I enjoy efficiency when it comes to my work. Given that work is inevitable for the next 30 or so years, I’m always on the lookout for methods and tools and tricks that can at least help me make good use of my work time so I can maximize my personal time. I can attest to the benefits of owning a scanner, using Evernote, having a couple of really useful automated Recipes created with IFTTT, and integrating my iPad into my work routine as a second monitor (and as an effective Dropbox access point) thus freeing up my laptop for “just writing.”
Many of my friends and acquaintances frequently ask me to demonstrate techniques on my laptop or tablet or phone that make my life just a little easier. I’ll try out any trick once, just to see if it helps or hinders. If it helps, I try to find a way to blend it into my existing work routine. Not everything makes the cut (especially apps. Oh, man… apps get tried and kicked to the curb on a weekly basis, I believe) but those that do I’m always happy to share and help promote.
Take 100DS. It stands for The 100 Day System, and it’s created by Steven Feeney, an ex-military intelligence analyst and now currently a consultant for project and risk management.
Steven has a new RocketHub fundraising project to push 100DS to the next level — Steven tells me the “new version is almost a complete rewrite, hugely expanded and includes interviews with users of the principles.”
In a nutshell, Steven’s guide walks you through using a standard notebook (like a Moleskine) as a method for increasing productivity, reducing forgetfulness, and just plain tracking your life, work, and overall thought process. The first time I read through the system and the explanations for how each two-page spread works, I was blown away. Some of the methodology is already familiar to me and implemented in my own workflow, but there were some new ideas that really got me thinking. So…
I’ve been using it now for almost two weeks. Most people who know me know that I’m highly digital: I scan everything, use Evernote, automate tasks on my Mac, etc… I’m highly resistant to paper! But Steven is definitely on to something here. The tangible nature of putting ink to paper, of always having a place to write down my ideas, my notes, my To Dos, even my MUST DOs… it’s so much easier than accessing my phone or tablet or PC.
Steven’s book will walk you through organizing each two-page spread in the notebook — you’ll use a straight-edge and a pen to create defined areas that are specific to certain tasks. What’s great is that you’re not locked in… take what you find useful and ignore the stuff you don’t. For example, Steven breaks the typical To Do list into multiple boxes that decrease in urgency. I don’t need that many levels for my daily activities, so I’ve reduced them. For someone with dozens and dozens of daily activities, I could see the value in ranking them and writing them in so you have a visual of the urgency of each item, but that doesn’t work for me. (By the way, his hashtag/keyword system is what I’ve enjoyed most. It’s taking a method I use in the digital world and converting it to pen and paper… amazingly it works quite well for me!)
As I write this, there are 24 days left for him to raise funds. If you’ve been looking for a system to implement in your work or home life that doesn’t involve a mobile phone or tablet, you might give serious consideration to looking into this system. And if you’re already a pen and paper kind of person, I suspect you’ll find something unique in 100DS that you can incorporate into your current record keeping and activity tracking method.
Here’s a link to the fundraiser — 100DS. Steven’s very open about discussing his system, so if you have questions, let him know. My notebook is prepped for 100 days, and I’m already fairly convinced that I’ll be investing in a new notebook in about 80 days or so.