The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war.

—Chinese Proverb

My sister twisted off the cap and poured herself a glass of the thick, murky liquid. I was still trying to figure out what it was as she started sipping at it and closing her eyes in relaxed bliss. I told her it was the most disgusting thing I’d ever seen in a glass.

“Hey—don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it.”

She was right. I retrieved another (much smaller) glass from the cupboard, poured myself a sample, and tasted the concoction. I then filled my glass and sat down to chat as we nursed our drinks. The stuff was delicious!

Looking at the ingredients to Odwalla’s Superfood, you’d think they put every green food into a blender and saw what came out. It looks absolutely vile, but it’s both delicious and nutritious.

It’s a great reminder to not be too hasty to judge.

Photo © 2014 Colter Reed

Photo © 2014 Colter Reed

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You may forget tomorrow the kind words you say today, but the recipient may cherish them forever.

—Dale Carnegie, Author and Business Coach, 1888–1955

Carnegie: Kind Words are Cherished [Quote]

OmniFocus lets you track a due date and a start date for each task or project. (In OmniFocus 2, start dates are being rechristened as deferred dates; the behavior is the same.)

Due dates should be used for just that—when the task must be completed, or there will be consequences. Start dates are when the task becomes available—before then, you can’t do anything about it.

I used a two-pages-per-day format when I had a paper planner. Each day had space for you to write the tasks for that day. During weekly planning, you put a task on Thursday, and the task would be waiting when Thursday came.

You can use start dates to schedule OmniFocus tasks for specific dates. With a little bit of scripting, you can have starting tasks automatically show up in the list of what you’re doing today.



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We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.

—Walt Disney, Animation Pioneer, 1901–1966

Disney: Curiosity Keeps Leading Us [Quote]

Personal productivity is about getting the things you have to do out of the way so you can spend more time doing things you want to do.

Some of the things you do today are due today. Time’s up. Maybe you put it off until it became a crisis, or maybe it got dropped in your lap at the last minute. If it’s important, this is Quadrant 1. It happens.

Ideally, we can spend most of our day in Quadrant 2. Do important work early, while you still have time to do quality work.

OmniFocus lets you track both types of work and see what you need to get done today. Here’s how.

OmniFocus 2 for Mac, coming in June

OmniFocus 2 for Mac, coming in June

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You can’t just have dreams, you have to do something about making them happen. You must get up, leave the cave, hunt something down, kill it, drag it back to the cave, cook it, and then you get to eat.

—Dave Ramsey, Business and Financial Coach, 1960–

Ramsey: Making Dreams Happen [Quote]

One of the rites of passage when my sisters and I started seventh grade was getting our own planner. Our parents would take us down to the Franklin Quest store and let us pick out our own binder and pages. In addition to the standard kit, we would also get the student pack, which had special forms for tracking homework assignments and class schedules.

We would sit down and plan the week as a family each Sunday night. I learned the importance of daily planning by watching my parents set aside a few minutes early in the morning to review the day. They showed us how to see the day in the context of the week (and the week in context of the month, etc) and prepare not just for today but for the coming days, as well.

I don’t know how my sisters felt about it, but I absolutely loved it. Don’t get me wrong—I was still a teenager, and I would still procrastinate on homework, but the foundation they had laid allowed them to have different conversations than most parents probably do. “Can I go to the movies?” “Have you finished your A tasks for the day?” …and I knew they had me. And they knew it.

I used a Franklin planner from junior high until 2010, when the iPad was released. Now, my tools are digital (mostly). Yours probably are, too. But a prioritized daily task list is still one of the most powerful tools you have to get things done.

©2014 Colter Reed

©2014 Colter Reed

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My success, part of it certainly, is that I have focused in on a few things.

—Bill Gates, Founder of Microsoft, 1955–

Gates: Success from Focusing [Quote]

Task Expiration Dates

March 18, 2014 — 1 Comment

Go take a look in your fridge.

What do you see? Be sure to look at the things that are always there—things that you’ve trained yourself to look right past when you’re looking for a snack.

There’s yogurt you just picked up at the store, leftovers from the last few nights (or longer), and condiments that were picked up before the last presidential election. Your freezer probably goes back even farther.

Each of these came into the fridge with hope and excitement, full of possibility and potential. Then you went to the store again. New food, new leftovers, and a new bottle of French’s yellow mustard. What was already in there got pushed to the back and forgotten about.

The same thing is happening on your task list. Especially if it’s digital.

Red Pencil Deadline

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