Getting Things Done 2018 Edition

Here are my current tools to getting things done in 2018. I optimize for capturing 100% of my brain on paper or electronic. I do not optimize for having only a single place for a task or idea.

Things that are time sensitive or urgent

  • I use Google Reminders with time due dates
  • I also block out chunks of time on my calendar to work on the item.
  • I write this on a 3×5 index card
  • I write it in my bullet journal

Longer term goals and important things like health, family, money, personal

  • These are important, not urgent. I use Trello as a planning tool and kanban board to jot down all my ideas. Everything that is important to me in my life is on Trello. I have over 50 kanban boards. This includes food menus, life goals with my wife, how I want to raise my child, what my commitment is to my parents, my life goal to be a teacher of computer science, my reading list.. everything!
  • I also use a physical notebook and I follow the bullet journal system. I implement a few of customized differences (which I’ll write about later)

Really long term and very important things

For Work projects that I collaborate with someone at work

  • I create a public page with tasks and I share that with my co-workers and we jointly collaborate

For private notes from 1:1

  • I create a simple text file and upload to our corporate box folder and keep them private

For incoming emails that I need to take action on

  • I create a set of folders for important people and prefix them from 0 to 9, follow by their names.
  • I flag emails that I need to send follow ups

For meetings and action items

  • I usually send the agreed upon actions items
  • Or I create a ticket in our bug tracking system
  • Or I create a document, whatever is appropriate

Multi-tasking

  • I try to not multi-task, and instead create multiple timers (5mins, 10 mins, 15 minutes) that are task specific (Teeth cleaning 15m, news reading 5 minutes, work on my website 15 minutes, email cleaning 5 minutes)

Emails

  • My goal is to respond to every email, or unsubscribe to spam emails. The goal is to drive the Inbox to zero, while never achieving it.

Browser

  • I use the Taco Chrome extension to bring in Trello, gmail that I have starred so that I see a background of my daughter, with the list of things to do and one to three most important things to focus on.
Tony Tam

Senior Principal Architect @ Splunk Founder of ImpactfulEngineer.org & SFBadminton.org