As you may have noticed from the trickle of posts the past few weeks, my work life has me very busy right now. In the over ten years I have been running my computer consulting business, this has been the busiest summer ever. I’m certainly not going to complain because, when one works for themselves, busy is a good thing. It’s just very unusual because summer is usually my slowest time so I find myself wholly unprepared for it.
That said, when I find myself overwhelmed, I find that the most beneficial thing I can do to stay on top of things is to reduce my normal task system to one that has low barrier to action, less items, and tremendous focus. It also has to be portable without adding to my existing daily arsenal of items. Lately, three iPhone applications have been fitting that bill and helping me to achieve modest goals.
One Thing Today — This is the recently released iPhone version of a daily goal manager, the desktop version of which I have featured here before. Here, for each day, I put the one goal or project that has my attention. This is for more of a high level thing like “Writing” or “Capture and Clear”. Just something to boot my brain into the proper mode for the day ahead. It’s simple but I find it very effective.
Now Do This (iTunes Link) — This is where I put the three to five things I wish to accomplish for the day. Once listed, the app will display them in large type on the screen in the order listed one task at a time. Swipe a checkmark on the screen to mark the task complete or a circle to send it to the bottom of the list. This really helps me to stay on task and I find it best to just launch this app and keep it launched so I see what I should be doing next whenever I unlock the phone.
Tenplustwo — This is a simple timer built around the (10+2)*5 procrastination hack invented my Merlin Mann. The idea is to alternate 10 minutes of work with 2 minutes of play thus gaming yourself into getting 50 minutes of work done. When I need a little help getting through that list, this is how I do it.