Let us be productive this year!January 9, 2011
Art by Tsurui
Eventually, life will force you to become very organized because things just keep compounding every year it seems. I tried various software over the years, but it is hard to beat pencil and paper – this year I might need something more though. I conducted a brief research and found a few web-based tools that I really liked.
Chiyo-chan is an A-student, a genius, but she can forget things sometimes. Don’t let this happen to you! Clearly define specific tasks that need to be done, organize, prioritize, and schedule them. Getting Things Done (GTD) is, probably, the most well-known organizational method, and there are many applications for it, but the one I really like is Nirvana (Invite code: LIFEHACK, review on Lifehacker). Another very popular tool is Remember the Milk, but I prefer Nirvana’s interface.
Chiyo-chan is also a good cook, but sometimes she produces not what she intended, and the evidence that she cooked something might be quickly consumed😛 Another important part is keeping track of your daily activities and things you accomplish daily. How much time you spend studying? How many miles did you run? Of course you can do all these things in a spreadsheet of your choice, but it is nice to have a web-based free service with good interface and summary statistics: 42 Goals. A similar, but simpler version is Joe’s Goals and another service with more advanced graphing options is Track-n-Graph
My name is Fox, and I am a procrastinator😛 Actually doing the tasks you planned can be the most difficult part. Remember that the perfect is the enemy of the good. Also the key is to split your task into small easy fragments, reduce distractions, and set a time limit. This article summarizes these steps well, and you can check out other posts on the topic.
1. decide on the task to be done
2. set the pomodoro (timer) to 25 minutes (like this or that)
3. work on the task until the timer rings; record with an x
4. take a short break (5 minutes)
5. every four “pomodoros” take a longer break (15–20 minutes)
Further Reading: 21 Excellent Tips For an Amazing & Productive New Year