Monthly Archives: November 2008

Review of the iPhone Task Managers

Just a quick note to promote a post over at Lifehacker, Battle of the iPhone Task Managers.

There are numerous task managers available now on the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch. Myself, I use Zenbe as a simple Task Manager. The reason I like Zenbe is that it is quick, clean, and has a nice Web Sync so that I can use it on my Mac and on my iPhone.

The Lifehacker post compares the following iPhone Task Managers:

  • Remember the Milk
  • Zenbe
  • reQall
  • To Do’s
  • Easy Task Manager

Check out the post from Lifehacker and see what you think.

Mind Mapping Tool MindMeister Updates to 3.0

MindMeisterI am a great fan of Mind Mapping and I have followed the MindMeister online Mind Mapping tool since its first release.

The guys at MindMeister invited me to preview and test their new release, version 3.0 of MindMeister which I am happy to say is now live so I can tell you all about it.

MindMeister version 2.0 was pretty hot, and a great showcase for Web 2.0 application technology. Version 3.0 brings some great new features that really make it the best online Mind Mapping tool.

So, what extra do we get in MindMeister v3.0? Well, as so much has changed the nice guys and gals at MindMeister have created a Mind Map showing you all the new features.

Click on the Mind Map below to go the full size Mind Map in a MindMeister window that you can play around with.

I have managed to get five premium accounts from MindMeister.

The next five people to sign up for my newsletter (sign up form is the top right of this page) will be emailed a voucher code over the next day or so. – UPDATE – These went very quickly, I will see if I can get some more but why not sign up anyway!

Thanks, and be sure to check out MindMeister as it really is a good tool.

Email Productivity Experiment – Update 4

This is the fifth post in my mini series about email productivity. For those of you who missed the first four I have provided links to them below.

Email Productivity Experiment
Email Productivity Experiment – Update 1
Email Productivity Experiment – Update 2
Email Productivity Experiment – Update 3

It has been a couple of weeks since my last post on the subject of Email Productivity. In my last post I had hit a few problems with my rigid system due to the fact that I was working on a news story and therefore I had a requirement to check email much more than I would have normally done as I was getting very important information via email that required immediate action.

Unfortunately, whilst doing this it also meant that I collected my other email at the same time as well, totally blowing my email productivity system out of the water.

What I had achieved so far was to reduce the amount of timed I checked email from 62 times to 4 times during a working day. I loosely worked out that this was saving me around 93 minutes in my working day. Now, that is a pretty nice saving!

The only issue was, if somebody needed to get a hold of me between the times I checked email, they couldn’t. Obviously if they had my mobile phone number they could try that but I do tend to screen mobile calls from unknown numbers (another good post topic). So, the system fell down during the time when I was receiving time sensitive emails that required my attention.

During my normal working day, there are not that many times when somebody MUST get hold of me as a matter of urgency. I estimate that this requirement may be once every two or three days, when my input is required at that point either to answer a critical customer request or to provide information to the sales team in order to close a deal.

So, I needed a solution that allowed me to check email less frequently, but still provided a way for urgent emails to get through.

As a matter of sheer co-incidence, I was contacted via Facebook by a reader of this blog about a new web application and servie that he was launching called AwayFind. Sounded very interesting so I checked it out.

AwayFind is based on a principle from the Four Hour Work Week book by Timothy Ferris. I have read this book and loved it, although a lot of it is very impractical in my opinion I still picked up some great snippets from it. The review of the book has been in draft post format and I am just waiting for my third copy of the book to arrive as it is that good I keep giving it away!

Here is the blurb about AwayFind from their website:

AwayFind is a communication tool that bridges the gap between emails and phone calls. AwayFind enables people to reach you with critical information via a web link to your AwayFind Contact Form. Just place this link in your “out of office” auto response message or your email signature. This Contact Form routes messages to your cell phone or delegates them to your co-workers. When traveling with limited cellular or internet access, you can also quickly login to AwayFind and read only your critical messages.

I started to use AwayFind but must admit that I expected a few people to hate it. We were in the middle of migrating company email from IMAP to the Google Apps cloud services so it was a perfect time to start using AwayFind.

Now I am not going to go into too much depth about AwayFind as I am drafting a full review that I will link to from here once the review is ready.

The service from AwayFind auto responds to people who send you email letting them know that you do not check email frequently. There is a URL provided in the auto responder that points them to your branded AwayFind page.

From this page users can send you a message that can be delivered to you in a number of ways such as Email or SMS Text Message.

I have been using this system now for the past three weeks and it is fantastic. People have commented on how good it is as they do not expect an immediate response but they have a mechanism of getting a hold of me with their urgent requirements.

I now check email two to three times a day, when my schedule permits. Email does not control me, I control it..

This pretty much wraps up this mini email series. I went out looking for a solution and I think I found one that fits my working life and practices. I am going to attempt to write a little email productivity eBook that I will provide via this site covering my problems and solutions. I am also going to review AwayFind in great detail along with the way I have implemented it.

I hope you have enjoyed this mini series, please let me know your thoughts and comments.


Tweaking your OmniFocus Workflow

I provided a link in my last Productivity Links post to the blog covering tweaking your OmniFocus Workflow.

Jens has created a great 15 minute video showing how he uses OmniFocus to Get Things Done. His workflow differs from the way OmniFocus is meant to be used and he does a great job of showing how he has shaped OmniFocus into the application he needs to fit his adaptation of the GTD Methodology.

I think this is another great example of user generated content that can help us all in our journey towards productivity!

What are your thoughts on this video? Do you know of any other videos like this or do you fancy doing one? If so, be sure to contact me and let me know so I can review and promote it!


Productivity, Motivation, and Personal Development Links – 2nd November 2008

Just watched Lewis Hamilton win the 2008 Formula One Grand Prix Championships. What an amazing grandstand finish. Lewis only needed 5th place to take the title and he was fifth right up to the last lap where he was overtaken. He managed to pull it back on the second to last bend, around 10 seconds before the end of the race to provide a real nail biting climax to a great F1 season.

Being proud to be British when it comes to sport is a rare feeling, so I will savor it..

Here are my collection of links for this week.

  • My first link for this week is from the 7Breaths blog and it is about how to set up Microsoft OneNote for Getting Things Done. I do not use Microsoft OneNote as I have a Mac, although the article does provide a good series of posts about how to integrate OneNote to a GTD system.
  • My second link is a good link from Productive Flourishing about why GTD Contexts are not right for the editor of the blog. This is a new blog discovery for me and there are some great posts on it worth a read about GTD and general productivity.
  • My third link is a link to a blog post showing Task Management on Windows Mobile and iPhone. Now the post is more geared towards Windows Mobile than the iPhone, the phone that I use but it still makes a good read.
  • My fourth link is a link to a post about tweaking your OmniFocus Workflow form the blog. I use OmniFocus as my current productivity application and I love any little nuggets of information such as this.
  • My fifth and last link for this week is a link to a great post over at GTD Times about how to perform the great GTD Balancing Act, the Weekly Review with Kids. Now, I have four children and I know how having children makes productivity and time management essential if you do not want things to slip, or kids that grow up not knowing who you are. The work/life balance with a large family is one of the hardest challenges that I have had to face and this post is a good read for everybody else, and there must be a lot of you in this situation.

That is it for this week. Looking forward to some more good posts next week where I will be revisiting my little Email Experiment!

Thanks, Andrew..