Friday, September 29, 2006

plan your day

Plan your day.  I can't say it enough.  Get a planner, use outlook, it doesn't matter, but do something.  You will be 10x as productive if you schedule what you need to do before hand.  A planner is good if you think in the present and rarely look at past appointments.  I use Outlook to rule my life.
Outlook.  It has some faults, but generally it's an amazing program.  I used it in many ways. 
1) Email.  its good enough to compete with anything else I've used.  (Otherwise I'd use gmail).
2) Calendar.  Appointment scheduling is at or above par.  (Otherwise I'd use Kino).  I schedule everying meeting I have, and generally most activities I do during the day.  I use this to track what I lifted at the gym, where I ate lunch, how much time I slept.  Two reasons, I know what I did and when, and I can then track how much of my life I spend on each catagory of things.  I also schedule all my tasks in, more on this later.
3) Tasks.  I write down everything i need to do.  By the end of the day it is in Outlook.  This lets me track what i have to do as well as what i've already done.  Invaluable.  Things don't get lost and I get reminders on my phone, pda and screen telling me when urgent things need to be done.
4) Business Contact Manager.  This is an excellend CRM replacement for someone running a business by themselves. With Exchange you might even get a few more people out of it.  Once I hire more people I will probably switch over to NetSuite since multiple people can access it.
I also use two addins to Outlook.  One is essential for anyone with outlook and it's called Lookout.  It is a Google Search Bar like program for outlook. It keep an index of everything in your pst files and allows for immediate searching of any item.  Outlooks built in search takes often 10 minutes before finding what I look for.
The other is a program called TaskLine.  It takes your tasks with due dates and arranges them on your calendar.  (You can do this by hand if there are not too many tasks).  I set the amount of time I think a task will take, and when it needs to be completed, and sometimes the earliest it can begin (or what tasks it must follow).  The program schedules all these tasks onto my calendar.  I can just look at the calendar to know what I need to do that day.  If I miss something (I had an unexpected meeting), Taskline will reschedule the task before it's due date automatically. 
Outlook is a great tool for me.  But the important thing is that you plan your day somehow.  You could just write a list of what to do the next day.  I find that the more detailed your planning the more you can get done.  I do very well's what I'm supposed to be doing now.  I do very poorly's all the things I need to get done.

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