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Summary:

We all have our own ways of organizing our tasks and other activities. But what’s a great productivity system without the tools to implement them? The good news is that many of the more popular productivity systems have inspired developers to create accompanying tools.

We all have our own ways of organizing our tasks and other activities. While the details of our methods may differ, many of us start with existing productivity systems that we learn from books, blogs, and other sources. But what’s a great system without tools to implement them? The good news is that many of the more popular productivity systems have inspired developers to create accompanying tools.

Getting Things Done (GTD)

GTD is a productivity system from David Allen’s book of the same name. It focuses on recording tasks in an “inbox” so that they don’t clutter your mind. GTD involves placing to-do items in an inbox and processing them accordingly. You’ll identify next actions, projects, and which items you’re waiting on.

Because of its popularity, especially among IT workers, there are many available tools based on GTD, including:

  • Thinking Rock. This desktop app has a free unsupported version and a more up-to-date paid version that includes support.
  • GTD Agenda. GTD Agenda is a paid web app (there’s also a limited free version). It also has mobile access and can integrate with Evernote. You can add tasks via Twitter and MS Outlook. You can also use GTD Agenda to implement Leo Babauta’s Zen to Done system.
  • Nozbe. Nozbe is a paid app that has email integration, and works with other apps like Gmail, Twitter and Evernote.

Seven Habits

Stephen Covey’s book, “The Seven Habits for Highly Effective People,” has an organizational method that focuses on personal development and relationships. It’s about making intrinsic changes so that we can develop the habits needed to become effective.

Week Plan is a web-based tool that helps you plan and review your week based on the principles behind Seven Habits.The app GTD Agenda I mentioned above can also be used as part of the Seven Habits system. There’s also a printable Seven Habits planner template (PDF) available online.

The Pomodoro Technique

Based on the book by Francesco Cirillo, the Pomodoro Technique is a time management methodology. Basically, you’ll assign each task a set number of “pomodoros” (25-minute uninterrupted working sessions followed by a five-minute break, named for the simple kitchen timer that inspired the technique) and work on them until they’re complete.

The official site contains the necessary worksheets such as the activity inventory and the to-do sheet, but there are also apps that can help you to implement it. One of them is Focus Booster, an Adobe AIR app (an online version can be found here). Right now all it has is a timer and session counter, so you can substitute it with almost any app that can serve as a stopwatch (such as TimeMe and E.gg Timer). But Focus Booster will soon have additional Pomodoro Technique-inspired features, like session notes, ratings, shareable sessions and an online community.

Do you use an established productivity system or did you create your own? What tools do you use to implement it?

Photo by stock.xchng user photodria

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By Celine Roque

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  1. Thanks. After trying many tools and systems over the years, the tool I found here that fits my needs perfectly is Producteev. Simple interface but has everything I need.

  2. dooster.net uses Covey’s urgent vs Important priority settings. This is a huge improvement on the usual 1 2 3 priorities that the other productivity apps have

  3. Borys Burnayev Monday, August 9, 2010

    Android fans might find ActionComplete GTD application useful. AC for Android 2-way syncs with AC for Web (the cloud-based counterpart)

  4. Outlook users should take a look at the Getting Things Done Outlook Addin from Netcentrics. It has really helped me implement all the GTD best practices.

  5. B. Clay Shannon Tuesday, August 10, 2010

    I simply keep a list of things to accomplish in a plain text file

  6. Dick Kusleika Tuesday, August 10, 2010

    I use a variant of GTD described here. I’ve been using GoodTodo for a couple of months and have been very happy with it. I finally found something that let’s me get rid of all the paper – I used to wipe out rain forests with my system.

  7. ToolBlog » 3 Selbstmanagementansätze und Werkzeuge dazu Wednesday, August 11, 2010

    [...] Roque hat sich drei der bekanntesten vorgenommen und entsprechende Werkzeuge dazu vorgestellt: 3 Productivity Systems and the Tools That Go With Them. Die drei dürften Ihnen bekannt [...]

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