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It’s My Birthday

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It’s my birthday today (Nov 7) and I want to celebrate this with you.

Thanh's birthday

I’m one of those weird people that buy birthday gifts for themselves. This year I bought myself a Sonos 3 for my apartment. I have this “Home Automation” project where I want to make my place as tech, automated and ‘smart’ as possible.

Since it’s my birthday, I want to ask you for a favor.

Can you tell me how Asian Efficiency has helped you?

It could be managing your email, or having more free time, or eliminating procrastination. It could be anything.

As one of the ninjas behind Asian Efficiency, I’ve always served people like you, but sometimes I don’t get to hear all the positive changes people have made.

All I would like for my birthday is to hear your story.

If Asian Efficiency has helped you in ANY way, please share your story in the comments below.

Thank you!

-Thanh

P.S. For those wondering, I turned 27 today. I know…I’m still a baby!

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100 Comments

Posted by Paul  | November 6, 2014 at 10:18PM | Reply

AE helped to jumpstart my understanding of OF with Premium Posts 6 months ago. Coincidentally, I just bought a new iPad and the OF version for it so tonight, I’ve been going through PP in its entirety as a review of how to use OF better. Thanks and Happy Birthday!

Posted by Belinda Rives  | November 6, 2014 at 11:11PM | Reply

I love Asian Efficiency and I am on my way to being Asian Efficient! In a month, I have adopted several new practices/procedures:
Inbox Zero, RTM task manager, using my calendar on my Mac, and I’m on my way to becoming paperless using JotNotPro and Evernote. I’m also journaling and capturing all my notes on Evernote.
Thanks for all of the good information and encouragement!

Posted by Mary C  | November 6, 2014 at 11:13PM | Reply

EAT THAT FROG is my new motto, and I’m working hard to do just that. Not always successful as I sometimes get derailed by others or myself, but I’m getting better with practice. Happy birthday, and thanks for all you do!

Posted by Bill Gove  | November 6, 2014 at 11:13PM | Reply

By far the single most important tool was “Better Sleep” to help me understand what I required. My wife starts work at 6AM, so this was crucial to my surviving the business world. Never thought I could become an early bird, but now I am. It is 9PM and going to sleep.

Thanks!

Posted by Helena  | November 6, 2014 at 11:13PM | Reply

How have you helped me? Well, you personally responded to my email when I asked about writing. I then noticed you did an entire blog article about writing. I started implementing some of the great suggestions you had and will soon have a case published (one that has been the subject of massive procrastination for weeks…).

Many thanks and best wishes for a fabulous 27th!

Posted by Bruce Tian  | November 6, 2014 at 11:15PM | Reply

AE helped me a lot with time management and the Omnifocus Premium Posts taught me how to do Omnifocus well. I’m now concentrating much more than before and steps to my goals are clearer than ever. Thank you so much AE and happy birthday Thanh!

p.s. I’m surprised that you are at my age :-P

Posted by Humberto  | November 6, 2014 at 11:27PM | Reply

You are a Master!!!!, thanks for your help. I hope happy Birthday!!
I read From México.

Posted by Jeffrey Douglass  | November 6, 2014 at 11:37PM | Reply

Thanh, a big happy birthday to you. I’m grateful for many of your posts, mindset, and your generous sharing of your knowledge. I hope your day was brilliant.

Posted by Ma. Bella S Castillo  | November 6, 2014 at 11:37PM | Reply

By God’s grace, i will be appointed soon to a sensitive managerial position in the government. To lead prosecutors and support staff in 7 cities and 6 provinces. At my age of 50 I’m preparing for the job and AE

Posted by Ronnel  | November 6, 2014 at 11:49PM | Reply

AE. A bunch of you are clearly super-young. Babies.
And I can confidently ask an 80-year old grandpa to show respect to you guys.

You helped me in a gazillion ways.

Happy Birthday Thanh!!

Posted by Chisembe Chibamba  | November 6, 2014 at 11:55PM | Reply

I’ve always been reading all the amazing tips and proven advise onbeing eefficient… I must admit you’ve helped me transform my life in many ways including getting things done wen I don’t feel like, prioritizing, sorting my mail and many many other cool effective and efficient advise….. Have the happiest birthday and always know and be sure that you are someone’s hero…. Thank you!

Posted by Lu  | November 7, 2014 at 12:25AM | Reply

Happy Birthday Thanh! I cannot believe that we are at the same age! I love AE, you guys taught me how people could live their dream life from scratch. You guys are always so true to your readers about your story, it makes the sharing strong. With your help, I see a lot of very useful tips from managing emails and this super omnifocus and discovering fab websites: financial management, travel websites, cool apps. Thank you from mainland China!

Posted by Bruce Farley  | November 7, 2014 at 12:29AM | Reply

Thanh–you also answered my email–THANKS. First–you simply helped me make sense of OmniFocus You’ve helped me identify procrastination and see it for the REALLY BAD thing it is. Now, with pretty solid use of OFocus–I’m excited to dig into the overall AE process…a long road to go yet but you guys are awesome–Happy Birthday!

Posted by Jeremy Murfitt  | November 7, 2014 at 12:37AM | Reply

Happy Birthday. By providing well written guidance with plenty of hints and tips. I use the Premium Posts, brought Omnifocus, use notebook and pen for capture of “stuff”, procrastinate less, get the big jobs done early, have focus, avoid distractions. Got to go it’s 05.30am (I work from home) and I have two key tasks to do. Switch off email and other distractions and I will have these done by 10.30 latest. I will finish “work” by midday latest. I will do something in the afternoon and check emails late pm. AE provides the mindset to have a better work/life balance.

Posted by Joel  | November 7, 2014 at 1:19AM | Reply

Happy Birthday!

