In the last post I gave you an overview of my 5 phases of workflow. In this post, I’m going to discuss the 7 essential tools I use as part of my daily workflow process.
Having the right tools for the job are an important aspect of any business. My recommendation is to get hold of all 7 of these tools and begin to integrate them into your life and business.
Here’s a quick summary of the 7 tools and then I’ll discuss how and why to use them:
- A pen
- Inbox or intray
- Getting Things Done book
- Digital Timer
So let’s take a quick look at each of these tools in a little more detail.
1. A Pen
Fairly self explanatory but ALWAYS make sure you have a pen on your desk, in the living room, and in the bedroom. In fact, ANYWHERE you might have an idea you need to capture. I usually use a pen which has 4 different colors so I can quickly see if it’s an idea, an action item, a note or something else I’ve captured.
Get into the habit of writing EVERYTHING down which comes into your mind. When you get it down on paper it frees up you mind RAM which then allows other thoughts to come into your mind. This is what I call “the FLOW of thinking”. The thought enters your mind, you write it down and capture it which frees your mind to receive more thoughts.
Once your mind trusts you can execute on the ideas you generate it will start to generate MANY more ideas.
Just like the pen, I keep a notepad in every room of the house and in my pocket so if I’m out and about I can capture the idea and write it down to process later.
3. An Inbox or Intray
My inbox sits on my desk and is the single collection point for ALL the papers and stuff I have around the house. My ideas go down on paper and then I toss the paper into my inbox to process and organize at a set or random time of the day.
Your inbox is actually just a collection tool for everything that comes into your life. An email inbox is basically the same. I have 2 or 3 different collection points at present which are my physical inbox, my gmail inbox which brings in emails from many other accounts (you can learn more about managing your emails here) and my Facebook inbox for FB messages and notifications.
If you have multiple collection points you’ll want to consolidate them. Bring all your emails into one inbox and ONLY have as fewer email inboxes as you can get away with, without struggling.
Too many inboxes and your system falls apart, too few and you can’t collect everything and start to drop the ball.
4. A Copy of Getting Things Done
I’ve borrowed many of the ideas and concepts from David Allen’s book GTD and integrated them to work with my online business management. GTD is a very powerful book with tons of ideas to help manage your workflow. In fact, the GTD methodology is really a system to managing your workload. If you’re interested in this topic and subject then I strongly recommend buying a copy from Amazon or your local bookstore.
5. Digital Timer
In my Double Your Online Productivity webinar I talk much more in detail about how I use my digital timer. I tend to work in 60/60/30 chunks of time. I set my timer to go off after 50-55 mins of work, then take a 5-10 min break, do the same, then take my lunch or a break.
By using the digital timer I can focus 100% on the task at hand without getting off focus. The timer then reminds me when my time is up and I need to take a break.
The timer I use is similar to this one at Amazon.
I tend to process many of my notes from calls, ideas I have, and project plans etc and I add them to my online Evernote account. I can then access these notes from any computer and from anywhere in the world. By processing my notes from all the piles of paper I have, it’s much EASIER for me to have a tidy uncluttered desk.
I can also find and search for my ideas and notes much quicker than having to do it manually. You can also add your photos, documents, pdf’s etc to your Evernote account. It also integrates very well with Nozbe.
7. A Nozbe Account
Nozbe is the online software I use for my to do’s, tasks, projects and organizing all my things I need to do into one simple place online. Nozbe is essential to holding everything together in my system.
The ideas come into my head, I capture the idea on paper, process it and place it into my Nozbe account, I organize the tasks into contexts and projects, I review my life and nozbe account once per week and then I do the actions I need to.
Because I trust my Nozbe account, and it’s up to date… it makes it much easier to trust the work I’m doing which gives me flexibility in my job.
I can access my Nozbe account on my iphone and ipad also which makes things easier when I’m on the move. I can see EXACTLY what I have to do in the given location I am at.
Over the next few months I’ll be publishing the 5 phases of my workflow in more detail. You’ve seen the overview…. next will be collect, followed by process, organize, review and do.
I know there’s a lot to take in but when you have it down… you have it down! Take your time, implement ONE aspect of this each week/month and within 3-6 months you’ll be a changed person in terms of productivity.
I look forward to your feedback and comments. Feel free to ask me any questions or challenges you may be having and I’ll personally reply.
If you’d like to integrate this workflow into your life and business but are struggling, please complete my 30 minute consultation form, we can have a chat and find out if coaching will benefit you.
Your Friend and Time Saver
P.S. I’ve recently set up a new group and forum over at our community site called TSA Mastery. If you’d like to come along, sign up for a free account and interact with the hundreds of home based business owners, then feel free to come along… You’ll be able to then locate my Double Your Online Productivity group, join up and say hi