My New Favorite Personal Productivity Tool

I was just about to order a journal to become my Bullet Journal when I saw that some people who liked the philosophy of the Bullet Journal said they used the ideas with an online tool called Workflowy. While I’d used or looked at least a dozen online to-do list tools over the years, I was unfamiliar with this one.

So before I ordered the journal, I checked out Workflowy. And fell in love!

I realized that all the other personal productivity tools I’d tried over the years forced me to adjust my thinking a little or a lot to use the tool. That’s why I kept going back to pen and paper for my daily to-do list. It just matched how I thought about my day. But Workflowy lets me organize my plans and thoughts exactly the way my brain works. And it’s so flexible, I imagine it would work for people whose brains are different from mine – everyone else, I assume.

Fundamentally, Workflowy is the simplest tool ever. It lets you create an infinitely deep nested set of lists. That’s it! But it turns out that’s so powerful.

You can have as many levels of nested lists as you wish. Many people start at the top with ‘Work’ and ‘Personal’ and drill down into each of these areas. Since I work at home, these two areas blur into each other, so I’ve found it more helpful to have one area called ‘Planning’ where I put all my monthly and weekly goals and daily to-do lists, and another called Projects with all my client and business project plans. I add personal tasks into my daily to-do lists.

If your mind is able to handle things in a more hyperlinked way, you can just have your lists of projects and add a “today” tag to the tasks you want to accomplish today. Then, search on “today” and you’ll end up with your daily task list.

I don’t do it that way because I’m consistently overly optimistic and would tag way too many tasks and doom myself to failure every day. So I move the ones I want to accomplish from my projects area to a daily to-do list, actually assigning a duration to them so I don’t have eyes bigger than my schedule.

You can mark an item complete and toggle the settings so that completed items show or are hidden. I usually have it set so they are hidden. It’s great to mark an item complete and have it just disappear!

You can perform other actions on an item:

  • duplicate it
  • delete it
  • move it
  • indent it in the hierarchy
  • outdent it in the hierarchy
  • add a note to it
  • share it with someone else

Performing any of these actions on an item affects all the items nested beneath it.

You can tag items which allows one to search for all the items with that tag. For example, I’ve used tags for clients so I can search for all items related to a particular client.

Now here’s the mind blowing part. The items don’t have to just be tasks, they can be anything you want.

So you can add subitems to your task to get groceries which is your grocery list.

I create a list with subitems for notes from a client meeting. Of course, this list has the client tag added to it.

You can star favorite items to get back to them very quickly. Each day, I star the day’s to-do list so I can jump back to it easily any time during the day when I’ve been working in another area of my hierarchy.

You can tell Workflowy to send a daily email summary of all changes. Another setting has Workflowy save a backup of the current file to Dropbox.

A favorite feature of mine is that Workflowy is available as a Chrome widget on my desktop as well as in a browser window, and has apps for my iPad and iPhone. I believe there’s also an Android app.

And there’s no saving – all changes are autosaved and updates are available immediately on any of your devices. So seamless!

Workflowy is free to use up to 250 items. If you want more than that – I quickly did – it costs $49/year.

I think the key to Workflowy’s power is that you can put everything into it – tasks, notes, lists – and have a great overview of your life and/or business. But at any time, you can click on an item to change to a page with just that item and those under it. So you can drill down to the most detailed aspect of something and see only that while you’re working on it.

Some tools are good at giving you the big picture. And others let you lay out all the details. But Workflowy gives you the best of both worlds. You can choose to look at the high level areas, or just focus on the details of one small corner.

The Key to Personal Productivity – Performance Accountability

I read that only 1% of us are going to reach our goals. How does that sit with you? I didn’t believe it at first, but I continued reading and it became more clear. Most everyone has goals and ideas for a better life but they feel content with just thinking about it. Their personal productivity is something they’d like to work on, but don’t make time for. Maybe they would not agree or admit that, but it is what their actions are saying about them. Only 1% take action and are determined to do whatever it takes to accomplish what they have set out for themselves. Sad, but true!

I am not sure about you but I have a new goal to be one of those 1%!! There are all sorts of secrets to success, and different things work for different people. There is great advantage in performance accountability which can really kick things up a notch. You can create an advantage for yourself that will make it harder to fail and easier to win. Here are some ideas that will make a difference for you in your personal productivity if you are seriously committed 100% to your goal.

1. Choose something you want to achieve or accomplish in the next 90 days? It should be big and bold!

2. Make sure you believe it is possible and that you deserve it. Check in to make sure you are 100% committed! Ask yourself, “am I willing to do whatever it takes?”

3. What are the milestones within every 30 day period? You will be able to measure your progress if you know what’s next and can keep moving forward. Plan all the milestones out ahead of time as your map of what small steps need to be taken to get to the end result.

4. If you are unsure of what the milestones may be then look at the stories of those who have achieved something similar. Ask people for help if you need more ideas about the milestones. Do your research and due diligence and get as clear as you can to feel ready to take the first as well as the second and third step.

5. Declare your 90 day objective everywhere you go and everywhere you are. Talk about it on Facebook, on twitter, on your blog, at networking events, at every place you can! This is accountability at it’s best!

6. Seek out 10 people who will be your cheer team. They can be friends, family, strangers, new friends… doesn’t matter where they come from but ask 10 people if they would be interested in being a part of an experiment you are having and be on your cheer team. At least 75% of them must be active online and use Facebook and twitter regularly. You will share with them what you are working to accomplish and ask that they check in with you at least once a week… the more the better and see how you are doing. Ask them to encourage you and ask them to talk about you and what you are doing on Facebook and twitter. Have conversations with them in those places.