Having read:
Getting things done
Eat that frog
The now habit
Etc.
I had a lot of the knowledge yet it wasn’t impacting my life it just made me feel more guilty when I procrasinated and when I was unorganised!
AE helped reinforce the techniques I already new and helped make them become habits. For example I knew the inbox to zero concept yet when I reread it on AE I actually started using it and that’s been a huge change for me!

Thanks to everyone at AE!!

Posted by John  | November 7, 2014 at 1:28AM | Reply

Happy Birthday. How has AE helped me?

You have given me hope.

After many years of trying to keep life going spontaneously and just “winging it”… i found myself completely overwhelmed and uninspired at age 48.

I started looking online for guidance.

Your site stands head and shoulders above anything else I’ve found, and offers a workable blueprint to get out of my funk and back to a manageable, successful, and happy life. I have hope again.

I think you’re doing something very meaningful. Please keep refining and developing your program. You’re doing excellent work.

Much aloha from Hawaii.

Posted by Annie Chandler  | November 7, 2014 at 1:36AM | Reply

The big change for me has been — Eat That Frog. That is making a big difference in trimming my day, since the hardest thing is done first. I’m also working on the evening before/morning routines.

It’s all a work in progress. But, between the AE emails and the Be More With Less blog posts, I’m spending more time on the people that matter and less time on the things that don’t matter.

And, happy birthday!

Posted by Ashleigh Norris  | November 7, 2014 at 1:54AM | Reply

Hello,
I love your tips and tricks for efficiency and I share these with my team. You explain these concepts in an easy-to-read, easy-to-implement way.
Thank you and Happy Birthday!

Posted by Arnaud  | November 7, 2014 at 1:56AM | Reply

Happy birthday Thanh:-)

I get a lot of newsletters in my inbox each week, but AE is one of those ones that I always stop to take more time with as a lot of the info you post I find very helpful.

Some of the things AE has thought me to do (and many as a daily habits) include:

– Managing priorities
– Eating a frog in the morning
– Zero inbox
– Efficient use of Things
– The ‘why’ of increased productivity

Thanks for your continued support. I look forward to being a true ninja one day!

Arnaud

Posted by Christine Burns  | November 7, 2014 at 2:40AM | Reply

A very Happy Burthday to you. Enjoy every moment of your life.

Having had a very busy work life, which seemed to cover the whole gamut of technology coming into the workplace, I find at 70 I’m busier than ever. I still have a home to keep organised, a family and grandchildren to stay in touch with and am a member of a very active U3A (University of the 3rd Age). With events to organise, classes to attend, research to do and a large email Inbox to deal with I need all those hints, tips, nudges and reminders to stay on top of things. I try most ideas you suggest and find that you come up with very practical solutions. Keep them coming…new ideas bring new energy into the mix.

Posted by Fredrik  | November 7, 2014 at 3:11AM | Reply

Happy 27th!

For me, AE brings two things to the table that’s helped immensely:

First, a holistic perspective on productivity that has given me a structure to work within.

Second, super concrete tips and techniques – including how to best utilize technology – which makes said structure easy to action and implement in my day to day.

So keep up the great mix of advice on behaviors, purpose and habits as well as the how to guides and tech recommendations!

Posted by Lordan  | November 7, 2014 at 3:30AM | Reply

Dude, it’s been one year since I first discovered Asian Efficiency and during that year, I underwent the greatest transformation of my life. All thanks to all the tools and techniques you guys shared. Omnifocus, Evernote, Goal-setting, the Productivity Blueprint. Because of the up to date and cutting-edge content, I’ve achieved so much within such a small amount of time. Thank you.

Posted by Chris Laarman (Amsterdam, NL)  | November 7, 2014 at 3:52AM | Reply

Happy birthday from me too, Thanh!

I’m still beginning to get this efficiency picture (Asian Efficiency, David Allen, using OmniFocus, Taskfabric), so you are contributing to my understanding of “focus”.

Focus and productivity are important. However, setting the targets to focus on may be produced by creativity, by considering relations between apparently unrelated things.

So there may well be a Yin-Yang balance between establishing targets from chaos and trying to meet them through focus and efficiency.

Hmm… I may be drawing close to the observations of some ancient Asian philosopher, but which one?

So my birthday present to you would be: don’t focus too much on focus. :-)

Posted by Diane  | November 7, 2014 at 4:03AM | Reply

Happy Birthday! I think Eat That Frog and learning to actually leave my email alone to focus on what I need to get done have really helped me. Keep up the good work :)

Posted by Jonathan de wet  | November 7, 2014 at 4:15AM | Reply

Your guide to OmiFocus really helped me to get over its difficult learning curve and i am now designing my own productivity system in it so thanks for helping to get me there. I generally enjoy the positive encouraging tone to your articles they have helped me in many ways. Keep fresh

Posted by Jonathan de wet  | November 7, 2014 at 4:17AM | Reply

Oh and thanks for the fast really friendly customer service especially my difficult OmniFocus questions.

Posted by Hanna  | November 7, 2014 at 4:18AM | Reply

I really like your news updates!
I think the best thing I got form AE is that it helpes me to keep my focus. I use OmniFocus and you guys really helped me to set it up in a way that’s working for me.
Thanks and happy birthday!

Posted by Shais  | November 7, 2014 at 4:25AM | Reply

Eat that frog! I use it every day. I’m a projectmanager, so I need to get a lot of things done every day and this motto helps the rest of my day go so much better.

I also love hearing stories about your lives, they’re always interesting and they add a nice ‘real’ touch, they are never ‘just another email.’

Happy 27th Thanh! Hope you have a great day!

Posted by Mark Green  | November 7, 2014 at 4:47AM | Reply

Asian Efficiency provides me with regular, focused, practical advice on how to deal with work demands and stresses. For me, reading, thinking about and implementing the points from their articles is part of my antidote to not loosing sight of the big picture.

Posted by Francisco  | November 7, 2014 at 5:36AM | Reply

First of all happy birthday!

