In the spirit of Alex’s post I thought that I would take a moment to explain the way I organize and how I process the activities of life. I am not a great multi-tacker like Alex: for me its all about completion, I am a finisher. In my mind everything is compartmentalized. I have to finish A before I can work on B etc. If I start A then work a little on B and start thinking about C I get overwhelmed and nothing seems to get done.
Like Alex, I have to have music playing while I work and sometimes I will stop the radio and put on a familiar movie or tv show and have that playing in the background. It doesn’t impede my productivity; it really is soothing and is just noise in my mind as I work. When my office is totally quiet I find that I start to try multi-tasking and start digging myself a productivity hole. Its weird I know but its simply something I’ve learned about myself over the years.
For my organization I use events more than I use tasks. For me getting the “to do’s” done is easy and I am a person of routine so the tasks aren’t too hard for me to keep in my head. What I use the events for is to mark annual items, things that recur every year, anniversaries, car registrations, Alex’s birthday, vacations, milestones, etc. If you looked at my Informant it would look kinda bare but the reminders for my events are what drives my schedule and let me know where I’m at.
At work as the manager of support for Informant my email is a secondary concern over the support case inbox in our support system. My team and I focus on keeping a smooth rhythm to incoming cases: making sure cases don’t sit very long as new support cases come in and replying to existing cases. Our focus is to keep the “standing” case count as low as possible. Once the cases are responded to, we process incoming email, and then run reporting, work on FAQ’s, and then other projects. When these things are done a lot of the support cases will have been replied to by customers and new cases will have come in and we will process those. Cases that require testing or discussion with engineers are then handled and then new or responded cases will have come in and we process them.
That happens all during the work day and it is how normal days are organized. On the weekends if there is an event scheduled it shows up and reminds me either late Friday or early Saturday depending on how I set it up.
My organization needs are pretty simple compared to Alex but my routine takes the place of needing to use tasks for my daily management but the event support completes the organization circle for me.
I really appreciate you for sharing your set up and giving us a glimpse of your work flow. I too use familiar music to help me focus when i am working on projects at work, but I do make extensive use of the task feature in Pocket Informant. If you were to see my Pocket Informant, the events would look moderately slim. The only thing that goes into the events are the “must be present” events and a few reminders. Everything else are labeled as tasks (with reminders) and the major project items have a URL link in the task. For me Pocket Informant is absolutely essential. I’ve tried other programs that whereas some are even twice the price, but I cannot get away from my Pocket Informant!!