I have always been thrilled with the daily routines of the super productive. If I ever get the ear of a business owner, I always like to ask: so what is your daily routine? What works for you? How do you get so much done in a short period of time? I’m constantly amazed at individuals who have large family obligations, run thriving businesses, serve others in their church or community and still find some time for rest and hobbies.
I get some of my fix by reading biographies of the likes of Franklin and Churchill, R.G. Letourneau and Peter J Daniels. I read books on productivity too but I learn so much from biographies and autobiographies.
I have always thought it would be great to get to interview productive people here. I’m exploring ways to do just that. A compilation of daily routines if you will.
Anyone who’s kept up with me over the last few years realizes I love 37 signal’s products. I’ve used them all, but always wondered why they didn’t integrate. Instead of getting stuck on that concept, I’ve embraced their exclusion and containment. I’m glad I did. It seems complicated on the surface but deep down it’s simple. You can take a look at major CRM’s and see examples of integration. You’ll see a loaded down, bogged down productivity system. People in my experience will spend all their time learning and working the system instead of getting results.
So here’s how I see the transition between 37 signals products.
Backpack for me was the end all be all. I used it for everything.- sharing pages with customers, keeping lists and running projects. Lately, I’m back to using it as I believe it was intended. A place to organize your organization. I keep reference lists (not task lists), share reference pages with customers and compile data for events, trips or major ideas. I also use the calendar to organize one step actions that happen on a particular date. I keep budget (bill payment) info on the calendar as well. Of course I ical this into Google Calendar so I can access it on my iphone wherever I go. Plus I share Google Calendar with several others. I have started to use the Backpack journal feature at night to record the days happenings.
Basecamp for me is all about projects. If you use the GTD terminology a project would be anything you can’t do it 2 minutes or less or that doesn’t have one defined next action to complete it. This is still a tough balancing act. I have most mid to large projects set up independently in Basecamp. Basecamp is also where I manage my business, my wife’s business and collaborate with key people who contract with us. We manage monthly deliverables for retainer customers along with new customer projects in Basecamp. I love Basecamp because of writeboards and milestones but template to do’s are the powerful stuff.
Ta-da lists are a new edition to the arsenal for me. I love them. Instead of keeping simple next actions (not associated with projects) in Backpack or Basecmap, Ta-da lists allows me to quickly put them into list format. That’s not the key though. Any program can do that. A text file can do that. The real power is the iphone ready site which parallels the web version. Check off something from your list on your iphone it mirrors up on my Macbook in the cloud. What do I keep here?
- Shopping lists
- Weekly Review lists
- Daily Review lists
- Today’s tasks
- Daily supplements (you name it)
Highrise is my weakest area. That may be the case for many people. It’s a powerful platform but I think I stumble here because of the lack of sync tools in the cloud (which still boggles my mind). I do keep my contacts here and the new ability to add social media contact info has been a big addition. So much communication takes place in mobile environments or in email threads, that getting it into Highrise can be difficult. I would suggest you at least organize your contacts in Highrise and record key conversations or meeting notes. You need those kind of records and that kind of data stored somewhere. Once someone becomes a customer they usually migrate to Basecamp in my experience.
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Like anyone who gets busy; I thought I could drop the systems, work even harder and still manage to be productive. Wrong!
The last few months has given me another stern lesson in productivity. I’ve called this post back to the heart of GTD. I’ve been using David Allen’s GTD system for the last few weeks again and it feels so good to be productive again.
It feels great to be moving toward those 30,000 foot goals. It feels great to check off those next actions lists. It feels great to make project lists and to add things to my someday/maybe lists. It feels great to only consider doing tasks that can be done from certain places, certain situations or with the proper tools. It feels great to think what is the next action or is this actionable. Why do we quit doing the things that work?
So back to quick daily reviews, more thorough weekly reviews and the principles of GTD. Backpack is still my tool of choice along with the amazing free apps from Google.
I’d like to brainstorm and work with the new tasks feature in Gmail to see how that can change the GTD game. Any thoughts?
It’s time for a new direction. I’m posting this verbatim on my other sites as well.
For the last two years, I’ve planned and built, tweaked and refined, sold and invoiced, collected and accounted. I’ve marketed and branded and promoted. I’ve written and blogged and spoke and taught. I’ve coached and consulted. I’ve laughed, cried and learned a whole lot along the way.
I don’t regret starting Simplified Solutions, LLC two years ago. It has been the single best business learning experience I have ever had. I made so many mistakes. Too many to list here. I definitely failed forward at times. The best part was that this last two years was a training ground. A preparation if you will for the greatest business opportunity in my life thus far.
As my business has started to succeed the last several months, it’s been in large part due to a company called ithemes- and a open source platform called WordPress. I owe a lot to WordPress and to the team at ithemes. WordPress gave me, and more importantly small businesses, non profits and ministries; an affordable, effective, and attractive way to gain an online presence. Ithemes created some amazing themes powered by WordPress. That made the rest pretty easy for me.
A few months back my relationship with this amazing company grew a little closer. I always wondered how employable I was after being in sales most of my life and then running a small freelance business. Deep down though I knew I could follow a great leader and be a contributor on an amazing team. Well I’ve found both. The great leaders are Cory Miller and James Dalman. The great team is the team at ithemes and now WebDesign.com.
About a month ago, we started a serious dialogue about me joining a new venture that ithemes was launching. Time passed, many chats and conference calls lined out the details and I flew to Dallas this past weekend to meet the team and join this new venture – WebDesign.com
I am joining a thriving team at ithemes and have become their first sales consultant with WebDesign.com. To say I’m thrilled would be the understatement of the year.
We have a rockin team and we are ready to show the world an amazing model for web design and the customer service that comes with it.
You can follow all the details here at http://webdesign.com
You can also follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/webdesigncom
My new email address is email@example.com and the cell phone is still the same.
I have already spoken to most current customers and this transition will be very seamless. I’m just joining the company that I promoted and sold before accept now I have a team of programmers, project managers, coders, designers, graphic designers, tech interns, owners and partners behind me. Way cool!
Simplified Solutions, LLC will still be an accounting entry in Quickbooks. Some things will trickle in and trickle out but I’m putting my 100% focus on making WebDesign.com the best in the world.