My productivity system

My productivity system - student project

Thanks Brian for sharing so many useful tips – I've started applying the time management ideas to my day-to-day (especially timeboxing and Pomodoro technique). 

My productivity system involves a few different tools, both digital and physical. As a former copywriter, it always starts with a pen and paper, and then moves onto the computer for trackability and speed. 


1. Physical Lists

Whether it's a small notebook, a scrap of paper, or the back of a bill envelope, I'm constantly making lists on paper. Everyone has their own style, but for me it's important to keep these organized visually while at the same time NOT be too precious about them. 

For example, I don't use any special kind of notebook (it's actually better if it's a random ugly "found" notebook and not a brand-new Moleskine that I'd worry about messing up). Really any scrap paper or the back of printouts is ideal. (Going green!) 

In terms of visually organizing to-do's on these lists, I use a series of different shapes to denote high, medium and low priority tasks.

  • Square checkbox = big priority task/goal 
  • Circle ("analog radio button") = medium priority task 
  • Dash or Dot = small task or item that fits within the previous task 

Some of this was inspired by Ryder Carroll's Bullet Journal concept. 


My productivity system - image 1 - student project


2. Google Docs + Sheets

I find most of Google's products to be incredibly useful for productivity – specifically docs and spreadsheets. Across the Skillshare team, we probably have tens of thousands of documents shared which just makes projects more fluid and productive. 

For my own personal goals and financial housekeeping, I also use docs and google sheets every week. 

Again, much of this starts as a physical list on paper, and then gets pulled into the digital space later. 


3. Trello Boards 

In terms of content management and keeping track of our publishing calendar at Skillshare, we pretty much live and die by Trello. This helps us see the status of every project, which key people are involved, and allows us to communicate important steps without filling up somebody's inbox or wasting their time with a meeting. 

It's also helpful to take a holistic look at what other teams are working on at-a-glance by checking out their Trello Boards (rather than pinging them with a bunch of questions). 

I really like the way this class shows different ways of using a Trello board, and also found the Inspiration section on your site useful. 


My productivity system - image 2 - student project


Some action steps I definitely want to work on, now that I've watched this class:

  1. Going to try out some of the tools and plugins you mentioned to avoid distractions (I'm very prone to looking at notifications, and then I lose focus for several minutes when I could be completing the task at hand) 

  2. Improving time management and prioritization of tasks (sometimes it's tempting to do the easiest thing first and avoid the BIG important project that you know is going to take the most time – this is something I definitely want to work on!) 


Thanks again for the class, Brian! 

- Zack 

Zack Kinslow
Content Manager, Skillshare