I must thank all the AE team for bringing me to the world of productivity and helping me out with my studies and projects.
Although I follow several more productivity sites by now, I still recognise yours as the top and more trustable source! Keep sharing your stories and try to take on some challenges such as adapting productivity to several jobs (I must confess that “college student in computer engineer” joins two chaotic productivity environments and I’d like to see your tips on that).

Once again, thank you! Best regards

Posted by Bader  | November 7, 2014 at 5:46AM | Reply

Happy birthday!

I think the biggest help I’ve recieved from AE is understanding the concept of “eating a frog”. This simple habit has completely changed how I view my daily life and I can tell that whenever I actually follow your advice I become much more productive and ultimately, happy. So thank you for that and I really wish success for your future endevors.

Posted by Lester  | November 7, 2014 at 5:59AM | Reply

I love the practical approach and candor you guys bring. Also, I love that you incorporate tech into productivity. Love A/E. Keep up the great work.

Posted by Kathy  | November 7, 2014 at 6:20AM | Reply

Happy Birthday

And thanks–AE is where I learned about Omnifocus and then maximized its use with Premium Posts. This came at a crucial time in my work life (tho I sure could have used it when my kids were growing up & I was working full-time). Everyone in my family now tries to eat their frog every morning. I also appreciate the monthly newsletter with links to lots of excellent sites, books and software.

Thanks and best wishes for many more years of Asian Efficiency.
Kathy

Posted by Rodrigo  | November 7, 2014 at 6:58AM | Reply

Hey, happy birthday, Thanh !!

What I like the most in AE is the series about Mind Mapping!

Although I had already learned about mind maps from Tony Buzan’s book, AE brought me an even more concise, well-organized information about this subject. Along with a bunch of adaptable implementation examples. ;)

I live in Brazil. but for those who can read in English I use to recommend AE as the most reliable and up-to-date source of information on productivity tools, techniques, and philosophy.

BTW, my birthday is Tomorrow (Nov 8th), but I’m 8 (what?!! eight?!!?) years older. :)

Posted by Steve Chandler  | November 7, 2014 at 7:12AM | Reply

Happy bday. Email management ideas from AE have made a difference.

Posted by Peter Strugatz  | November 7, 2014 at 7:24AM | Reply

You young wizards have helped me focus on my productivity hurdles.
The integration of my old GTD practices , the use of cross platform OmniFocus apps and your constant instructional missives have even got me to start eating frogs….Phew!
Thanks!!!

Posted by Clemens Schleicher  | November 7, 2014 at 7:29AM | Reply

Thanh, van harte gefeliciteerd met je verjaardag!

Thank you for inspiring me! You help me to focus on one thing at a time and to put things into a row to manage.
I benefit from OmniFocus Premium Posts and in particular from the Productivity Blueprint.
I integrated some procedures in my daily routines. They became habits.
Keep on!

Posted by Julien  | November 7, 2014 at 7:47AM | Reply

Happy Birthday Thanh,

AE acted for me as an eye opener towards time management and productivity.
Their tools, advices, and support allowed me to connect the dots and go from an “instant gratifications seeker” to a “long term goals achiever”. I am really happy to have came across their incredible work.

A big Thank You and good luck for everything!

Posted by Caroly Rendel  | November 7, 2014 at 8:03AM | Reply

Asian Efficiency has helped me think about email management differently. I am now not a slave to the constant email stream – instead, I have control. Thank you and Happy Birthday!

Posted by Jon Mauriala  | November 7, 2014 at 8:06AM | Reply

Happy B-Day Thanh!

Controlling EMail and instead focusing on the tasks that have the most impact!

Thanks for the tools and insight! I hope to hear many more!

Posted by Preston  | November 7, 2014 at 8:16AM | Reply

When I was in grade school I had tremendous problems with establishing priorities, organization, and time management. I would apmost always lose or simply forget to complete homework assignment. I had no idea how to decide what was important and I had a great deal of difficulty achieving both short and long term goals. As a consequence, my grades, and just about everything else, suffered.

Since discovering Asian Efficiency, I’ve managed to implement several techniques that have truly revolutionize the way I approach task management. With custom perspectives in OmniFocus, I’m able to establish and adhere to the priorities I’ve set for myself. The simple, but brilliant idea of “clearing to neutral” has helped me avoid procrastination by limiting the amount of excuses I can make to avoid a difficult activity. The use of Evernote to digitize my workflow has helped me overcome the old problem of organization I once had in grade school.

Hopefully one day I can afford The Productivity Blueprint. Thank you for putting so much passion and precision behind what you do.

Happy Birthday!

Posted by Camila  | November 7, 2014 at 8:24AM | Reply

Happy birthday, Thanh! I owe my task management system to Asian Efficiency – you introduced me to GTD and now I have a fully personalised system that is basically my external brain and has made my life SO much better! But I as most people seem to be bringing up GTD, I’m also mention something else: the concept of time management vs. energy management. Before AE I had never thought of it this way and it was such a hugely important realisation.
Enjoy your day!

Posted by Camila  | November 7, 2014 at 8:27AM | Reply

(All typos above are entirely my own work and NOT thanks to AE…)

Posted by Emiel  | November 7, 2014 at 8:29AM | Reply

Hi Thahn

Van harte gefeliciteerd met je verjaardag(I know you can speak an read Dutch).
Premium Posts, inbox zero, eat the frog are Some of the subjects that really helped me. Many Many years in good Health and AE wisdom. Tnx Emiel

Posted by John  | November 7, 2014 at 9:02AM | Reply

Happy Birthday!

For me it has been more of a question about what I do for a living, and where I do it, and if it will ever be Asian Efficient.

Working on the front lines, needing to respond to the next client in person, by phone or email, and with no clear direction from the organization as to priorities or long term plan isn’t conducive to efficiency.

