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"Murphy was an optimist!"

Rough Week Behind Redux to Follow April 12, 2008 11:47 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life
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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

  1. Allowing "to-dos" to rule your day instead of prioritizing.
  2. Setting an unrealistic number of things to do each day.
  3. Failing to have your planning system within reach at all times.
  4. Forgetting to allow time between scheduled appointments.
  5. Failing to allow at least 1 ½ hours per day for the unexpected.
  6. Not having an effective system for capturing and retrieving information.
  7. Failing to have a single personal management system.
  8. Retaining unnecessary information.
  9. Failing to plan for the "big rocks" weekly and for the small bits daily.
  10. 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.

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1. Missybw - April 12, 2008

Got it, and utterz, thanks to you. My husband is amazed at Jott and wants it too.

2. Victor Agreda Jr - April 13, 2008

I dig what Jott does, but I’m so phone-phobic I fear I’d rarely use it (I do see there’s now a Blackberry client, which intrigues me). Instead, I’ve been using RememberTheMilk.com, which will do a lot of the same but uses ajax-powered text entry instead of voice-to-text. I like that I can send IM, sms or email reminders as well.

Great reminder about the pitfalls! I gotta close some loops this week myself.

3. Reality Me » Jott’s speech to text uses people! - April 13, 2008

[…] night, Lissa Kay asks if I know how Jott works. I used to work at The Learning Company in its foreign language division which was bleeding edge […]

4. Doug McCaughan - April 13, 2008

Jott does hook into http://RememberTheMilk.com so if you are driving down the street and don’t want to fumble with T9, you can just hit speed dial and speak “Remember the milk, bring home bacon, milk, and eggs.” The keywords used to make it go to Remember The Milk could be anything you want, “Mars Landing, bring home bacon, milk, and eggs.”

I have emailed Jott Tech Support to see if they already support or will be supporting IM, SMS and email. There is a Jott API so perhaps they are waiting for an eager developer to fill that void.

5. DanGTD - April 22, 2008


For implementing GTD you might try out my new application for time management and productivity,


You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, schedules and a calendar.

Hope you like it.