As I referenced in an earlier post, as a VP of Sales (or any leadership role for that matter), you have an endless amount of to do’s, thoughts and digital bookmarks you need to rely on. How do you organize all this and become efficiently productive?
After years of stretching and reaching to finding a process that I feel not only saves me time, but maximizes my productivity and efficiency – I feel like I finally found something I’m excited about.
I’ve had bits and pieces of this process for nearly a decade and tried almost every app for some period of time all to no avail. After mapping and executing this new flow (with some help from a few new tools ), I feel liberated to finally take whatever ideas, actions, tasks and thoughts and get them processed for safe keeping, or action with results that are working for me.
I’ve found a rhythm, peace and even joy in using Bear, Notion, Day One, Reminders and Pocket together to help me manage my personal and work life.
I’ve told friends, family and even engaged on Twitter, reddit explaining what my process is (and even inspiration behind it – Thanks @thesweetsetup).
Because I appreciated learning from how others work – I thought I’d post my process and how I work with today’s tools to help me out on a daily basis.
Here’s my quickly sketched, barely legible, hand drawing showing my process. I’ll explain more down below.
If you know these tools already, you know there definitely is some overlap here. Bear can do things Notion can’t and yet Notion is awesome at things that Bear can’t compete with as well. Pocket and Notion can do similar things. Bear, Notion, Reminders all have the ability to manage tasks. The truth is I probably could get by just using one tool – but I would give up some great features and process by doing so.
So…here’s my set up and how I work with each.
I just adopted bear and migrated from Apple notes and Evernote for almost a decade. The more I use it the more I love it.
I think about Bear as my centralized hub and though repository. All writing, quick thoughts & things to file later start with Bear. It’s where most everything goes first before being filed into the appropriate database. The speed and native “share to Notion” or “Share to Reminders” of Bear is what sold me on this. I started out testing both Notion and Bear to decide on just one.
As things progressed, I definitely defaulted to Bear as my default data entry tool of choice. Its quick, easy and the # filing/tagging system is brilliant. I love the fact that while writing, I can use markdown shortcuts (I didn’t know what these were when I started using Bear either) to easily add bullet points, drawings (Apple Pencil – I need you) headings, quotes and even add to-dos (more on this later) within a note by hitting “Command T”. Bear automatically creates that item as a task to be filed away in the appropriate “Todo” notes folder. It looks great and it works flawlessly.
From here – Once I have something in Bear – I then decide where to put it. I can add multiple # Tags to each note to file accordingly. I’ll file # Notion for things I need to place into a specific notion database or # thoughts for those deep thoughts that deserve their own entry in my Day One Journal.
I use reminders for my daily task list. I’ve tried a bunch of 3rd party task apps but ever since the latest update in iOS13, I love the native reminders app on the iPhone. Upside is it just plays really nice with most everything I have and I can share with my wife, kids and anyone (as long as they also have an iPhone).
Did you know you can clip a sentence or two form an email and throw it into your reminders inbox as a task? Once you click that specific reminder – iOS will automatically open up the email you referenced. Magic.
Like I mentioned above – with Bear, I can quickly add a task within a note I’m writing “command – T” and its automatically filed in my very own “Todo” folder by Bear. I then go through these on a regular basis and either add them to my Reminders Inbox (Just changed my default reminders list name to inbox) to be completed by a certain date or file them in a different Reminders list like “Family To Do” or “Work Sometime” etc. (Lots of methodologies on this and GTD is something worth looking at). If these tasks don’t belong in Reminders – that typically means they should be added to Notion for a specific project, database, collection etc. (more down below on Notion)
Side note: *working to implement a shortcut I saw online where open Bear todo’s automatically import to my reminders inbox. I NEED this!!
Notion is pretty complex. I kept hearing great things about it so decided to give it a try. I gave up. I tried again. Gave up again. But the more I kept realizing what it does – I 100% see why its amazing, but it takes some time (and shout out to Khe Hy with RadReads for some awesome tutorials and videos). You can do things inside Notion that you just can’t do with other tools. But it is complex. And a bit slow. So I found myself gravitating to Bear for certain things and Notion for others. It was a messy process at first and I think I’ve found where it belongs in my ecosystem.
Things I need to manage, organize and spend time on are saved in one organized central hub with Notion. Projects (like Trello or Asana), assignments and collections (like your very own Pinterest or Instapaper), databases, workflows and collaborations with others are typically what I’m using it for. Most of the data in Notion requires organization with a need to adhere to a more strict deadline, timeline etc. . I can very easily turn any notion page or set of pages into a mini-website and share with family, friend, co-workers etc. This is awesome.
I just am starting to implement a database for my editorial calendar with tags, dates etc. post ideas (often fed from Bear) to help me organize posts and a newsletter Im’ putting together. Personal goals for the year (shared to a private family URL page), work assignments, sales training material with dates, tags, shared databases and more.
Notion’s web clipper is best of its kind in my opinion. If I see something that I know belongs in my “blog post ideas” database – I’ll clip right away and place there. If its a new BBQ recipe that was awesome, I’ll use this to organize in my BBQ recipe database for safe keeping and future reference (with notes etc.). I love the fact that I can clip from any device and file to a specific page or database and that will instantly update another page or database if I’ve told it to do so.
With Notion’s rules, filters, property tags – you can literally create whatever workflow you need. And the web clipper is what makes this go. How does this work with Pocket? Read below…
I tried switching from Pocket and just sending everything to Notion to “read later”, but I just couldn’t adopt. Things were stored and I didn’t know if they were important or not. Its was congested and all over the place. I wanted my notion databases to feel important. That’s why I use both.
I use pocket as an “inbox” of sorts to weed out the stuff that’s a quick read and doesn’t need to be filed in Notion. See an article I’d like to read? Save it to Pocket…read that article and don’t want to save it for later? Delete it. Really like that article and want to reference it later for a training, blog post, work project? Save to the appropriate Notion database.
Like I mentioned before – I can bypass Pocket altogether if I already have deemed something important and can file in its place.
Day One is “mostly” independent here. I use this for my daily journaling across multiple journals focused on family, self thoughts, fitness activity etc.
Most of my journals in Day One are direct entries in the app itself, however – there is some overlap. Because Bear is so quick, and I’m inside Bear a lot – I can quickly jot down a quick journal entry and then when done – easily “share to Day One” and select the appropriate Journal where it belongs. Sometimes, while pontificating about something in business or work – that same Bear note will make its way into my Day One “headspace” journal. Bear gives me the flexibility to write now and then decide if I want to add it as a journal entry with a couple of clicks.
Let’s not forget – Day One is a journal app. And it’s amazing at that. Auto date/time stamp from my Photos app, location and weather data, even syncing fitness activity from my Apple Watch automatically make my use of Day One super simple and sticky.
So there you have it. My process will most likely continue to evolve and it may not even work for you as outlined. But hopefully it may help spur your own process towards an increase in productivity in how you deal with your day to day like the others I mentioned above did for me.