Tags: zettelkasten
Category: Productivity

Personal Productivity

Why Have a Process?

I use a combination of techniques to prioritize my daily work, align on my goals and to consume and process new information. I’ve aggregated these techniques from many sources and will describe the process in the next few documents.

What is my Personal Productivity Process?

My personal system consists of three key aspects:

Short Term Prioritization

Each working day is broken down by my Personal Operating System which divides my day into productivity blocks.

I utilize semantic calendar emoji to denote the context and nature of each productivity block.

I’ve arranged my calendar as an extended Pomodoro sequence that best fits my optimal personal productivity cycle.

All sessions are strictly timeboxed to a specific duration, but the productivity blocks and flexibly be shuffled as real life requires.

Daily I journal my tasks, notes and observations in a Daily Journal. Each week I review my daily notes and create a summary that becomes the weekly plan.

The weekly plan helps to:

  • Celebrate weekly wins, observations and prioritize todo items
  • Provide a concise, brief summary of the week

Read more about the weekly plan..

Long Term Goal Setting and Planning

For long term planning and goal setting I consider several things:

  • What do I Want to do?
  • What do I NOT Want to do?
  • Where can I Grow?

I call this my Career Manifesto. It directs my long term growth areas and reinforces my short term planning. If any short term task doesn’t align with my long term goals I ask myself why.

I also conduct quarterly and annual reviews of my notes. Each quarter I compile the weekly plan notes into a three month summary. I get ahead of the traditional business planning cycle by focusing on:

  • Dec-Feb (Q1)
  • Mar-May (Q2)
  • Jun-Aug (Q3)
  • Sep-Nov (Q4)

Read more about quarterly and annual reviews

Acquiring Analyzing and Acting on Information

A recurring goal is to learn, understand and act upon new information. I use the zettelkasten note taking process to all books, podcasts and other sources I consume.

I track the zettelkasten through the Obsidian app and commit the markdown notes to a private repository. Each note “card” repeats the pattern:

  • Notes
  • Quotes
  • Summary
  • Take Away / Application to Business

I start by taking notes, referencing page numbers or timestamps. I separate significant quote and cite the source. I review the notes and distill the applicable or actionable content into a brief summary.

As I summarize I ask the question: “How does this apply to my projects or my business?” This analysis yield actionable next steps that are added to the daily or weekly planner.

Finally I create a high level summary consisting of several sentences that describes the content and the actionable items.

Working “backward” in this way I am able to focus on note taking first and understanding and summarizing the content once the entire book/video/podcast has been consumed.