I find it somewhat unfortunate that my practice around efficiency will be have to be developed in getting another gig.

Posted by Jacob  | November 7, 2014 at 9:09AM | Reply

Happy Birthday!
There are plenty of little things that I have learned through AE. Over-all your Omnifocus Premium Posts were a catalyst to get me up and running which was crucial in my transition to a more organized and reliable person at work and at home.

What stands out most to me though is the inspiration as product owners AE has been. As someone who appreciates a good Entrepreneurial story AE is one of my favorite examples of an information product done well. Your personal communication, quality product and dedication to your customers is really inspiring.

Have a great birthday and here’s to 2015!

Posted by Brad  | November 7, 2014 at 10:04AM | Reply

I started using OF in Feb 2010. There is a bit of a learning curve but I saw the benefits of getting ideas out of my head and into a system. I was luck and found OF before trying other products.

But AE helped me by showing me how to better manage all my stuff. I’ve been using your methodology for about a year I think and I’m still using it.

I love the Planning and Execution perspectives and use them daily. I still occasionally tweak my process but it’s been limited to contexts and how to manage the data not my main AE process…

Thank You and yes you are still a baby and I wish you many more happy days..

Posted by Aary  | November 7, 2014 at 10:06AM | Reply

H A P P Y B I R T H D A Y B R O

Thank you for your sharing your gift(s) with the world.

We really appreciate the simplicity of your efficiency in all aspects.

Posted by Joe Richards  | November 7, 2014 at 10:10AM | Reply

EAT THAT FROG!!

Posted by KA  | November 7, 2014 at 10:13AM | Reply

AE is a constant source of inspiration to get better at “doing” and to get better at “getting better”. Your email newsletter is a welcome, recurring reminder of the fundamentals with new insights on how to apply them. I read every one.

Your OF Premium Posts content and other posts have been the key to me finally getting organized around a trusted system. I had years of experience intellectually grasping the concepts of personal productivity — I’ve read a lot about it — but failing in practice. That is, until I bought the OFPP. Then it all started to click.

The entire OFPP package sits right next to me, old-school style, printed and stored in a three-ring binder. If I sense something coming off the rails and need a refresher on any concept, I grab it, scan for what I need, and within minutes I’m back on track. Having that reference is invaluable.

Above all that, your passion for what you do is inspiring. As is how you have turned that passion into a business that helps people and makes an impact.

Knowing that must make a pretty good birthday present. :-)

Posted by Joanne  | November 7, 2014 at 10:20AM | Reply

Happy Birthday! And yes, you are still a baby, but have accomplished so much! I love reading AE posts. As a productivity specialist myself, I understand there is no one way that works for everyone, so reading about how other people create a successful workflow helps me with my clients. I’ve pointed more people towards your blog than I can count. So celebrate today in a big way knowing you guys are helping more people than you will ever know. Thanks!

Posted by Christian Maue  | November 7, 2014 at 10:34AM | Reply

Happy Birthday Tanh! Trust it was a great day for you!!

AE is about to help me fighting procrastination and getting organized in a home office working for a company 700 km away. I’m just started with OF Premium Posts and now getting deeper into the Productivity Blueprint. I’m in the beginning but feeling already positive effects with just taking 1-2 of the ideas of the AE workflow into my daily work is kick-boosting my efficiency and daily productivity.

Thanks for your great work and best regards from Germany.

Christian Maue

Posted by Gesneramor  | November 7, 2014 at 10:43AM | Reply

AE convinced me to get serious about using GTD and a to-do list app. Previously I had given up on to-do lists. I was always losing the scraps of papers, they were overwhelming, blahdee blah blah. After reading AE for a while, I seriously learned what GTD is and how I could use it, and I seriously searched for an app that could work for me. Today I am using doit.im and loving it, and I feel like I am starting to get a handle on my life instead of being constantly behind, buried, and in the weeds.

Happy birthday!

Posted by Angel  | November 7, 2014 at 10:52AM | Reply

I’ve only read the first few chapters of the AE Primer so far — I’m trying to really digest and use it, instead of just buzzing through it quickly and saying, “Yeah, those are all good ideas!”, and then forgetting and continuing all my bad habits. ;)

So all I’ve really implemented so far is the email management concepts, but just that has already been a huge help!

I got rid of tabs and endless reference folders, and am using just Inbox, Reply & Waiting folders. I try to touch emails just once whenever possible, and I keep my Inbox completely empty.

Now when I go to my email, I get a feeling of “Aaaahhh….”. It’s empty and clean (I imagine wind whistling, and the occasional tumbleweed blowing through ;). My email life feels peaceful and under control now, instead of overwhelming and anxiety-making! It’s awesome! :)

I’d also like to say that I enjoy reading your occasional emails. Most emails from businesses are spam to me, but yours I actually enjoy reading. They contain good info, and are often surprising and refreshing.

Whenever I see an email from you guys, instead of my usual feeling of, “Ugh, another piece of crap I don’t care about from XYZ Company”, I feel like, “Oh, a fun email from my little Asian buddies!” ;D

Keep up the good work, guys! :)

Posted by Jeff Newfeld  | November 7, 2014 at 11:43AM | Reply

I found Asian Efficiency when I was looking for a new GTD tool — my system had somewhat fallen apart and I needed to jumpstart my “self management”. I bought the Premium Posts at the same time as I bought OF2 for Mac and iPad and iPhone. It was tremendously helpful in getting my system set up and keeping me on track. I’ve had three weeks of Zero Email Bounce and never felt more in control. The ongoing emails remind me to continually stay focused on efficiency and prioritization.

I’m always open to learning new techniques and what’s worked for someone else. Although I’m twice your age (almost exactly; happy birthday by the way) your emails always have great tips and reminders that I can use. Thanks for doing this.