7. Seek out thought leaders in your niche or people who are high profile and successful people you look up to. Be a fan of theirs on Facebook and follow them on twitter. Choose the number of thought leaders you will engage with, up to 10. Doesn’t mean they will engage back, but that’s okay. You will tell them that you really admire and respect what they have accomplished and that you wanted to let them know you are inspired to achieve ‘blank’ in the next 90 days. Some may reply and cheer you on and some won’t. The point is that you have put your goal out there in a bigger way. Send a message to them about once a week and share your progress.

8. Now get out there and take action. Talk about what you are doing every day. Maybe even make a new blog category called My Goal to ‘blank’ and update your progress, your wins and your challenges. Talk about the action you are taking on all your social media platforms.

The idea is to make it harder to fail then it is to win. With performance accountability you can’t back out as easy because you have build a whole little community around your goal. It will be harder to make excuses and justify why you aren’t moving forward. This should support your personal productivity to play bigger and work harder then you ever have before! Also it is really important that you support and encourage the people who support and encourage you. Do what you can to promote what they are up to and introduce your social media friends and followers to them and share links to their blogs or opt-in pages. Be an example of what great encouragement and support looks like! The next move is up to you and you only! Take action to move forward and keep putting one foot in front of the next one… you can do it!

How Planning Will Improve Your Personal Productivity

Have a look at the way you work. Do you arrive at your desk with only a vague idea of what you are going to be doing for the rest of the day? On the other hand, do you arrive at your desk with a neat list of 47 things that you must do today because they are number one priority? The third option, is to arrive at your desk, drink your coffee and wait for the phone to ring to tell you about the first crisis of the day.

If this describes you, then you have a problem. It is extremely likely that you will go home at the end of the day tired and unfulfilled. The first description involved no planning. If this is you, then you are setting yourself up for a hard day and an unproductive day. In this situation you will be reactive, not pro-active. In a reactive situation is very hard to be productive because you are at the mercy of other people. Their lack of planning becomes your crisis.

The second situation where you have a neat list of 47 things to do, is totally unrealistic. You won’t finish them all during the day but you will add to them. Even if you put them into priorities, sooner or later the lowest on your priority list will become the highest.

The third situation is the worst. Think about it. It phone didn’t ring, you wouldn’t do anything. This is the ultimate in passive working. At the end of each day you go home exhausted and wondering what you achieved. In reality, you put out a lot of fires. It is amazing, because the people who are good at putting out fires-get lots of them to put out. This means that anyone who has a crisis will call up and ask for help. You are employed to be active and to contribute. Being passive and not planning is giving your employer a bad deal.

How about you try this. Sit at your desk and make a list of the five most important things to do that day. Start off with the hardest and progress through. If, at the end of the day you have not finished your five most important tasks, carry over what is left for the following day and let that be the basis of your list for that day. Alternatively, do your planning at the end of the working day so you come in the following day knowing exactly what you are going to do. This will get you off to a flying start.

Personal productivity is a pro-active activity not a passive one. You will get more fulfillment, more pleasure and be less tired the more productive you are. If you are not planning to be productive, you won’t be.

Maintaining Personal Productivity When Working Online

Maintaining personal productivity is crucial for anybody who works online since in most cases you will be working alone! Making an online business successful involves very many tasks all of which must be completed successfully to allow for the growth you need! This can result in mounting pressure on anyone trying to keep up with the daily demands of growing a business on the internet. Our focus here is how a hard working entrepreneur can remain productive even during those times they may not be at their best.

Following you will find 3 suggestions you can use to maintain a consistent level of progress even during your ‘off’ times when growing a business online!

Hit a Snag, Move On

It is inevitable that during the course of any given day that you will come across a ‘snag’ that may take time and thought to figure out! When this occurs move on to something else if you do not seem to be making progress. Anybody who works online ALWAYS has a long list of tasks awaiting completion so choose something else to do and get it done. In this way you have still made progress and your mind will be refreshed when you return to take on your ‘unsolved’ snag!

Bunch Your Tasks

When marketing on the internet many of your duties may be located in the same folder, software or even internet site. When this occurs try to bunch together these tasks for completion while you are at that location. This saves you the time and energy ‘bouncing’ around needlessly from one location to the next! Now you do not have to repeatedly log-in or out of sites, open and close software or even go rummaging through your files to access something you had opened earlier! While you are at any given area of your business get what you have to get there and move on!

Save the Mundane for Later

Certain chores and duties of any online business require more focus and energy while ranking a little higher in your list of priorities. It is these tasks that you should complete when you are at your best and allow yourself tackle the more mundane and less challenging ones later. This decreases the instances of mistakes and if they do occur it will likely be something that is not as significant. The key to growing a business online is to minimize mistakes in key areas and devoting your time and energy while you are at your best to these areas will help accomplish this.

Your personal productivity is very important for growing a business since it supplies much needed momentum and motivation! Most anybody who works online is going it alone therefore their every effort is crucial. Making an online business function smoothly and successfully involves the completion of many tasks to make this happen. Considering that nobody can be at their best all the time the 3 suggestions offered above serve to help you use your time and skills wisely and efficiently. Following these suggestions anyone who works online can maintain a consistent and productive level of output allowing them to stay focused, motivated and always moving forward! It is this momentum that is required for making an online business a huge and profitable success!