This guest post was provided by Daniele Occhipinti on behalf of Danyuki Software Limited. Danyuki Software is the company running Plancake, a useful free online tool to get things done. For more information: www.plancake.com.
All product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.
I have always believed the key to productivity is organization. And what’s organization? I would say organization is to have everything under control and be confident enough about what needs to be done. That brings also relaxation, which is good.
Organization is to have everything under control and be confident enough about what needs to be done.
All of that is very well explained in the ‘Getting things Done’ book by David Allen. I started building Plancake a couple of years ago after reading that book.
Plancake: A GTD Implementation
I wanted a very simple online tool that would have let me implement the GTD methodology. Yeah, there were already very good tools at that time but, I am a Web developer, so I wanted to have mine. And I think it was a good idea because, even if it is very similar to great products such as Toodledo or Remember the Milk, it has got some peculiarities that can’t be found among the alternatives.
Plancake has got everything that you would expect from a GTD-oriented task manager: lists, tags, notes, calendar, next actions, repetitive tasks and an Inbox. In this post I would like to focus on the Inbox.
Plancake Inbox: Free Your Mind
The Inbox is a special list that should be used as a temporary storage for tasks waiting to be organized in your other lists or done straightaway if they take less than 2 minutes to complete, as explained in the ‘Getting things done’ book. Why 2 minutes? Because that is the time it would take to organize, categorize and retrieve the item for later completion.
The Inbox is a special list that should be used as a temporary storage for tasks waiting to be organized in your other lists or done straightaway if they take less than 2 minutes to complete.
I really like the Plancake Inbox because you populate it to free your mind. It is not like your email Inbox, when half of times the message has nothing to do with you. You can add tasks to your Inbox in 4 different ways:
1. Sending an email to your Plancake email address (the subject of the email will be automatically converted to a task)
2. Syncing from the Android application (to add tasks when you are on the move)
3. Adding an event to your Google Calendar account (coming soon). And,
4. Directly on the online version of Plancake.
I always keep a browser tab open on the Plancake Inbox. In that way, if I receive a call I can quickly jot down actions that need to be done regarding that call. And if straight after it, I need to attend a meeting, there is no danger I am going to forget the content of the call. That brings great piece of mind.
Plancake Inbox: Avoid The Interruptions
The Inbox is also a great way to avoid interruptions. I am going to give you an example. There was a problem in our servers that needed to be sorted ASAP. While sorting out the issue, I noticed a bug in the application code running on the server. Obviously I couldn’t put the emergency on hold to fix that bug (important but not urgent). But I had my Inbox at hand. I just wrote that down in around 5 seconds and went back to the urgent matter.
Without my Inbox, I would have either forgotten about that (bad!) or had that unconfortable feeling of knowing you are missing something but you don’t know what for days to come.
Review Your Inbox!
Obviously for all of that to work, you need to review the content of your Inbox at least once a day, ideally more often, as you would do with your email box. It is amazing how the right tool can improve the quality of your work. And if you do something of good quality, it is less likely you have to spend time amending it later on.