…jeff

Posted by Monica Lopez  | November 7, 2014 at 12:18PM | Reply

Really introduced me to efficiency and personal productivity
Love the website and all the content

Posted by Jeff D.  | November 7, 2014 at 12:36PM | Reply

Thanh, Happy Birthday! For your birthday, I think you should take some time, serious time, and meditate! Consider the year ahead from a higher level, perhaps? Anyway, what has AE done for me so far? I am using Omnifocus, Evernote, and a couple other apps multiple times daily instead of when I felt guilty. My procrastination levels have dropped significantly, and I am meeting some work deadlines without whining! YAY! I am also able to use more time for my spiritual pursuits and prep for retirement. Thanks so much for your enthusiasm and great ideas! Enjoy the walk!

Posted by Heidi  | November 7, 2014 at 12:46PM | Reply

Happy Birthday Thanh!

Before September 2013 I perceived myself as an organized efficient person. Others told me that I was, and when working on one project at a time details got taken care of. Then, last fall, I found myself working on projects for 4 clients, and two of them were big! My systems (Calendar, Notebook To Do List, phone reminders, post-its on my bathroom mirror) just were not enough to catch all the information I was responsible for. I don’t recall exactly how AE first came to my attention, but I am so grateful it did. I got Omnifocus and set it up, and was no longer anxious about forgetting to make a phone call to someone in two months.

Around that time I had been reading and understanding more about the systems around us in our daily lives, and began to experiment with tweaking them. This is an ongoing process! Now I am recognizing others who constantly “put out fires” in the work and personal lives and am astounded that they don’t recognize it.

After a few months of using Omnifocus for work, and streamlining my Email processing, I started to look at optimizing my personal life as well. First I introduced Morning and Evening Rituals. I already had unwritten routines that I went through, but writing them down made it easier to follow through and to examine and eliminate those things that were hurting my health and productivity (watching Netflix in bed anyone?). I have found the morning ritual much easier to follow, but am less consistent with my evening ritual. That is something I will continue to work on.

Another aspect that I’ve seen marked changes in is how I pay attention to my relationships. Actions about following up with friends after a big job interview, or on their birthday, or even calling my mom have been added to my Omnifocus, and it helps me make the people who are important a priority as well. My work-personal time divide is improving (which is sometimes tricky as a freelancer), and I make it a priority to be present and focused when I’m with my friends.

In the last year since discovering AE I have learned to see the systems in place around me, become calmer because I have a reliable way to “catch” all the information coming in, removed myself from a volunteer commitment that was taking up more time and energy than my paid work or my personal time, and improved my relationships with friends, family and colleagues.

Thank you for your excellent content and encouragement!

Posted by Azdaroth  | November 7, 2014 at 12:49PM | Reply

Happy Birthday!

AE helped me reestablish several productivity habbits and showed plenty of new stuff. Thanks to AE, I turned from being semi-productive to hardcore productive ;).

Posted by Joshua Fritsch  | November 7, 2014 at 1:18PM | Reply

AE has completely revolutionized how I use Omnifocus. I am a long-time user of GTD, but I had no idea that I was still ‘riding with training wheels’ until I read the Omnifocus Premium Posts.

I could name a dozen other great things (such as eat that frog, solar flaring, and great customer service) but the OF workflow is by far the biggest impact. Thank you for that and thank you for the many other things you provide!

Posted by Gwendolyn  | November 7, 2014 at 1:19PM | Reply

Dear Thanh,

Many happy returns of the day! You and your compatriots at Asian Efficiency have helped me out simply by being here. You have my back. I don’t always need super efficiency 100% of the time, but when things get bad I know I can come over here and remind myself that there are tools to make it easier. My favorite is the pomodoro technique because it gives me time to be a human instead of just a workhorse robot. If I know I work hard, I can earn time to dink around and have it be justified rather than a bad habit or dirty secret. It makes work less of an anxious thing I have to do.

I hope your birthday and your new year is free from anxieties and worry.

Posted by Gwendolyn  | November 7, 2014 at 1:25PM | Reply

P.S. As a result of using Pomodoro, I was able to make a start on my goals, which led to actually working on my goals, and then I finally completed a couple. I was able to finally win the war against depression and my family is now preparing to add a new member. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. I don’t remember if you were the first, but you were certainly one of the largest steps. Thank you.

Posted by Eldad Cohen  | November 7, 2014 at 1:53PM | Reply

Happy Birthday Thahn!!!

Thanks to you and the rest of the Asian Efficiency team I was introduced to the world of productivity. Before completing the Asian Efficiency Productivity Blueprint I remember reading almost every article on the website! I learned a lot about the different productivity tools and was exposed a various books on the subject. Thanks to your recommendation to read The Power of Story I was able to discover my life mission and help other people become more productive. Than Pham, Thank you very much :-) I deeply appreciate you and the Asian Efficiency team :)

Posted by Anne  | November 7, 2014 at 2:05PM | Reply

Happy birthday! Thanks to just one month exploring your systems, I now am using Omnifocus (which I had abandoned in despair). And…drum roll…after I post this comment, I will delete your email and have Zero Inbox again–my new standard as of this week!

Posted by Cathie in WNC  | November 7, 2014 at 2:34PM | Reply

Happy Birthday Thanh! My birthday is on the 9th and I will be 70. (Btw, don’t we all buy birthday gifts for ourselves?)

OK, here’s my story:
I’ve found many helpful ideas on AE since I started reading your posts a few months ago. Morning rituals I’m familiar with, but needed a tune up; Eating that Frog is a good thing to keep in mind when planning your days; and managing email, (well I still am struggling with that). In other words, your website has given me many good ideas on how to improve my efficiency and productivity.

