring things out, It has been working for me, I hope it does for you. Cells are very productive units and I would think that we are meant to be like that too.

Just so you know...I decided to become a Nozbe affiliate because I truly believe in it and recommended from my heart. I recommend Evernote in the same spirit, just haven't found out if they have an affiliate program. The Nozbe program was way easier to find...actually, it found me. 

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