New Year’s Resolutions

According to surveys, only 12% of new-year’s resolutions are actually kept. So I’m not going to try and beat the odds by offering another list of items here.

However as someone who loves getting things done, I figured I would switch gears a bit and offer some productivity tools/methods I’ve found to be particularly helpful.

Inbox Zero

I went to lunch once with a well known speaker, Mike Licona, who lamented that he had almost 2,000 undread and unprocessed emails in his inbox.

While I don’t get nearly that many emails, I have been using a simple email management system known as Inbox Zero that helps me quickly process, sort, and manage my digital communications. Since telling Mike about Inbox Zero, he has managed (after some initial effort) to keep the number of unread messages in his inbox close to zero (hey, it improves your chances of getting a response from him).

Here is a video of Inbox Zero’s creator, Merlin Mann, giving a Google Tech Talks presentation about it:

Getting things done

Getting things done is a pretty simple program aimed at helping you optimize your workflow to help you get more things done.

I like this system because it works with any personality type and accounts for both short-term and long-range planning. It also has a very low learning curve, overhead, and since it does not focus on any single set of utilities or tools it is very adaptable.

Here is an excellent presentation of getting things done by it’s creator, David Allen:

Six sigma

A very popular system among large businesses is Six Sigma. Originally developed as a manufacturing process designed to eliminate manufacturing defects, it has since been adapted to a more general set of principles which can help you have a lot more consistency when it comes to the work you produce.

Six sigma can get pretty complicated, job boards are filled with management requirements of the various “levels” of six sigma experience. However here is a simple introductory video by Kaj Ahlmann of Six Sigma Ranch and Winery. In this video Kaj, one of the founders of Six Sigma, uses his hobby of wine making as an example of six sigma principles:

Hope these methods help you become productive in the new year!

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