There’s one more thing, however. The thing that is changing my life right now is the concept that you call “Clearing to Neutral.” As you can see from my opening statement, I’ve been on the planet for quite a while now, and for all those decades I have had a bad habit that I didn’t realize was “just” a habit that I could consciously change. This habit affects not only my work, but also my life in general. The habit is to never put anything away when I’m done with it. I just move on to the next project or activity without a thought to what happens to my stuff, and whether I’ll be able to find it again.

My passion is fiber arts and mixed media. Making any fiber arts project seems to require having lots and lots (and lots) of materials and tools out within reach. My studio looks like the aftermath of a hurricane or typhoon when I’m working—and when I’ve finished with a project, I just move on to the next thing without stopping to put things away, therefore I can never find things when I want them. You get the idea.

I am now very aware of the old decades-long habit and of the new (to me) concept of “Clearing to Neutral.” Whenever I do anything, I now stop to put things away. Putting-things-away is now the final part of the task, not something extra to be done after the task. This one new habit is already helping me in many ways, not just in combating procrastination; I love it. Thanks for all your brilliant ideas!

Posted by Andrew  | November 7, 2014 at 3:35PM | Reply

AE has been the single most useful resource for me in tactics and tools for improving my productivity and efficiency.

Especially: filing systems, inbox management, clearing to neutral…those have been the biggest I think.

Overall, I now believe in the possibility of truly taking control of your life through efficient habits and systems. I really appreciate the work you guys do in putting together such great resources.

Happy Birthday!

Posted by Gizem  | November 7, 2014 at 3:36PM | Reply

I have been studying productivity for a while now. But you guys provided me with many many cool ideas nonetheless. I made the final jump into OF after reading up on your posts on it, and never looked back. OF is awesome and so are you!

Another thing I learned from you guys was to take this as a journey. There is no one correct system. Each individual eventually discovers what works for her. But reading thoughtful people and intentionally experimenting on oneself are going to get you there faster. That too I learned from you :)

So thanks! And of course:

Happy birthday!

27 is still so young! The best is yet to come :)

Posted by KC  | November 7, 2014 at 3:55PM | Reply

Happy Birthday Thanh!

AE has helped me tremendously. I first found the site back when I was in graduate school and it changed my mindset in how I approached not just my schoolwork but also in my personal pursuits as well. Now that I’m working the wisdom that you and the rest of the AE team have imparted carries on into my working life. I often have coworkers that are amazed by how I manage all the assignments I receive. I notice it too in being able to view problems as systems and how to tweak them to make the situation better.

Once again thank you for writing and helping so many of us improve the way we live.

Posted by Lee  | November 7, 2014 at 4:32PM | Reply

AE has helped me think in depth about a wide range of productivity hacks (GTD, Inbox Zero, Eat That Frog, OmniFocus, mind mapping, etc.) and how they can increase the performance of the university department of which I am Director. There are far fewer productivity geeks in the university environment than there are in the private sector, so resources and informed opinions are few and far between…

Posted by Alastair  | November 7, 2014 at 5:00PM | Reply

Firstly, thanks for inviting me to add some comments.

I’m retired but still active in a variety of community roles which mean I have an occasionally heavy work load, conflicting priorities, loads of email etc etc. However I still enjoying learning all sorts of new things in all aspects of my life, and discovered and bought AE’s Premium Posts as I started to get to grips with OmniFocus.

AE has not only helped me to implement a very practical approach to make the most of OmniFocus but helped me adopt all sorts of very straightforward practices to make my working days even simpler and more productive. The focus on productivity and efficiency is incredibly helpful, the emails full of hints and tips always worth reading.

I wish you a very happy birthday for today, Thanh. If this is what you can accomplish in your first 27 years then what might the future hold…

Posted by Daryl  | November 7, 2014 at 5:02PM | Reply

Happy Birthday Thanh!
Where do I start?
GTD, Omnifocus, Perspectives, Agile, Capture, Evernote, inbox to zero…
I’ve combined all this with Bullet journalling and have a system so slick it’s dangerous!
Keep on going… Imagine how good you’ll be in another 27 years…

Posted by P George  | November 7, 2014 at 5:11PM | Reply

I really like the productivity blueprint as well as the guides on Omnifocus and email management. Thank you for all you do!

Posted by Jacob  | November 7, 2014 at 5:41PM | Reply

Happy Birthday! AE’s blog, emails, Primer, and Premium Posts have all helped me to become less stressed and more productive in my personal and professional life. Thanks for all that you and everybody else do at AE!

Posted by Benjamin Pek  | November 7, 2014 at 7:39PM | Reply

AE has inspired me that the world can be made a better place, one person at a time, one blog post at a time.

That the limit for a better world lies in the hearts of people and not in our environment.

“天下无难事,只怕有心人”

My translation: there’s no task too hard in the world, only man who does not have the heart to do it.

Thanks AE for being such an inspiration for all

Posted by Joyce  | November 7, 2014 at 7:50PM | Reply

I get new ideas to think about around how to make me life, and that of those around me better. Thanks

Posted by Susi  | November 7, 2014 at 8:11PM | Reply

Happy Birthday Thanh!

You and the AE team have helped me “eat that frog,” introduced me to Agile Results and have helped me optimize my usage of Evernote.

Keep up the good work!

Posted by FLo  | November 7, 2014 at 9:30PM | Reply

Happy Birthday NinjaThanh! Haha.

I’ve been receiving newsletters in the mail since the beginning of Summer this year and it’s been very helpful. I’d dedicate some time during the week to catch up on articles and then refer to those interesting ones in the monthly edition. I’ve been slacking on my weekly plans but I read an article and it kicks my butt back into gear :)

Thanks for everything you do!

Posted by estelle  | November 7, 2014 at 10:46PM | Reply

I stumbled upon Asian Efficiency shortly after I started working. I was feeling totally overwhelmed by everything I had to do and managing my emails and the daily flow of information was stressing me out. Fast forward 3 years and I still practise inbox zero, clearing to neutral, eating the frog and many more AE skills. I have managed to do a staggering amount of work in the past couple of years and have been asked to give a presentation to incoming graduates on productivity fundamentals – and I’m so amped to do it! Thanks for everything. Happy Birthday!

