EGOR #5: New Productivity Systems aka I Love Spreadsheets
This is a short-ish story about how the word spreadsheet led to wedding bells.
By October of 2014, I had already spent something like 5 years on and off OkCupid (online dating) with very limited luck. Then I came across a good-looking, high match percentage profile that I hesitated to message because I had yet to meet a tall Asian guy who was into gals like me who liked to eat and yell at basketball on the television (To be fair, I like my curvy hips because they’re hella useful in boxing out in the paint. Just sayin’.)
That profile belonged to Mr. Hungry, and one day he messaged me!
Our back and forth was fun, but at a particularly busy time at work that caused me to log off for several days. When I signed back on about a week later, I noticed that he had deactivated his profile. I shrugged it off, deleted all of his previous messages (otherwise my inbox would get full), and went to go play ball. #basketballislife
After a few more tasteless and overly aggressive messages from several OkCupiders in the subsequent weeks, I was ready to delete, not deactivate, my profile for good.
Then I get a message from Mr. Hungry, profile freshly re-activated, asking if I could share why I had gone “radio silence… totally cool, absolutely [my] prerogative,” because he is “[A BIG PROPONENT OF FAILURE ANALYSIS] + closing the feedback loop to figure out if [he] need[s] to adjust something…”
Basically, he kept a spreadsheet for dating* to identify “terminal nodes” (why communication/first date/etc. ended) and adjusted his behavior accordingly.
I love spreadsheets. It was the one word in his message that caught my eye and gave me a beacon of hope for online dating. A few messages later, we were set for our first dinner date.
We ended up going on 6 dates in the first 12 days of meeting each other.
So that’s how I met Mr. Hungry. And now we’re married and coming up on our 3rd (dating) anniversary thanks to the word spreadsheet.
I can’t imagine my life without him.
New Working Systems Put in Place aka Building a Second Brain
There is only so much I can cram into my brain before I start walking out the front door without pants on. Seriously. So, to prevent my neighbors from thinking I’m a crazy lady, I’ve built systems (over time) to serve as a second brain to store information that is easily retrievable and actionable.
(In addition to these new systems I also utilize Google mail/calendar/drive, a modified bullet journal, year in review calendar, and the EPIC BLOG One Year Editorial Planner to stay on track/accountable, complete tasks in a timely manner, plan for short and long-term goals, and build in flexibility in my schedule for balance.)
With all the new content and tasks for PrincessHungry, I needed to solve for:
Catch-all app for thoughts/ideas/articles/photos/chicken scratch/kitchen sink.
Reminder function to come back to above items and make it an actionable item or tag and file away for another time.
Platform that syncs across desktop and mobile devices
Content management system (drafts, photos, content for social media or newsletter)
A balance of something physical (handwritten things stay in my brain so much better) and something portable to serve as a digital second brain I can easily search and file information.
(Aside: I once considered writing down ideas that came to me during yoga, but 1) I do hot yoga and that would be a smeary inky mess and 2) The whole point of yoga is to be present in the moment. Writing down ideas during yoga was total 180 of that. Now, when I’m present and focused throughout the day thanks to yoga, I can trust that ideas I had during class will come back to me if they are important enough. And sure enough, they do!)
My current solution?
Enter stage right: EVERNOTE AND ASANA!
I tried using Apple Notes, but quickly switched to Evernote basic when I had issues syncing my notes on my phone to my desktop (I then upgraded to an Evernote premium account because 40% off, baby!)
In Evernote I use Stacks, Notebooks, and Tags to wrangle #allthethings. Every few weeks I make a point to schedule a reminder to go through items I tag as “To File and Sort” so I actually make the time to file and sort them accordingly. Surprisingly this doesn’t take up as much time as you might think. I also utilize tags for different categories of my website such as ‘social media’, ‘newsletter’, ‘content’ when I am saving items in “To FIle and Sort”. This helps remind me what I was originally thinking about using the piece for when I saved it.
PrincessHungry - I keep 6 notebooks in this stack (Content Creation, Cookbook Notes, Newsletter, Social Media, Legal, and a general PH notebook) - Maintain templates for organizing blog posts and tracking ideas for content. As templates get filled out I review and prioritize what makes it into production in Asana.
Photography Resources - Lightroom/Photoshop/Editing - How to’s for using camera - Inspiration
Ax Sharpening - Online courses: As I’m working on different sections of a course I keep a running list of to-do items or things I’d like to add to my website. Periodically, I review this list and prioritize which ones make it over to production in Asana. - I keep a running list of articles and books to read that are recommended by friends or members of several Facebook groups I participate in. One of my goals is to read more books published by women and POC in 2018!
Home - Expenses for PH and Personal - Home maintenance tasks - Recipes
Current Fav Evernote Function? Reminders! (and the desktop app)
Reminders to revisit thoughts/ideas/etc. is absolutely key to making wishes into goals… into reality.
Project Management/Editorial Calendar/Daily Tasks Manager to GSD = ASANA!!!
After many years of running my life with Trello, I made the jump to Asana because there were just SO many moving parts for each cookbook. I really needed a master task list view instead of a calendar view when planning my tasks. The calendar view, however, is clutch for my editorial calendar and getting a good visual of how my time is allocated so it’s not overwhelming.
Currently, I organize my projects by cookbook and one main editorial calendar I “sync” with byRegina’s EPICBLOG Editorial Planner (because I need to write things down to really get them to stick in my brain. Also, markers and stickers and post-its, oh my!). #notanaffiliatelink
Sections within each cookbook project include reading blocks (breaking up each cookbook into digestible (pun totally intended) chunks), the entire food photo shoot and styling process (including recipe selection, grocery shopping, etc), and social media content.
I also keep a running list of things to do/add to the site that I’ve reviewed, filtered, and prioritized from an Evernote notebook.
Current Favorite Features of Asana?
Tasks can be viewed as calendar or list
Accountability - Even though all the tasks are mine (woohoo, one-woman show!), something about assigning a task to myself makes me more likely to DO it.
Subtasks within tasks. Doubly good for repeated tasks such as a blog post template that requires many different parts (drafts, reviews, content, links, photos, and web related bits)
Due dates for everythaaannnggg!
Color coding projects to easily “see” the layout for my weeks ahead to make sure I bake in enough buffer to create content consistently without burning out (also considering holidays, sick days, days off, yoga, life, social life, etc)
Google chrome extension that allows Asana directly into your gmail to create tasks from your emails!
What do you use to wrangle all your content and GSD? What have you found works best over time?
Y'all. One of my favorite holidays is just around the corner! And this year, I'm taking over cooking duties from my mom. #adulting It's going to be a busy week of prep, cooking, and eating. SO, next week I'll be spending the time with my fam bam. Posts will resume the Monday after Thanksgiving.
*Surprisingly, (not surprisingly?) someone else has done something similar. You can listen to her TED Talk here.