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The Not-to-Do List — 7 Habits That Are Sabotaging Your Productivity

I saw an article recently that hit home with me.  The article, titled The Not-to-Do List — 7 Habits That Are Sabotaging Your Productivity and Happiness , was written by John Meyer, Co-Founder and CEO of Lemonly.

Here are Meyer’s seven recommendations for things you should stop doing, along with my thoughts:

1. Touching emails more than once.

While Meyer calls it “only hold it once” (or OHIO), I’ve also heard it called the “touch it once” rule or the “one touch rule”.  I personally use the latter (OTR).  Lots of productivity sites tout this as a key aspect of reaching another concept called “Inbox Zero”, which suggests that you should empty your inbox each day.  I question the value of this since an empty inbox at 5PM isn’t necessarily in the same state 30 minutes later.  It’s always seemed to me to make more sense to just try to get through your email as quickly and efficiently as possible.  If you clear it out, that’s great.  If you don’t, who cares? Read more

Oliver Wendell Holmes

Simplicity

I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity. — Oliver Wendell Holmes

GTD Quick Reference

Can a GTD system be too simple?

I was reading an article the other day on Lifehacker that showcased how to use Apple Reminders for GTD.  The idea was that it’s so deeply embedded in iOS and OS X, that users of those platforms should find it beneficial to use it for GTD-based task management.

This raised another question in my mind, can a GTD system be too simple?  I’ve seen ways to deploy Outlook, Evernote, OneNote, Gmail and many other systems for GTD.  One of the founding principles of a GTD system is that it should be easy to use, or you won’t use it the way you should.  But isn’t there a balance between complexity and a lack of features?

It’s no secret that I have a very clear idea of what features are important to me, but each person will typically have their own idea of what is required and what is extraneous.

How do you balance the simplicity and complexity that both add to the usefulness of a GTD system?

Evernote UI

Going Paperless with Evernote

My office was a total mess.  I had two file cabinets full of papers that I may or may not ever need one day.  I’m not a pack rat when it comes to documents, but if there’s a chance I might need it, it got filed.  Filing papers takes a few minutes, so it was not uncommon for me to toss a stack of incoming mail on my desk.  You know, I’ll get back to it later in the day or the following day.  Instead, I toss another stack on top of it.  This only makes it harder to sit down and work through the queued mail. Read more