Posted by Samuel  | November 7, 2014 at 11:50PM | Reply

Hi Thanh, Efficiency ninja extraordinaire! I hope you had a great birthday! I’ve learned so much from you over the course of the last year. Like GTD, Omnifocus, Clearing to Neutral, Morning Rituals, Pomodoro and Solar Flaring (I’ve probably missed a few here). But my personal favorites so far are Inbox Zero and Eat That Frog. You’ve taken me from a guy who procrastinated on EVERYTHING to a guy who procrastinates on NOTHING. You taught me to take baby steps and break down overwhelming projects into manageable steps and just START working on it (if only for 5 to 10 minutes). And once I start working on the project it seems much easier than I had imagined and I get a momentum going and so I just keep going and usually end up finishing it in far less time than I thought it might take. (I like OmniFocus but I wasn’t able to use it on my Windows laptop and it doesn’t use TAGs so I switched to the Todo Cloud [previously Todo Pro] iPhone app and I love it.) I’m going to check out Agile Results in depth next and I’m considering checking out your Productivity Blueprint training program as well. I’m a self-improvement junkie but after I started reading your articles I made a commitment to put your ideas into action and that’s made all the difference. You have a large following (including me) so keep doing what your doing! You’re making a difference. I’m grateful I stumbled across your website because reading your articles is always the highlight of my day. I’m totally jazzed about the new Asian Efficiency Podcast starting in the first of next year!

Posted by Pat  | November 7, 2014 at 11:52PM | Reply

Happy Birthday Thanh! Mine was about 2 weeks ago and I bought myself an iPad Air 2, so you’re not the only one that likes to buy themselves gifts for their own birthday! :) Hope you post about the “Home Automation” project on AE blog soon, I’m also a big fan of gadgets and home improvement.

I’ve purchased your OF2 program and it’s been very effective with my current workflow. It’s not the OF2 program itself but the whole AE workflow that you guys shared which I feel tied all the pieces together.

Starting now on your Productivity BP (been reading and learning other productivity stuff for 2 years) and had a coaching meeting session with Zack last week. I was following your AE blog for around 1.5 years and have incorporated a lot of things into my daily routine/life even before the PBP. I’ve never been a slouch or lack motivation, just not as focus since I spread myself too thin want to do everything. Looking forward to finishing the whole program soon!

Posted by Pat  | November 7, 2014 at 11:58PM | Reply

I might need to get that Better Sleep program too! Ordered the Productivity Blueprint, been waking up at 5-6AM the last 4 days and my goodness…I have so much more time to do things now and amaze at how much I got done by noon time!

Posted by Eric  | November 8, 2014 at 6:16AM | Reply

Hi Thanh,

Happy birthday!

You taught me that the workflows and the rituals are the most important.

Posted by Jorge  | November 8, 2014 at 7:38AM | Reply

Happy Birthday Thanh!

I’m very grateful for the things that I’ve learned through you. I’ve adopted many things from your posts into my life. For example, I try to do the most difficult tasks first or the ones that I am more likely to procrastinate. I also get amazing results from the concept of “resetting”. Every time I finish a task I put back everything I used into its original place. This has improved my organization tremendously and now I don’t waste any time looking for anything. My computer files are also neatly organised in an external hard drive and I only keep in my computer files that need work. I have become more conscious about the process behind every task. I am more aware of the details and how important it is to plan in order to achieve the best results possible. I am also aware now that we have finite energy to be spent throughout the day and that we need to be wise about spending it. Exercise is a wonderful thing because it generates energy and gives me drive to be active and do things.
One of the best things that I’ve learned through you is the concept of concentration and how to dedicate ourselves to the task at hand completely. I used to do many things at the same time and it is usually not efficient. Specially because Facebook, youtube, music or any form of unrelated activity gets in the way and eventually your mind is not aware of the present moment but just drifting.

I am a very happy subscriber and I have to thank you for taking the time to give us the essentials through your research.

May God bless you in Jesus Christ name. Amen.

Posted by Karry Hatch  | November 8, 2014 at 9:59AM | Reply

I found your blog when I was struggling with email and information overload. I am a stay at home mom and have not worked for 15 years. Now that my children are older I have been thinking again about what I want to do when I grow up. Finding Asian Efficiency has helped me pay attention to time management and my need to establish rituals. I have not yet zeroed in on a five year goal, but I have figured out what I DON’T want to be doing — wasting so much time trying to stay on top of calendars, emails, bills, communication….I find your blog inspiring, motivational and incredibly useful. Thank you and Happy Birthday!

Posted by August  | November 8, 2014 at 12:15PM | Reply

Dear Thanh. Happy birthday. Great to have the opportunity to thank you!

You and your team have made a tremendous impact on my life, my work and personal organization. Staying organized and beating procrastination used to be an endless dreadful battle, but has now turned into a fun hobby (although still a rather endless battle). Equipped with the tools and wisdom you guys preach, emails, tasks and deadlines are now being crunched at a radically different level, motivation and speed.

Thanks a ton!
August

Posted by Jonathan  | November 8, 2014 at 12:44PM | Reply

The way that Asian Efficiency has helped me the most is through the use of “clear to neutral.” After reading your post about it, I began to really see how much a cluttered desk and room full of unfinished tasks made it really difficult for me to start working and enjoy relaxing downtime afterwards. Clearing to neutral has saved me from many an unproductive morning. Thank you Thanh! :D

Posted by Marty Heightsman  | November 8, 2014 at 5:21PM | Reply

Thanh, happy belated birthday to you. When I started this journey with you, I was neither Asian nor Efficient, but I was drawn to your positive outlook and practical recommendations. I slowly adopted the morning, evening and weekly ritual and moved to Omnifocus. I now look forward to each day and manage a very high workload with minimal stress, focusing on what brings me the most joy and brings my company the highest value. Thank you for all you have done for me, my customers and my family. PS. I am still not Asian. :)

Posted by Simon  | November 9, 2014 at 5:16AM | Reply

Happy belated birthday Thanh.

