An overview of my planning and productivity system in 2021

Google Calendar, Microsoft OneNote, Trello and Todoist

A couple of years ago, I wrote a post called An overview of my planning and productivity system in 2019. I was discussing it with a couple of people last week and thought it was probably about time that I updated it to reflect how things have evolved during that time.

During the last few years, my basic tools have not changed. As I said in my last post, for a long time I tried to limit myself to using only one task management application. I would periodically switch between Trello and something else (Outlook tasks, Wunderlist, Todoist). Eventually, I realised that I could use different tools for different jobs. For me, a good organisation system should enable you to do the following, and this is what I use:

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Microsoft To Do review

Screenshot of Microsoft To Do

As many may know, I am a big fan of Todoist and have written a few blog posts about Todoist. But a few weeks ago I installed Microsoft To Do and used it exclusively for a few days to see how it compared.

Within two days I returned to Todoist. I wanted to capture a few thoughts about why.

(Note: it would appear that either there was a significant update to Microsoft To Do in the last two weeks or my laptop was only able to install an older version because a few of the niggles I had with it appear to have been resolved in the latest version, which I installed on my desktop PC.)

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Eisenhower matrix in personal projects—what does urgent but not important mean?

Something that I’ve been playing around with for the last few months in my to do app of choice, Todoist, is seeing if I find value in using the Eisenhower matrix to help me prioritise tasks.

But I have encountered a stumbling block when I consider this for use in a personal context: what do I with the “Delegate” label (urgent but not important)?

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Todoist sections are a game-changer in how I organise myself

Sections in Todoist help

For the last five or six years, I’ve been using a combination of Todoist and Trello to manage my various to do lists and projects but since Doist introduced Todoist Foundations last year, I’ve had to revise how I think about how I organise myself.

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How I start my weekly review

A white mug of coffee with the word begin written on it sits on a wooden table.

Above: photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

Every Sunday evening I sit down to review the previous week and plan the week ahead. This is my weekly review, a discipline that I adopted after reading Sally McGhee’s book Take Back Your Life in 2003.

One of the first things I do during my weekly review is read a document I wrote in October 2017 that I called The Discipline™. Occasionally, I update it to keep it fresh and relevant; it’s a living document.

It’s a reminder of what is important to me right now, what I should be focusing on. It’s like a little manifesto for my life—something to give me direction, to help me prioritise.

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