Get a Routine

Create a ‘Daily Routine’ to start each day off right

The second tip takes the ‘top goals’ one step further. Besides the issues that change from day-to-day, there are tasks that you need to perform at the beginning of every day.  Capturing these tasks serves at least two purposes.

For one thing, it has you start your day off proactively rather than reactively.  As an example, your first routine task may be to review your calendar – take a look at any meetings you have for the day.  This way, you will not be surprised when you get a reminder in the middle of lunch for a meeting your forgot about that starts in fifteen minutes.

A routine also allows you do get all of those little tasks of the day out of the way right from the start.  For instance, you may put your phone on silent at the beginning of the workday to keep from disturbing others.  Or, maybe you put your phone on silent when home to keep from waking the whole house up when it rings at two in the morning.  Either way, you can add ‘check phone volume’ as a task you do first thing every morning.

To create your Daily Routine, perform the following:

  1. With MS To Do open, in the left-side pane, click on +New List.
  2. Rename the list to Daily Routine, and optionally add an icon.
  3. Use the new item list at the bottom to add the tasks you want to perform every day.
  4. Click on each item to open the edit pane on the right.
  5. Set a Repeat frequency.  For ‘daily’ items, you can choose either ‘Daily’ or ‘Weekdays’.

To use the list, perform the following each morning:

  1. Select all items.
  2. Right-click and choose Add to My Day.
  3. Check each item off as you work through your daily routine.

As you use this tip regularly, you will likely start finding a lot of items that will help get your day off to a strong start.  When that happens, simply add it to your daily routine.  Personally, I have noticed a big difference in my satisfaction with the day when I was able to start off with my routine.  Those days that I come in fighting fires right off the bat feel like they go on forever all the while making me feel like I am neglecting the ‘important but not urgent’ items.

Empieza “Mi día” con una rutina diaria…

El segundo consejo lleva los “objetivos principales” un paso más allá. Además de los temas que cambian día a día, hay tareas que debes realizar al principio de cada día. Registrar estas tareas sirve al menos para dos propósitos.

Para empezar, te hace empezar el día de forma proactiva en vez de reactiva. Por ejemplo, tu primera tarea rutinaria puede ser revisar tu calendario, echar un vistazo a las reuniones que tengas ese día. De esta manera, no te sorprenderá cuando te recuerden en medio del almuerzo una reunión que hayas olvidado que comienza en quince minutos.

Una rutina también permite hacer todas esas pequeñas tareas del día desde el principio. Por ejemplo, puedes poner el teléfono en silencio al principio de la jornada laboral para no molestar a los demás. O, tal vez pongas el teléfono en silencio cuando estés en casa para evitar despertar a toda la casa cuando suene a las dos de la mañana. De cualquier manera, puedes añadir “comprobar el volumen del teléfono” como una tarea que haces a primera hora de la mañana.

Para crear su rutina diaria, haga lo siguiente:

  1. Con MS To Do abierto, en el panel de la izquierda, haz clic en +Nueva Lista (+New List).
  2. Cambie el nombre de la lista a Rutina diaria, y opcionalmente añada un icono.
  3. Utilice la lista de elementos nuevos que se encuentra en la parte inferior para agregar las tareas que desea realizar todos los días.
  4. Haz clic en cada elemento para abrir el panel de edición de la derecha.
  5. Establece una frecuencia de repetición. Para los elementos “diarios”, puedes elegir entre “Diario” o “Días de la semana”.

Para usar la lista, haga lo siguiente cada mañana:

  1. Seleccionar todos los elementos (Ctrl+A).
  2. Haz clic con el botón derecho del ratón y elige Añadir a mi día.
  3. Marque cada elemento a medida que trabaja en su rutina diaria.

A medida que uses este consejo con regularidad, es probable que empieces a encontrar muchos elementos que te ayuden a empezar el día con fuerza. Cuando eso suceda, simplemente añádelo a tu rutina diaria. Personalmente, he notado una gran diferencia en mi satisfacción diaria cuando empecé con mi rutina de trabajo. Los días en que tengo que combatir numerosos problemas desde el principio parecen eternos, y me hacen sentir que estoy descuidando las cosas “importantes pero no urgentes”.

Capturar las cosas importantes desde el principio

Usa MS To Do “My Day” para capturar los objetivos más importantes de cada día.

La productividad puede comenzar antes de llegar a su lugar de trabajo. Mucha gente comienza a contemplar su día a los pocos minutos de que suene la alarma por la mañana. A menudo tenemos momentos de claridad antes de que nos envuelva la “niebla de la guerra”. No es raro que vea claramente lo que quiero lograr hoy antes de tomar mi primera taza de café, sólo para perder esa visión durante el camino al trabajo cada mañana.