I have to say all your content has been useful in some way or another, but the things that really had huge transformational effects on my motivation and energy levels were the keystones of productivity you’ve previously described: quality sleep, exercise and nutrition. Everything else is a bonus.

Posted by Alyssa  | November 9, 2014 at 1:57PM | Reply

Happy belated, Thanh!

The biggest help for me from AE has been the concept of morning rituals. I implemented one very similar to yours, and my mornings have gone from the least productive to the most productive part of my day.

Many thanks to you and AE.

Cheers!

Posted by Lovescoffee  | November 10, 2014 at 12:38AM | Reply

Happy Birthday! AE helps me in my ongoing proces to be more productive. I’ve incorporated a lot of the tips already in my daily proces. No working to make them habits. Still doubting to make the switch from Things to Omnifocus….
In short: Thanks for all the help!

Posted by Mark Bilbrough  | November 10, 2014 at 6:16AM | Reply

Happy Birthday. AE has given me the basics of stress-free productivity, and enabled me to have glimpses of what it feels/looks like to be super productive…. I’m hoping to spend more time with AE’s Productivity Blueprint to move beyond just glimpses…

Posted by Holger  | November 10, 2014 at 7:45AM | Reply

Best wishes from Germany Than and may your 28th year become the best you had so far ,-).

Especially “empty inbox”, “Eat the frog” and 1 -3 – 5 helps me a lot to steam my productivity. And I´ve passed it on to some other people I work with and guess what: it helps them to steam their productivity ,-)).

So, thanks a lot for your work…, that inspire me me over and over again to improve my workstyle.

Holger

Posted by Neil  | November 10, 2014 at 9:03AM | Reply

Happy Belated Birthday!
AE has helped me understand OmniFocus and has given me invaluable productivity tips. Although I’m not where I want to be you’ve helped tremendously.

Posted by Mali Mayer  | November 10, 2014 at 9:48AM | Reply

I, too, buy myself a birthday present—usually a manicure and pedicure. I use the time to relax and reflect on the last year and the one coming up (since my birthday is December 30th). AE has helped me by providing tools and information that I can pass on to my clients and showing me that I am on the right path in being a Time Management and Personal Productivity Coach. Thank you.

Posted by Nathaniel Scott  | November 10, 2014 at 2:44PM | Reply

Thanh. Happy Birthday! Hope it was great. I didn’t get to write in that day because we were actually celebrating my sons birthday – he turned 13 on the 7th. We took him to see Big Hero 6 – an inspiring movie with great themes (like teamwork)!
It’s so hard to sum up my AE story succinctly even though it started just a year ago. I am a 32 year old husband, father of 8 kids, IT Director, etc. I had been using Omnifocus as a basic task manager for a few years, but new it and I was capable of much more, which lead me to your posts on Omnifocus… which then lead to other searches, and more! So to say the least, this has really been one of my most productive years (and that’s saying something since I’ve had a few big ones recently – getting out of debt, graduating college, etc). AE has helped me redefine what productivity is, which has helped redirect my efforts and make them twice as effective. I’ve been able to get more things done with less efforts through different strategies like bulk processing and automation. Yes, i tried long and hard to hide the fact that I’m a nerd, but it’s obvious when those are the things that excite me. I’ve been able to help my wife to grasp some productivity ideas thanks to you, and that has helped our home workflow. AE has helped me realized the value of my time and SLEEP – and that I’m not a slacker for resting. Anyway, I know I have a long way to go – especially in the discipline area (can’t wait till that module comes out in OF… right?), but AE has busted open the doors for me and I’m really excited to take it up a notch again in 2015!

Posted by Allan  | November 10, 2014 at 3:51PM | Reply

Wish you a late happy birthday, Thanh!

AE is a really great website. Your tips on mourning routine, zero’d inbox, clear to neutral, eat that frog and others have helped me immensely in the last months.

Cheers from Brazil,
Allan

Posted by Harlee Eide  | November 10, 2014 at 3:54PM | Reply

Happy belated birthday, Thanh!

You already know my story and how AE came into my life. I could write paragraphs upon paragraphs expressing my gratitude for the whole team and the work you guys continue to do. All I really want to say is that the you guys taught me important lessons on becoming an adult and learning to handle things with logic and efficiency. You also taught me to utilize technology to leverage the quality of life while nurturing a wholesome approach towards good habits and values. I only wish that in turn, I could give you all even a fraction of what you’ve given me. Thanks again for everything. I hope we get a chance to talk again sometime.

Posted by Michael Peay  | November 12, 2014 at 1:19PM | Reply

I hope you had a great birthday with family and friends. I’ve appreciated AE since I discovered you guys ~2 years ago. The OF posts (and premium posts) provided good ideas on improvements in my daily GTD process. Productivity Blueprint has also been good though I’m sorry to say I haven’t gotten as far into it as intended (trying to do it with the family). Maintaining a growth mindset is far easier to do when being constantly fed by AE materials. Solar flaring, pomodoro, Pareto principle, inbox zero, agile results, etc. All good stuff!

Posted by Maryline  | November 17, 2014 at 1:30AM | Reply

Happy belated birthday! AE has helped me organize my files on the computer at work, hope you have an enjoyable year!

Posted by Jamie  | December 23, 2014 at 12:04AM | Reply

Happy Birthday (now belated!) You guys got me going on OF.. that changed the way i manage work and personal tasks.. its been fun and AE is my “go-to” place whenever i need a refresher on productivity habits, or i just need some inspiration..

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