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  • The Right Tool For The Job: 5 Things You Need For Your Personal Productivity System (TPS180)

Productivity can be very personal, but all good systems have a couple of things in common. In this episode, Brooks and Mike talk about 5 things you absolutely MUST have for an effective personal productivity system. They define what a personal productivity system is, talk about the advantages and disadvantages of the different approaches, and walk you through the necessary pieces you need to make sure you stay on top of everything. They also give you some implementation tips to help you make sure the system you decide to use works for you so that you stick with it long enough to start realizing the benefit.

Cheat Sheet

  • What it means to have a personal productivity system [1:38]
  • The analog vs digital approaches to personal productivity systems [6:30]
  • Why it might be beneficial to start with analog tools even if you’re a “digital native” [10:48]
  • Tool #1: a calendar, and why everything you need to do must be done within the context of time [14:28]
  • The criteria for deciding what gets added to your calendar [22:23]
  • Tool #2 :a time tracker [31:16]
  • Why time trackers help you figure out how you actually spend your time so that you can make changes to how you spend it [37:01]
  • Tool #3: a contact manager [44:26]
  • Tool #4: a note taker [51:00]
  • Tool #5:  a task manager [59:32]3
  • Why the weekly review is so important [1:02:06]
  • Implementation tips for the 5 tools of your personal productivity system [1:08:48]
  • Why the best solution is often the simplest one [1:16:05]


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  1. This was the best AE podcast I’ve heard in some time, wow I’m going to have to re-listen to this over and over. Great job guys, very well laid out topic flow and thanks for sharing.

  2. Just a thought should there not be a reference tool in here? I know you guys like Evernote et.al. but I use DevonThink Pro Office and it is AMAZING (and secure).

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