Does it seem like there's a lot of activity in your office, but the important stuff doesn't get done? When your coworker is three weeks late giving you that report, do you wonder, "What have they been doing?"

This is a situation I've seen at many of the companies I've consulted for: a lot of stuff gets moved around, emailed, minuted, and checked off, but there's very little accomplished.

To understand this, let me tell you a story:

Pretend I'm a manager, and I walk into my office full of bright, eager employees and announce we're going to build a bridge. They all set off right away to put in 10-hour days with smiles on their faces, merrily getting ready to make the best bridge they can build.

Can you think of a more productive, ideal workplace? Everyone's happy and working hard.

There's just one problem: no one knows what kind of bridge we're building. One person's working on a little stone arch, and another's designing the next Golden Gate. We all have different ideas of how wide and long and high to make it, using what materials, and even whether to make an arch or suspension bridge or something else.

There's a crucial question that hasn't been answered: what are we trying to accomplish?

I've found that a lot of problems are solved by asking this simple question. Having a shared, clearly-defined idea of where to head (not to mention how to get there) prevents a lot of wasted time and effort, and also creates a shared sense of purpose and camaraderie.

This is for you personally as well. If you don't have a clear idea of what you're aiming for, you'll have a hard time trying to hit it.

So, do you and your team know what you're doing?


P.S. eProductivity was designed to nurture this kind of thinking. For example, when you create a new Project, eProductivity asks you, "What's the successful outcome? Describe as if already done; what would that look like?" This is meant to encourage you to think in terms of what will be true once you've done this thing. This approach helps keep you focused; plus, it automatically gets your brain thinking about how to achieve that outcome.

Multitasking NOP.jpg

Multitasking is not working smarter -- just the opposite, in fact.  This a quick, colorful infographic from Visual.ly and Fuze shows how multitasking actually slows you down and even decreases your IQ!

Click here to view.

Here are a few of my favorite shortcuts -- these will let you instantly create new Calendar entries and eProductivity Projects and Actions from any window or tab in Notes.

Here's how to do it:
For To-Do's: press the Alt key, then type C M T
For Calendar: press the Alt key, then type C M C
For Email, hold Ctrl and press M

Edit your new document, then save and close (or send). It's that easy. Your Mail file doesn't even have to be open.

To discover even more Notes keyboard shortcuts, see here: Ramp up your workspeed with the most powerful key on your keyboard

Got any other favorite shortcuts? Feel free to share!

**Edit**

Here's something else I just discovered! There are shortcuts to open your Mail, Calendar, and Contacts from anywhere in Notes!
To open Mail: hold Ctrl and press 1
Calendar: Ctrl+2
Contacts: Ctrl+3

How much is saving your time worth?

Friday, January 9th, 2015
Time is the one thing you can't beg, borrow, or buy. That's why I so appreciate JT's story -- he recognizes time as "the most valuable resource of all" and credits eProductivity with saving it.

In his own words, here's how he started getting things done in IBM Lotus Notes with eProductivity:

My company uses IBM Lotus Notes for email and calendaring. Lotus Notes v9 has evolved a lot compared to prior versions of Lotus Notes, however, it still provides what I would say are rudimentary To-Do list management and bare bones email processing. The volume of email hitting my inbox made it impossible to stay on top of my incoming email, which meant I was missing important To-Do's or actions that I needed to take on some emails because they were lost in the volume of emails where I was only cc'd and didn't need to take any specific action. I found myself constantly re-reading emails to remember what they were for, whether or not I had already actioned them or not. All-in-all, I was not very productive managing my incoming email.

The volume of email hitting my inbox made it impossible to stay on top...Now, my email inbox is emptied by the end of each day.

I knew I had to do something different to keep up with the ever growing number of emails passing through my inbox. I knew there had to be a better way and that surely someone had written software to address these pain points. This quest led me to find the excellent book "Getting Things Done" by David Allen. The GTD system made a lot of sense to me, but I struggled how to implement these GTD concepts using Lotus Notes.

After googling around a bit, I found the eProductivity for IBM Notes Mail product, which has forever changed how I manage my email. Today, my email inbox is emptied by the end of each day by utilizing the GTD system in eProductivity. I drag emails to the left to create actions for future To-Do's and drag items to the right that I want to keep for future reference. Finally, I delete any email which I don't need to perform any action and do not need to keep for future reference. Using the Today view, I get an overview of my meetings scheduled for the day and/or any actions that I have due that day.

One of the best features of eProductivity IMHO, is the "Waiting for" action. I send a lot of emails where I need someone else to respond or take some action on my behalf. Before eProductivity, I relied on my memory to remember what I had asked for and whether or not I had received a response within the expected time frame. With eProductivity, I click one button that says "Waiting for" when I send the email and a future action is automatically created as a reminder that I'm waiting for something to be responded to.

Getting all of these actions and To-Do's out of my head and into the eProductivity system has allowed me to manage my email my more productively. I hope one day that my company adopts eProductivity company wide, but until then, I'm happy to pay out of pocket for eProductivity because it saves me the most valuable resource of all, my time!

JT

Thanks for sharing your story, JT!

If you'd like to share how eProductivity has helped you, select "Send feedback" from the eProductivity menu:



Happy New Year!

-Nathan



You start the new year with energy, verve, and a resolve to Get Things Done! But how do you make sure those things keep moving forward week after week?

Here's the most critical habit to make sure you don't drop the ball: review your commitments regularly. Ideally, this would be done every week.

There are certain steps you can follow for a successful Weekly Review. These will help you empty all your sources of input, review your existing material to make sure it's current, and get inspiration from your goals and ideas.

David Allen's ideal steps for a successful Weekly Review are listed below:

David Allen's Weekly Review steps, as built into the Weekly Review Coach in eProductivity, the premier solution for getting things done in IBM Lotus Notes

These will work with any system you're using (even pen and paper), but I've also specially built them into eProductivity's Weekly Review Coach.

A few definitions

If you haven't been introduced to the Getting Things Done method, a few quick definitions may be in order:

Capture Tools: Any place where stuff collects, such as your inbox, email, and voicemail.

Tickler: Files for stuff you want to be reminded of at a later date. For example, you could have a tickler item labeled "Decide whether to attend the 2016 Olympics," with a due date of four months before the event.

Waiting-for: Just what it sounds like -- anything that you're waiting for from someone else.

Someday/Maybe: A list of things you want to do and could do, but can't, shouldn't, or won't do now.

Why the Weekly Review is so powerful

Following the checklist above will help you

  • Empty all the stuff that you've collected
  • Decide what you need to do about all that stuff (if anything)
  • Review everything in your world at least briefly so nothing falls through the cracks
  • Get inspired by your creative ideas

Personally, my favorite part of the Weekly Review is going through stuff I haven't thought about in a while, and it hits me -- "I could do this fun, exciting, creative thing!" I can't always do that thing right away -- often, it has to go on my someday/maybe list -- but it's energizing just to have those ideas!

David Allen on the Weekly Review Coach



To use the Weekly Review Coach

If you're using eProductivity, open the eProductivity menu and select "Weekly Review Coach" to get started!

If you're not using eProductivity (and you have Lotus Notes) click here to learn more and start a 21-day trial.

More info

Read more about Someday/Maybe

See here for a good two-sentence definition of Waiting-for

Read more about the Tickler File

Read more about the Weekly Review Coach

Here's to your success!