Respond Like Shaun, Not Bitzer

One of the favorite TV shows in our house is Shaun the Sheep, a children’s show about the animals on a farm in northern England. The two central characters are Shaun and the farmer’s dog, Bitzer.

Shaun and Bitzer present an interesting dichotomy in how they respond to adversity. Bitzer is easily overwhelmed and paralyzed by fear when things go wrong. Shaun, on the other hand, will leap into action, rally the flock, and perform nothing short of a miracle to get things back to normal before the farmer notices anything is amiss.

Two very different responses, representing very different ways of looking at not only the world, but yourself.

Shaun and Bitzer

©2009 Aardman Animations. All rights reserved.

Is That a Task or a Project?

A common question when getting started with OmniFocus (or GTD) is “is this a task or a project?”.

The short answer is that it doesn’t matter. Either way, you have the idea captured. In OmniFocus, you can convert back and forth at any time. What’s important is that you have it written down and are clear on the next action necessary to move things towards completion.

The long answer is to start with the simplest thing that could possibly work, then let it grow from there as needed.



Stop Procrastinating and Enjoy Yourself

If I could go back and teach my younger self one thing, it would be that procrastination sucks.

Don’t get me wrong—I knew I was making myself miserable by putting off what I needed to do so I could goof off. It seemed like every Christmas vacation, some teacher would give us homework. And since we had two weeks of nothing else to do, it was always something big. Something hard. Something that couldn’t compete with four inches of snow.

I just never realized what I was missing out on by not getting it out of the way as soon as I could.

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/omgimages

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/omgimages

How to Create Project Support Notes in Evernote

Evernote is great at taking notes, including notes with information to support projects you are tracking in OmniFocus. Thoughts on the desired outcome, notes on what you’ve accomplished so far, and information you’re going to need.

OmniFocus can add notes to a project, but if the notes are complex or will still be useful after the project is complete, you should consider storing the project support information in Evernote.

When set up properly, it doesn’t matter whether you’re in OmniFocus or Evernote, you’re just a click away from the right place in the other app. The best part is, it works on both OS X and iOS.

Evernote-OmniFocus Featured

Complete Your Digital Planning System with Evernote

I started using a Franklin planner when I started junior high. Even when I got a Palm PDA, then an iPhone, I kept using paper for my planning. It wasn’t until the iPad arrived that I finally set that beloved binder aside. Despite the advantages of digital planning tools, a part of me still wants to dust off the binder and go back to paper-based planning.

I used a two-page-per-day format. On the left, you had your tasks and appointments for the day. On the right, blank space for notes. It was everything you needed to plan and execute your day.

When I got the iPad, I started looking for a digital version of that experience. It took me years to realize that to have a great digital planning system, I didn’t need to recreate the everything-in-one-place experience that the Franklin has. Instead of searching for one app that would store tasks, appointments, and notes, choose separate apps that do one thing well and play well with others.

For tasks, I use OmniFocus. I may have written about it once or twice. For appointments, the Calendar app built in to OS X and iOS. Earlier this year, I started systematically using Evernote for notes, and it’s complementing my digital planning very nicely. Here’s how you can use Evernote to complete your digital planning system.

Your plan for the day includes tasks, meetings, and notes.

Your plan for the day includes tasks, meetings, and notes. Photo ©2014 Colter Reed.