You know the quote, "Work smarter, not harder." These tips relate to that quote and how to use technology to enhance your life. There are many suggested technologies below. They're what worked for me, but there are many alternatives to each category. The main point is to use what works for you to be productive.
The Eisenhower matrix is another prioritization technique that enables you to sort tasks based on their importance and urgency. It consists of four quadrants: Important and Urgent, Important but Not Urgent, Urgent but Not Important, and Not Important or Urgent. Employing productivity apps that use the Eisenhower matrix allows you to assign tasks to the appropriate quadrant, ensuring you allocate time and energy efficiently.
The Priority Matrix This matrix is very similar in structure and practice to the Eisenhower matrix, which is helpful in managing personal tasks and prioritizing time wisely. However, priority matrix project management is geared more towards project and operations managers who must manage more significant initiatives and teams and make production schedules more efficient to maximize ROI. This matrix focuses on the impact and effort of multiple tasks on a big project to help prioritize the ones that will make the most significant impact to move the needle toward completing them.
Priority Matrices Cube by Urgency, Importance, Impact, and Effort. Urgency and Importance to you are the highest priorities, with the impact being a close third. A task's effort is the lowest concern as sometimes high-effort items must be done before other things.
- URGENT + IMPORTANT + HIGH IMPACT + LOW EFFORT -> Do it now
- NOT URGENT + IMPORTANT + HIGH IMPACT + HIGH/LOW EFFORT -> Breakdown effort and decide when to do it
- URGENT + NOT IMPORTANT + HIGH/LOW IMPACT + HIGH/LOW EFFORT -> Delegate, Automate, or Decline
- NOT URGENT, NOT IMPORTANT + LOW IMPACT + HIGH EFFORT -> Do it later / Dump it
"Eat a Live Frog Every Morning, and Nothing Worse Will Happen to You the Rest of the Day" ~Mark Twain.
Do the most challenging tasks first with the most urgency and impact. Break down Hard tasks into more manageable subtasks.
The Pareto Principle (80/20 rule) - Focus on the vital 20% of impactful tasks to get the most done. It can be applied to personal, work, relationships, etc.
I use the following example software to create a productivity tech stack and a searchable digital brain to help me remember, research, learn, organize, and capture fleeting ideas. This list is just my preference. There is no right tool except the one that works for you.
- Mem for research, note-taking, creating shared favorite lists*,* journaling, and note organizing.
- Evernote, Craft, and Notion are alternatives out there.
- Use visual diagram software like Coggle or Lucid to create mind maps for connecting ideas and generating new ones.
- Use read-later apps Readwise, Pocket, and Google Reading List for storing and reading online articles.
- Use Social media and other hobby apps to capture and export favorites. Some examples are below.
- Spotify for music playlists.
- Cookpad for recipes.
- Fitbit for exercise, calories, and other health metrics.
Use the CODE method to help collect and process information.
- Capture - Make notes on ideas and thoughts that resonate. Note-taking and read-later apps can help with this area.
- Organize - Sort ideas into relevant folders. The PARA Method is a great way to do this.
- Distill - Finding the essential elements of an article or note.
- Progressive summarization, add to your notes every time you visit them and leave them better than before.
- Express - Show your work! Showing your unfinished work is ok and essential to getting feedback for improvement.
Use The PARA Method for storing and retaining information.
- Project - Things you are currently working on.
- Area - General Ideas you are working on.
- Resource - Not being worked on, but you are interested in it. This can be a catch-all area.
- Archive- Anything not being used currently.
- Google Calendar for scheduling and event tracking,
Focus To-Do to organize my goals, to-do's, and chores.
- ToDoist is a popular choice for its features and integration with other apps. However, I chose Focus To-do because of its great features, UI, and task/project organization feel better.
- Use speed reading techniques and apps like Swift to read to help read articles and sites faster and without distractions.
- Another great alternative is using AI to generate reading synapses for you.
- Speed reading aims to capture the essential information and critical points, aka topic sentences, and reduce the read time of filler unnecessary words and examples.
- Automate and delegate thoughtless, low-effort tasks.
- Tools like Zaiper, IFTTT, and other automated workflow tools can help.
- Use as many browser base apps as you can. This will allow you to use any device to work from.
- Use Google and Windows accounts for email management, file syncing, browser profile settings, syncing bookmarkers, etc...
- Work via a remote workspace like AWS Workspace.
- Cloud IDEs StackBlitz and Amazon Cloud9 allow for quick coding from any machine.
- Use Workona to manage browser tabs and internet focus.
- Session and browser management can help with context switching.
- Forwarding multiple email accounts to one place makes organizing, searching, and prioritizing all emails easier via automated rules, searchability, and replies.
- I forward Gmail emails to my Hotmail account as I prefer their folder and automation rules systems.
- Use speech-to-text apps to write ideas quicker.
- Google keyboard and most smartphones have speech to text
- Voice In, other speech-to-text Chrome plugins, or *Windows Speech-to-Text+ can be alternatives.
- If you must type, you could use autocomplete from a smartphone Keyboard or Chrome plugins like FluentTyperto speed it up.
- Use a password locker such as LastPass for password tracking and autologin.
- Passwordless is a new technology that can make it quicker for logins.
- Setting up Two-Factor authentication can prove authentication faster than remembering and typing every site username and password.
- Use AI assistants like ChatGPT to generate ideas, create rough drafts, code snippets, and troubleshoot blockers.
- This area is relatively new, but there is countless new AI for video, audio, text, and code generation.
Create and Teach using your information.
- Create Blogs, Essays, Articles, and Research papers to share your knowledge.
- Use a Personal Portfolio Website or any website building and host companies for capturing more final, static, and condensed thoughts and information.
- Create presentations, lectures, class courses, and demos to teach your knowledge.
- Create Applications, Demonstrations, and Tools to help others apply your knowledge.
Building a Second Brain - a method developed by Tiago Forte