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During the past week’s individual coaching sessions with participants on the Productivity Mastery Programme I again realised how important it is to design your self management system to suit your way of thinking and doing.

This is really a case of “do what suits you best”.

I often hear people who are using a “traditional” paper based diary say “I guess I should be using Outlook/Gmail/my smartphone…”  And then there is a kind of “I am guilty” tone in their voice.

I don’t think I agree – do you?

While there are definite advantages using an electronic system (e.g. reschedule appointments, organise actions so that similar actions are grouped together, quickly looking up someone’s contact information), it doesn’t mean that everyone in the world SHOULD be using it.

One client uses a single A4 page on which she captures things to be done, her shopping list, phone calls to make, things to discuss with her business partner…

She finds using her “To Do” list very easy and reviewing it is quick and easy too.

Other people just love their Outlook and having all their synchronised Outlook info in their pocket on their smart phone.

Day specific actions go to the Calendar while other action reminders are managed in Tasks and organised using Categories.

The point is that it does not matter which tool you use to manage your life, it’s the thinking and principles that go into your system that matter.

There are certain principles of working more productively.  These principles work just like gravity or principles of flight: It works whether you believe it or not, it works for everyone, it works everywhere, it will work forever.

Here are a few:

  1. You do have all the time you will ever have to do whatever you want to do.
  2. You can do anything but not everything.
  3. Get things out of your head and into your system.
  4. Thinking “ PAUSE” can save you time.
  5. Organise similar action reminders together.
  6. Keep open space (time) in your calendar.
  7. Take daily and weekly productivity pit stop reviews.
  8. Batch process fresh input (e.g. email).

I invite you to review whatever system you are using and list the things that it does extremely well for you and also things that are not working well for you and you would like to have different.  Then give me call on 082 737 3676 or preferably email me at gerrit@789.co.za and we can have a chat and see if and how I can assist.

Have fun!

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