Here is a collection of what has piqued my interest in the productivity sphere this week.
- Project Shoebox: Making a Physical Filing System David Seah is best known of his paper based productivity tools. In particular I like his emergent task planner and the compact calendar – more on printable calendars below. But the main link here is to a really engaging blog post about his recent excursion into filing his physical stuff. A good read
- The small calendar 2012 Grafish Design produce this great version of a printable, compact, full year calendar. There is a knack to reading the calendar. You use the colour coding of the months to figure out the date and day. It is also a great replacement to reciting ‘30 days hath September …’. I print them on to large self adhesive labels to use in notebooks and to give to friends. I also have one printed on an index card and stored in my wallet.
- Productive desktop wallpapers If you store working computer files on your desktop (you shouldn’t but lets gloss over that for now!) then these wallpapers are a great way to help you organise those files for easy retrieval. There are a few more here. You could even combine this idea with a personal kanban, like the author of this article.
- How to Stay Focused When You’re Tempted to Slack Off – in 3 Simple StepsI’m not usually a fan of the blog posts with titles like ‘8 ways to remove stones from a horses shoe’, or ‘10 ways to avoid list’ but this post offers good solid advice on how to force yourself to stop procrastinating and just get your stuff done. It boils down to:
- think about the immediate goal
- get rid of distractions and
- trick yourself into ‘just spending a few minutes on task x’.
- How to Build New Habits with Mind Maps The Asian Efficiency crew have come up with a great article on using mind maps to build new (good!) habits. A fun introduction to the concept of habit building and how to develop better practice.
- What Is ‘The Zone’ Anyway? Lifhacker tackle the concept of being in the zone and explain how to get there. The zone, for me, is that state where I just ‘do’. I’m totally engrossed, focused on the task at hand and time seems to fall away as I work. The feeling is great and allows you to reach levels of productivity you never thought possible. The more often you can get there the better.
- Do the work is a manifesto by Steven Pressfield. Think of it as the little brother of his excellent book The War of Art. It takes around an hour to read and I keep it on my kindle and read it about once every 6 weeks. Written from the perspective of a creative writer it offers some really useful advice on how to just get on and ‘do the work’. Just do it and ship it. This is highly recommended reading.
So, a fair bit to get your teeth into there. If I had to pick the best two I would go for the zone and do the work – one really useful and one inspirational.