I disapprove of what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it.
Whether your planning system is digital or paper-based, it needs to let you capture ideas and information quickly. The more time and energy it takes to change gears, capture what you need to, and get back to what you were going, the more you’re going to lose your stride, and the longer it’s going to take you to recover.
This is why I love OmniFocus’s quick entry panel. As soon as the “I need to…” thought enters my mind, I’m just a keystroke away from recording it in OmniFocus’s Inbox. I can capture calendar events with Fantastical or Siri almost as easily.
Setting up capture for my daily record of events wasn’t as easy. I use Evernote to keep a record of what I do, and I couldn’t find a turnkey solution for capturing notes that I like. Evernote’s menu bar app lets you create a new note easily, but I want to create a note with a very specific title and in a certain notebook, or append to today’s note if it already exists.
It was nothing a little AppleScript couldn’t fix.
Jack London’s Credo
I would rather be ashes than dust!
I would rather that my spark should burn out in brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot.
I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.
The function of man is to live, not to exist.
I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them.
I shall use my time.
There’s a Far Side cartoon, where a kid is trying to enter the Midvale School for the Gifted, and he’s standing on the front steps, pushing as hard as he can against the door labeled “Pull”.
Some days feel like that. We push and push, and nothing happens. We push harder, just knowing that something should be happening, but nothing does. Sometimes we push until we burn out. Sometimes we give up because we just aren’t seeing the results we want, and we lose heart.
Sometimes, it really is as simple as stepping back, reassessing, and pulling instead of pushing.
Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication.
Any task that you’re going to do over and over again should be as simple as possible to perform. When a task is easy, you’re more likely to develop the habit and stick with it, and you’ll save more time and effort in the long run.
A paper-based planner is pretty easy to access, as long as you have it with you. I’d just leave mine open on the desk, where I could refer to it and capture with ease.
Digital planners have a little more friction. You don’t want to have it open and visible all the time because that visual clutter can distract you from what you’re working on. If things are too out of the way, the cost of the context switch to bring up your calendar or task list is too high.
Thankfully, you can easily set things up so that the app you need is just a keystroke away.
When you lose your why, you lose your way.
You know the advice. It may be easier said than done sometimes, but there’s a reason you’ve heard it a hundred times.
- Get up earlier.
- Create a list. Prioritize it. Work it.
- Focus. Don’t get distracted. Be intense!
- Build some momentum.
Put it together, and the key to being successful is to start before anyone else, work harder than everyone else, and pretend there’s no one else around.
And pretty soon, you’ll wish you were someone else.
So why all the discipline? Why all the tools, tips, and techniques to get more done faster?
Bill Pullman’s Speech From Independence Day
Good morning. In less than an hour, aircraft from here will join others from around the world. And you will be launching the largest aerial battle in the history of mankind.
Mankind. That word should have new meaning for all of us today. We can’t be consumed by our petty differences anymore. We will be united in our common interests.
Perhaps it’s fate that today is the Fourth of July, and you will once again be fighting for our freedom. Not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution, but from annihilation. We are fighting for our right to live. To exist. And should we win the day, the Fourth of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day the world declared in one voice: “We will not go quietly into the night! We’re going to live on! We’re going to survive! Today we celebrate our Independence Day!”
—President Thomas J. Whitmore, Independence Day
Three-dimensional chess is a Star Trek staple. The board appears in several episodes, and you can buy your own replica courtesy of the Franklin Mint.
One of the novels takes the game a step further into the future with four-dimensional chess. Not only can you move your pieces in three-dimensional space, you can “rest” a piece, removing it from the board for a fixed number of turns, after which it returns to the board on its new square. This lets you set aside a piece that you don’t need now, and bring it back at just the right moment.
You can set up a similar system to reduce clutter, stop losing things, and increase your productivity. Take any piece of paper; set it aside for days, weeks, or months; and relax, confident that it will reappear on the exact day you need it. It’s like a time machine for your trusted system.