El primer consejo es usar “My Day” de Microsoft para capturar tu objetivo principal al comienzo de cada día. Esto es básicamente lo que Stephen Covey se refiere como una herramienta de gestión del tiempo de ““>Microsoft To Do para capturar esas acciones. Aunque estas tareas son probablemente “tácticas” (o no podrías terminarlas al final del día), deberían ser de naturaleza estratégica – tal vez un pequeño paso hacia un objetivo mucho más grande y a largo plazo que quieres lograr.

Al usar To Do, tu lista está disponible en tu escritorio, en tu tableta e incluso en tu teléfono. Así, mientras prepara su taza de café matutina, puede usar su teléfono para capturar fácilmente esas cosas que definitivamente va a hacer una vez que llegue a su oficina. Porque una vez que llegas a tu escritorio, no hay forma de saber qué problemas te distraerán de ser realmente efectivo hoy.

Capture the important stuff right from the start

Use MS To Do “My Day” to capture top goals for every day.

Productivity can start before you arrive at your work space. Many people begin contemplating their day within a few minutes of the alarm going off in the morning. We often have moments of clarity before we get engulfed in the ‘fog of war.’ It is not uncommon for me to see clearly what it is I want to accomplish today before I get my first cup of coffee, only to lose that vision during the morning commute.

The first tip is to use Microsoft ‘My Day’ to capture your top goal at the start of every day.  This is basically what Stephen Covey refers to as a ‘first generation’ time management tool.  All we are doing at this stage is writing down one to three things you are going to accomplish by the end of the day, using the Microsoft To Do application to capture those actions.  Although these tasks are probably ‘tactical’ (or else you could not finish them by the end of the day), they should be strategic in nature – maybe a small step towards a much larger, long-term goal you want to accomplish.

By using To Do, your list is available to you at your desk, your tablet and even your phone. So, while making your morning cup of coffee, you can use your phone to easily capture those things you are definitely going to do once you get to your office.  Because once you actually arrive at your desk, there is no telling what fires are going to distract you from being truly effective today.

Sharpening the Saw

I vowed to use 2019 as an experiment in rebuilding my productivity process in order to address these weak points.

A year ago I found that although the method I was using with OneNote was not necessarily broken, it certainly was not as effective as I needed it to be.  Here is how the original recommendations stacked up with regular usage:

  • Keep It Stupidly Simple – As the amount of data captured increased, the notebook-minimalism approach just did not work.
  • Quick Notes as the Inbox – This worked well, with Quick Notes becoming the clearing house for nearly everything.
  • Set Up Send To – So, if Quick Notes is still a good idea, we still need to set up the Send To feature.
  • Use Meeting Notes – Still a good idea.
  • Tag Actions – Actions still need to be tagged, but custom flags (even a few) became a maintenance burden.
  • Date Actions – To take advantage of sorts, we had to change our system settings for dates.  This had some impact on other applications, such as Excel.
  • Search People, Place and Things – Still a good idea, especially if compared to a plethora of custom tags.
  • Keep OneNote on OneDrive – Mostly yes, but in itself it is not adequate for sharing and collaboration.
  • Daily Routines – Still a key part of staying productive.
  • Work Journal – This turns out to be a personal tool that does not necessarily apply to everyone.

So, I vowed to use 2019 as an experiment in rebuilding my productivity process in order to address these weak points.  Now, the list looks more like:

In the coming weeks I will be posting more about each of these.

Afilando la sierra

I vowed to use 2019 as an experiment in rebuilding my productivity process in order to address these weak points.

Hace un año descubrí que aunque el método que estaba usando con OneNote estaba funcionando bien , ciertamente no era tan efectivo como yo necesitaba que lo fuera. Así fue como las recomendaciones dadas previamente se acumularon con el uso regular:

  • Mantenlo tontamente simple – A medida que la cantidad de datos capturados aumentaba, el enfoque de minimalismo del cuaderno simplemente no funcionaba.
  • Quick Notes como bandeja de entrada – Esto funcionó bien, con Quick Notes convirtiéndose en el sistema de procesamiento para casi todo.
  • Configurar “Send to ” – Así que, si Quick Notes sigue siendo una buena idea, todavía tenemos que configurar la función “Send to”.
  • Usar Notas de la Reunión – Sigue siendo una buena idea.
  • Etiquetar acciones – Las acciones todavía necesitan ser etiquetadas, pero las banderas personalizadas (incluso algunas) se convirtieron en una carga de mantenimiento.
  • Acciones de fecha – Para aprovechar las clases, tuvimos que cambiar la configuración del sistema para las fechas. Esto tuvo algún impacto en otras aplicaciones, como Excel.
  • Buscar personas, lugares y cosas – Sigue siendo una buena idea, especialmente si se compara con una plétora de etiquetas personalizadas.
  • Mantener OneNote en OneDrive – En su mayor parte sí, pero en sí mismo no es adecuado para compartir y colaborar.
  • Rutinas diarias – Sigue siendo una parte clave para mantenerse productivo.
  • Diario de trabajo – Resulta ser una herramienta personal que no necesariamente se aplica a todo el mundo.

