Home Forums Cool Tools & Tips The Personal Productivity Toolkit Forum Learning from Productivity Experts

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    • Phil Rouble
      Post count: 18

      I have been keenly interested in productivity for decades. (I think that deep down, I have a bit of a deference for laziness! Or perhaps it was part of a self-preservation instinct.) In my search to be more productive, I sought out and learned from various subject matter experts over the years.

      When I offered to curate a Personal Productivity Toolkit Forum on the OCFMA Discussion Board, I undertook a fascinating (at least for me?) deep dive into the subject. I thought it would be helpful to introduce some of the experts I found most helpful:

      1. David Allen wrote the “bible” on productivity, “Getting Things Done” (2001) and this is where my productivity journey started. His GTD methodology is used or adapted by millions. (A search for “GTD” turned up over 32 million hits!) The 5 steps of the GTD framework / workflow are:
        • Capture
        • Clarify
        • Organize
        • Reflect
        • Engage
      2. Paul Minors is a productivity blogger based in New Zealand that I have subscribed to for many years. I recommend signing up for his free “Productivity Blueprint” on his Resources page which provided the inspiration for this forum’s Personal Productivity Toolkit:
        • Email
        • Task Manager
        • Calendar
        • Document / File Management
        • Note Taking
      3. Tiago Forte “teaches and writes about new ways to thrive in our connected, digital world.” He is the author of “A Second Brain – a trusted place outside your head where you can collect and organize your most important ideas and insights, and use them to do your best work.” With a tilt towards creativity, his videos provide deep dives into productivity thinking, hands on demonstrations and many helpful interviews with other experts. Tiago uses a 4-step CODE productivity framework:
        • Capture
        • Organize
        • Distill
        • Express
      4. Ali Abdaal is one of the world’s most followed productivity experts. (His Youtube channel has +4.5M subscribers!) A doctor from the UK, he “explores evidence-based strategies and tools that can help us live healthier, happier and more productive lives.” He has a wealth of useful videos that shares his productivity journey in a relaxed, self-effacing manner. He is a big advocate of Tiago Forte’s Second Brain approach. His basic productivity system includes:
        • Calendar
        • Email management
        • To-Do List
        • File Management
        • Note Taking
      5. Thomas Frank – A popular Youtuber (~3M subscribers) and highly respected productivity geek. He “makes videos that help you be more productive – whether you’re in high school, college, university, or the real world. That includes study tips to help you learn faster and ace your exams, advice on destroying procrastination, reading and note-taking strategies, and more.” In my opinion, Thomas seems more of a “technician” and his videos tend to have a direct and practical approach.
      6. Jeff Su – A Youtuber with +500K subscribers. I like his no-nonsense, practical approach to productivity (“Get better at being lazy”) and self-deprecating humour in his relatively short but direct videos. He has distilled Dave Allen’s GTD workflow by emphasizing 2 key steps:
        • Capture – Write it down as soon as it enters your mind.
        • Organize – Not by where you found it, but where you will use it.

      Key Takeaways

      1. It’s a journey not a destination
      2. Productivity systems involve a combination of a workflow/framework + a choice of tools
      3. Basic productivity systems focus on mastery in 5 key areas: Email, Task Manager, Calendar, Document / File Management and Note Taking
      4. The basic productivity workflow starts with: Capture > Organize

      Share Your Thoughts

      Have you come across any productivity experts or gurus that you find particularly helpful or interesting? Share their names / any links.

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