How i get stuff done

A few people asked me this week how keep track of things i need to get things done.  So, let me tell you.

First, I keep an ongoing Task list. I have a big list and then i have a line in that list that i put each day of the things i want to accomplish that day.  This way i can move things up and down that list.  I actually have two lists – a personal list and a work list. I find that it’s helpful to keep them separate as i try to accomplish the work list when i’m at work and then when i leave, i consider my time to get those tasks done as over.  Then i’m on personal time.  It’s helpful to keep them separate.  How do i keep these tasks? I use Google Tasks.  It’s nicely tied into both my email and my calendar.  Also, there’s an app (I use GooTasks) that synch with the Gmail version so i can grab tasks when i’m on the go.

Second, i have a “one-touch” policy.  I’m not sure who told me about this but the idea is that you should touch things only once.  If you can read, process and reply all at one time, it’s better than filing to do later.  I do this with physical mail and i also try to do it with email.  I’m not as good as some, but i’ve found that the more you do this, the more you get done. My business partner Toby is actually a master of this.

Third, i subscribe to the “Daily Inches” mantra of consistency. This is best expressed in the Al Pacino speech in “Any Given Sunday” (listen to it here). The idea is that if you really want to make big changes – this could be your life, your work or whatever – the best way is to make progress daily.  You don’t ahve to do it all at once, but just make a little progress every day and you’ll get there.  For instance, if you want to increase your arm strength in the gym, you don’t want to go on a weekend and try to lift weights for 20 hours straight.  No, it’s better to work out a little bit each day for an extended period of time.  Make a little progress, every day.

There it is.  My three easy steps to getting things done – Lewis-style.  Most of it is common sense, but thought i’d share.  Tasks, one-touch, and daily inches.   What is your philosophy for getting things done?

Google Latitude

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...

A new feature was released today from Google called Google Latitude.  It’s allows you to post your location onto Google Maps and to see your friends’ locations.  It’s done using GPS and other technologies (Gears, etc.) and works really well.  Here are some thoughts i have on it

First, I like the way it looks and works. The interface is extremely simple.  Entering in info is done inline and the interface is definitely not cluttered with too many bells and whistles.  Adding and viewing friends is also braindead simple.  Overall, it’s a snap to use

It’s a social app but it’s different than a social network. For instance it’s (a) only really useful for people you know, (b) more interesting for people you live close to, and (c) limited to only location information. It’s only a map.  Again, very simple


Not everything is great though. One thing i don’t understand is why they force you to access it (on the web) through iGoogle.  I have a homepage already and see no other reason to go to iGoogle.  That’s annoying and i wish it had it’s own site like Google’s Calendar, Reader, Maps, Mail, etc.  Also, I also wish it would use my profile from other Google products. It seems now that i have a different profile for Gmail, Calendar, Orkut, FriendConnect and Reader.  Why can’t there be just one?

Since i’ve had a iPhone, i’ve become much more aware of the usefulness of my location.  When this information is layered onto web services, those services can become much more useful.  I like this new app because it shows that there’s a whole other layer (location) that is just starting to be explored. I can imagine many applications starting to layer in location and serve information based on this.  Ad targeting, ticketing, messaging, groups all change when this is added.

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AOL mail crushes Gmail

Not in terms of functionality or ease of use but check this out:

Yahoo dominates e-mail with 88.4 million users in the United States in August, according to comScore. That is far more than Microsoft’s Windows Live Hotmail at 45.2 million and AOL at 44.8 million, not to mention Gmail at 26.0 million.

When you look at how much time people spend reading their e-mail, Yahoo mail users spend the most time (286 minutes a month), Gmail users the least (82 minutes), with AOL and Microsoft in the middle (229 and 204 minutes, respectively).

Wow. As a Gmail-lover, i would have never thought that was the case. You read the whole article here.

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