Productivity in the Digital Age

Email a Friend

This blog post is by New Tech City host Manoush Zomorodi.

This week marks the demise of one of the most popular task-list apps out there. Yahoo bought Astrid in May and subsequently announced that it would be shutting down the service on August 5. Lifehacker's Alan Henry told me via Twitter, "Yahoo was interested in Astrid's talent and tech, not its product or users."

I wouldn't be so sad if I hadn't cycled through numerous task list apps, including Reminders, Remember the Milk and Wunderlist. None were quite right. And then I finally settled on Astrid recently. I felt like I was just getting to know that little octopus when I realized my (and approximately 4 million others') organization method was DOOMED.

Next Task: Moving Past My Grief 

On this week's New Tech City podcast I talk to PCMag's resident productivity expert, Jill Duffy. Duffy tells me how growing up in a chaotic household inspired her to organize her adult life to the hilt. Listen to her tips about getting your life in order, which gadgets and apps work best, and why she thinks we've all become so darn task oriented.

What app did I decide to go with after being dumped by Astrid? Well, based on my chat with Jill and careful consideration, I decided to entrust my life to…drumroll please…Things!

Why the Things App?

Things syncs across my iPhone, iPad and Mac.

It lets me create folders plus repeat, tag and prioritize tasks.

It’s not ugly.

Downsides include: price, no browser version, and a very strict adherence to GTD.

Getting Things Done. Duh.

What’s GTD you ask? It's the "Getting Things Done" methodology, as prescribed by David Allen. The book came out over a decade ago but I've only just been turned onto his thinking. Frankly, if you've ever been a news producer, you probably were "getting things done" intuitively anyway. (And it annoys me when very obvious actions are labeled and turned into movements. No kidding we want to "get things done"!)

Deciding how to get your act together can be a very personal decision.

What CEOs Prefer

In the name of work-life integration (starting a new job while keeping track of my small children and a busy journalist husband), I've decided to combine all my personal and work related tasks on my calendar and on my to-do list (Cali Yost, author of Tweak It endorses this method).

Others prefer to compartmentalize to keep worlds from colliding. Etsy's CEO Chad Dickerson told me he entrusts his crafty empire to Omnifocus. Inbox Zero is Zocdoc CEO Cyrus Massoumi's new method of choice. The folks over at Live in the Grey love their paper and pencil lists and weren't afraid to show me.

I'm slightly obsessed…so tell me, how do you organize your life? Leave me a comment or I'm on Twitter @manoushz.