In the past couple years, I’ve become a big fan of the book Getting Things Done by David Allen. It’s a no-nonsense approach to personal organization that has finally:
- tamed my email inbox
- cleaned all the miscellaneous papers from every horizontal office surface
- cured my addiction to Postit notes (that often get lost)
- cleared all the noise and distraction from my mind
- let me drop a few spinning plates without the feeling of disaster
One GTD tip in particular has helped me immensely. Basically, it says you should always have a way to capture new thoughts outside your brain, when they occur to you. Simplest way to do that is to keep a small Private Eye style notebook in your back pocket at all times.
The beauty of this is you no longer have to keep that idea or “to-do” lodged in your brain. And, you won’t freak out 2 days later thinking, “hey, I know I was thinking I needed to do something important the other day… what the heck was it?”
I spend a bunch of time driving to customer sites. That windshield time is great for sorting out my plans. Plus, I can schedule lots of productive phone calls with clients during that time. At the end of such a call, though, it’s tough to capture good written notes with a Diet Coke in one hand, notebook in the other, and driving with my knee. I little digital dictaphone was the perfect solution for me… until now!
Just found this super simple online tool called Jott.
You simply setup a free account with them and call an access number from your cell phone. Speak your idea or note. Jott transcribes the audio (and does a scary good job at it!) and sends the text of it to your email account.
When you get back to the office, it’s really quick and easy to scan those text notes and avoid dropping any balls.
I don’t suggest hi-technology like this unless it is idiot proof. Check it out here.
Easy, fast, free, simple, good.
(For my international friends: Sorry, I think this only works in the US.)