Por lo tanto, me comprometí en el año 2019 a experimentar para reconstruir mi proceso de productividad con el fin de abordar estos puntos débiles. Ahora, la lista parece más bien la siguiente:

En las próximas semanas publicaré más sobre cada uno de estos puntos.

Tag Search in ONWin10

I use ON16 on a day-to-day basis, but keep checking back on the ONW10 version.  When I went in today, I found the tag search was available.  However, I found it still falls short.

The search appears to based on the label for the tag.  For example, if you use the out-of-the-box tag “Critical” (!), you have to enter “critical” in the search box.  So, you can search for custom tags but you do it by the tag label, not from a drop down of available tags.

The implication here is that ONW10 does not differentiate between a box that is checked versus non-checked.

Dated Checklists

In a previous post, we looked at how adding dates to tags allows viewing To Do lists sorted by when the action should be done.  One way to take advantage of this is by using a preparation checklist.

In my case, I have certain tasks that I perform in preparation for delivering a classroom session.  In particular:

  • 25 days prior to the class: Send a quote for the class, reconfirming the class as originally scheduled.
  • 3 weeks prior to class: Review any special requirements for the class, such as setting up scenarios in the training sandbox.
  • 2 weeks prior to the class: Confirm travel plans
  • 1 week prior to the class: Print/ship participant materials
  • 2 days prior to class: Dry run and review content
  • Day before class: Stage my instructor materials

In order to capture these in my daily plans, I use an Excel spreadsheet to calculate the dates, counting back from the class delivery date.

Excel Sheet with date calcs

In this case, B1 contains the class name, with the scheduled date in B2.  Cells B5:B13 contain the lead times for each of the preparation tasks in column A. Cells D5:D10 rolls back weekend days to the previous Friday. Finally, E5:E10 simply combines columns C and A.

Once the dates are calculated, E6 becomes the title of the OneNote page.  Cells E5:E10 are copied and pasted into the body of the page. I then add checkbox tags to each item.

Opening the Tags Summary pane, the checkbox items are listed and sorted by date, with the first task in the sequence at the top of the list.  As more classes are added, the Tags Summary builds to include all preparation items.

This process minimizes the chance of getting so caught up in preparing for a class that the upcoming classes are neglected.

Disknowledge

I just read an blog post by Kate Starbird, regarding the Alternative Media Ecosystem.  It makes me think of parallels with the challenges of Knowledge Management.  Dr Starbird’s research looks specifically at crisis events and the networks used to distribute information regarding the events.

Downplaying the nefarious players in the disinformation world, I do see a couple of parallels.  First, the purpose of the entire news industry is the distribution of information, as is the purpose of knowledge management systems.

Second, both systems have old school elements.  For news media, it is the so-called mainstream media outlets. For corporate organizations, this is typically the training department.  As well, both have alternative outlets for information.  News media has blogs and e-zines, that operate with minimal costs.  Corporate organizations have tribal knowledge – information held by those with practical experience.

Right now, we are in an environment where the mainstream and alternative outlets are in many cases at odds with each other. This seems to be a cautionary tale to guard against the formal training organizations not acting as the Goliath to David’s informal networks.  Neither wants to be accused of spreading disknowledge.

If it Ain’t Broke, Break it!

It’s been a while since we restructured our OneNote to fit the ‘SecretWeapon’ methodology (https://thesecretweapon.org/).  Overall, this has been a qualified success.

As we come to the close of the year, and the start of a new one, it is time to take inventory of the past, and gaze into the future.  Looking backwards, we started to see the impact the very large notebooks is having.  In some cases, it has resulted in corruption of a notebook (very bad).  Generally, though, where we see the practical impact is on mobile.  It appears that anytime that OneNote does a full stop on a mobile device, it has to perform a reload of data.  When we are out and about, and internet speeds can be choked, this can be quite a nuisance.  In particular, it truly interferes with the “quick note” concept – that is, get things out of our head quickly and get back to what we were doing.

Looking forward, Microsoft definitely talks to collaboration being the key to the future.  As such, our notes should be available to anyone who would benefit from them. For instance, our notes on a specific project should be shared with the whole project team.  However, if we are using the single notebook approach then we cannot share just a subset of our notes.

So, these two perspectives – large notebooks are slow notebooks, and visible information is good information – require some deep thought on how to properly organize the OneNote environment.  The biggest drawback is simultaneously the biggest strength of the ‘big notebook’ strategy: we don’t have to remember where we put something because Search is smarter than we will ever be.  If we break up our big notebook and put the pieces in Team sites scattered across the ether, we have to tell Search all of the places our something could be.  Further, we must load all of those notebooks  into OneNote before we can search them.  Ooof.

In that spirit, we are going to use 2019 as another experiment – an experiment where we break and then try to renew the Keep It Stupidly Simple (KISS) rule. We will break out notebooks and put them up for display.  While doing this, we will work on KISS strategies on how to find things when we need them.