If you want to use an excellent presentation tool, that is more visual than most other apps including Keynote, try out Haiku Deck for the iPad, now available online too! Easy integration with picture search (Creative Commons), it includes copyright information automatically and has several export options. Just blows your mind!
Your email programme should not be your to-do list. It is simply an inbox for communications & potential to-dos ……
"Your work is in your calendar – not your inbox. Schedule your days as if every obligation is a it-takes-months-to-get-reservations-at-this-place appointment. It is. Nature abhors a vacuum. Especially when that vacuum is your iCal. If you don’t block off time to do your work – it will be quickly eaten up by pointless meetings, inane conversations, and trolling Facebook. Mapping your day on your calendar – especially a week or two in advance will give you greater confidence, more control over interruptions, and a stronger sense of what is important."
Excellent point by Sven Fechner at SimplicityBliss on why our planning always overestimates our time and energy capacity:
"There seems to be no silver bullet or light bulb moment that fixes the problem, instead you can apply some tactics to get along with it better:
- Use a “Next Action” list instead of a daily todo list and work off it as much as you can while dealing with all the ad-hoc stuff showing up – this list represent commitments you need to get done, there is no obligation to complete all or any of them today
- If a daily todo list is important to you – and this is about tasks you want to do today, not those that are genuinely due today – keep it down to 2-3 entries
- If you have the habit of overloading your daily todo list just plan as usual and then shave off 2/3 from the list
- Just admit and accept that there is not only pre-defined work, but also meetings, conference calls and emails that will alter the day’s schedule – only the magnitude of alteration is the variable
Eventually it is all down to setting expectations with yourself. If you set out to complete 30 tasks at the start of the day and end up with just 7 ticked close of business, you are naturally disappointed. When your initial target was 3 pieces of pre-defined work and you ended up doing 5 because less ad-hoc work came in, your after work beer tastes just twice as good.”
Sounds extremely interesting … GTD’s contexts haven’t been working for me for a while, so this approach is definitely worth a look!
"GTD is really about the day-to-day grind and crunching of tasks and inbox items. Agile Results is about setting clear outcomes that you want and then systematically working towards them.
If you are a systems thinker (or just enjoy systems that work), Agile Results is fantastic – you can set up your ideal system or vision, then break it into smaller outcomes at different discrete timeframes, and then into tasks beneath that. This helps you to really focus in on what is important, rather than handling the crisis-of-the-day.”
The first step is to make a conscious decision to reclaim thinking time for yourself. Make it a priority. No one is going to give you this time, you have to determine to take it back.
Here are some approaches to try out:
Keep a journal. Schedule time every day for writing down your thoughts.
Schedule time for reading thought-provoking material. Jot down the ideas that arise as you read.
Frame the question you wish to contemplate. Take the question with you on a walk, or to the gym, and let it percolate in the back of your mind.
Assign yourself a thinking project. It might be thinking about what are your top priorities and how you are honoring these? Or, what can you do to become a better delegator? Or, what can my I do to provide outstanding value to my client? Schedule regular meetings with yourself for this project and honour these commitments. Take notes and move your ideas into action.
Collaborate with thinking partners. Engage in conversations about challenges you are facing or opportunities that are opening up. This can be really effective for those of you who like to think out loud.