How to be a productivity ninja

Unleash your inner productivity ninja and get your life sorted! Here are my 7 tips for streamlining life and work with the help of a bunch of web services and apps.

  1. This 15 minute video outlines 7 tips to help you get your ninja on. 
  2. How to be a productivity ninja
  3. Want more? Resources related to my 7 tips are outlined below.
  4. Tip 1: You've seen the movie, now read the book

  5. Really. Read the book. Sitting down to read a book might feel like the antithesis of being productive, but even if you only take a couple of elements of the system and apply them your life, it's worth the investment. Buy it for Kindle right now and start reading on your lunch break!

  6. Tip 2: Tame your inbox

  7. Marrying Tip 2 and Tip 7, the article below provides instructions for automating your inbox management. Warning: This is *serious* ninja-ness and probably overkill for most people.
  8. Tip 3: Move to the cloud

  9. Not sure which cloud storage services to use for what tasks? Here is a run down on what I use, and when.

    Google Drive: Google Drive is great for collaborating on documents because everyone can edit simultaneously. The downside of Google Drive is it's not great with formatting (something I'm particular about).

    Dropbox: Install Dropbox on your computer and use it as the drive where you store all your stuff. Everything. It's not so great for collaborating on documents because it doesn't allow simultaneous editing and you can end up with conflicted copies of documents floating around.

    Google Drive and Dropbox complement each other. I tend to collaborate on documents using Google Drive and move the finished versions to a shared Dropbox folder. 

    To get the most out of Dropbox and Google Drive, install the apps on your mobile devices as well as your computer.
  10. Tip 4: Keep a running to do list

  11. What do I mean by a 'running' to do list, you ask? I mean a single list that you keep adding to as new work comes in. Break your post it note habit. Stop rewriting your to do list every day or week. Create one space to record all of your to dos.
  12. I use Asana. I like it because I can create project spaces for different things I'm involved in. A space for work related to a conference committee. A space for work-work. A space for my PhD work. And a space for life stuff. 

    One of the most useful things about Asana is that it works for teams. All you need to do is convince your colleagues to use it ;-)

    The only downside for Asana is there's no official Asana app for iPad - but there are third party apps in the app store.
  13. When I'm really busy, I use a paper list so that I have all my to dos in my line of sight all the time. I carry a Moleskine notebook for my to dos.
  14. If you're after a notebook, I recommend Moleskine notebooks. They look great, the paper is lovely, they have an elastic strap to keep everything together, and there is a pocket in the back.
  15. You should also invest in a good pen (I only use Uni-ball Eye Micro pens) and a good pencil (I highly recommend Palomino Blackwing 502 pencils). I buy pens and pencils from Notemaker (and they just got great new colours in Moleskine notebooks).
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