I wrote these way back in the day, recently published it....it works for me, YMMV


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If you understand that all productivity management systems (“to do” apps) allow for a common set up, the first step is to decide WHAT you want to record.

In other words, when it comes to your productivity management system, you have two interest:

Adding information
Retrieving information
The Exercise
Now, while it’s important to understand how you enter your information, it’s more important to realize WHAT you are entering an why.

Whether you are a GTD expert or someone who is attempting to devise a new system, or anyone looking to better control his or her scene. try this little reality check:

For 10 days, track the business at hand.
Start with what you know and create a “heading” for it in whatever notes application you like. Examples:
Attend meeting
Answer email
Schedule meeting
Call clients
Write code
Take kids to soccer
Send email to shirly
The idea here is to capture what it is you REALLY do.Simply place a check mark or any symbol to signify you “did that” when you do it.Example:
You go to a meeting, check “Attend meeting”
You then call clients “check “Call clients”
You got to another meeting, check “Attend meeting”
Of course anything you do that is not listed, simply add it.
Do this for a minimum of 10 days (I did this for 14 days, myself).
After the 10 days, look at the list and you’ll notice that some actions only have a few check marks. For those, see if they can fit in to a bucket that is similar. Example:

Take kids to soccer has check mark
Grocery shop has three check marks
Pick up pizza has one check mark
Bucket those in to one “Run errand“.Or if you have

Send email to Shirly has 2 check marks
Send email to Ralph has four checki marks
Send email John has 2 check marks
Bucket those in to “Send emails”

In other words all ‘catgory’ should have similar check marks. Of course, the fact you logged the additional information “soccer, Shirly, pizza” etc will not go to waste, it’s simply used as a different property.

You Did That
So after following this exercise guess what you now know?

How You Spend your Day
Doing What Activity
With Whom
Concerning What Subject
My List
Okay, let’s get down to business:

Here is the list I ended up with. I turned them in to action verbs. So “Called Raplh” turned in to “Calls to Make”:

I broke this in to the HIGHEST LEVEL. I did not want to keep it as simple as “Work/Personal” but instead focused on the AREAS.

Home Improvement
Configured in my App As:

So everything I do can be matrix’d back in one of these areas. In the system I currently use IQTell, I use these are ‘Areas’.

Next is the actual activity. So think if you are looking at a report. I clicked “GTD”. I’d want to next know what do I need to DO. Thus understand that each one of these items goes in to an ‘Area’ listed above. These are the activities I did

Calls to Make
Emails to Review
Emails to Send
Discussion Topics
Items to Get
Meetings to Schedule
Meeting to Prepare For
Questions to Ask
In IQTell, these are configured as ‘Contexts”

So when reviewing your list, look for people. Most likely you’ll see that you did many things FOR different people, and you needed many things FROM different people. Now, because everything has to be covered, “Me” “None”, and X-Group”. Where X might be “My team” or :”Family”, or “Carlton”. Again, this is ONLY if during the 10 days you did some some, were asked to do, or any sort of activity with those groups. Data never lies.

In IQTell, these are “Tags”.

Concerning WHAT
Because my process is based on real life examples, I’ve found this is important. Example, every time I have an idea I want to discuss or question I want to ask, I log what it’s about.. So let’s say that I want to inform my team about l a re-org.and I want to ask Carlton about taking a new position

When I see Carlton “I say I have something for you. It’s a question. I think. Wait let me think what was it I wanted to ask you ….?”

We’ve all bee guilty, eh? But guilty of being lazy. Now I just click a button titled Carlton (since it is a tag). There are two records. :

Re-Org /Team meeting topics
New position /Discussion topics
Seeing as I’m not at my team meeting. Well no more blaming senikity with this type of technology

You know what? I just had a minor epiphany. I think the next “wave” in IOS apps is going to be mainly driven by customer demands. Many whom, by no fault of there own are unable to see the trees through the forest. The IOS is the greatest SOA platform in existence. The vast majority of users have a base set of unformalized domains already defined. I have piloted a daily, formal, structure of which I think might give you a new perspective completely.

It’s so 1997 and better you know that sort of innovation was being put down.