Last week was a frustrating week. I really got a lot of work done but have little to show for it. Two of the secrets to being a successful consultant are to show results frequently and to communicate, communicate, communicate. I feel that I failed in both regards heavily this past week. I plan to use today to get a couple of boat anchors off my desk and start fresh tomorrow. Next week I am going to knock some socks off!
Whenever I have a rough week, I like to turn back to Stephen R Covey’s timemangement tools and get a little reflective. From a card I keep in my wallet:
The Pitfalls of Poor Planning
- Allowing "to-dos" to rule your day instead of prioritizing.
- Setting an unrealistic number of things to do each day.
- Failing to have your planning system within reach at all times.
- Forgetting to allow time between scheduled appointments.
- Failing to allow at least 1 ½ hours per day for the unexpected.
- Not having an effective system for capturing and retrieving information.
- Failing to have a single personal management system.
- Retaining unnecessary information.
- Failing to plan for the "big rocks" weekly and for the small bits daily.
- Failing to allow time for advanced planning.
©2000 Franklin Covey Co.
Some wondeful tools have evolved on the Internet for productivity. David Allen has revolutionized some people’s lives with Getting Things Done (GTD). Timothy Ferriss has done similarly with The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich. Sites like 43Folders, and Freelance Switch give regular productivity advise.
My favorite productivity site is Jott! Click the image below to see a sample of how I use Jott to organize myself. To make a Jott, I simply call their phone number (from speed dial), state who I want to receive the Jott. For example, I could say myself or Twitter or Cathy. Jott records my words. When I am done it asks if I want to set a reminder. If I say yes I can then give it a date (today, tomorrow, July 4, Wednesday, …) and a time. The reminder will come to my phone as a text message (sms) and go to my email. The words I spoke will be translated from speech to text with amazing accuracy! Incase something gets mangled, an mp3 recording of my voice will be attached to the email. Naturally I can also view and listen to my reminders through the Jott.com interface.
I can also preface the message with a keyword. For instance, if I start with "grocery," Jott will automatically file my reminder under my grocery list which I can then access while at the market. If I preface my Jott with "work," it automatically gets filed under my work list and so forth.
Jott has changed dramatically since I first began using it in September of last year. At one point, the interface was so painful to use that I stayed away from the website. I am thrilled with the changes Jott has made. The most recent feature is the addition of tying into services like Twitter. You could always send a Jott to another Jotter but now you have the ability to use Jott’s power speech to text engine to post messages from your voice directly to Twitter, Yahoo Groups, Jaiku, Zillow, Thirty Boxes, Blogger, Live Journal, TypePad, WordPress (and Tumblr, Remember the Milk, Sandy, Xpenser, Gumiyo, Trapster, Mosio, Vitalist, Google Calendar, Recommendr, Toodledo, Nozbe, Mentat, Keep Up, Smartsheet, Heap, Fortythree Actions, kwiry, and even make custom connections.
You need Jott!
Update: Jott works by a combination of human and machine translation.