Your Daily Workflow and Social Media Tools

Does that chart scare you?

It scared me the first time I saw it.  I was given a copy of Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. And well, the book and method were hardly stress free for me, while others thrived on it.

Many of you out there are disciples of David Allen and GTD aka “Getting Things Done.” You talk about it incessantly and you have the results to show that his methods work.

Most of us on the other hand fall somewhere else and our personality, gifts and skill set help us determine the best method of workflow for us. Though I wasn’t a big fan of GTD in the beginning I’m coming around to it.

Let me point you in the direction of a couple of other sources that I have found helpful, mention my own workflow situation, as well as get suggestions from you.

Other Methods

Let me just mention a few other methods that I really like and that I have tried picking up. At the end of the day I think that most of our workflow methods are a an array of various ones that we have brought together into one workable, if not messy method at times.

First, I love this method from my friend Wess Daniels, Create a Moleskine PDA: The Student GTD Hack. Who doesn’t love a Moleskine, and how many of us need a break from “technology” and need to remove ourselves from the computer. I haven’t mastered this method yet, but I always carry a Moleskine and am slowly creating the system.

Second, Tim Ferriss’s blog, and author of The 4-Hour Work Week has been a very challenging book for me. I would not say this is a method as much as there are some great ideas and techniques to pull out of his book. Though I didn’t agree with a lot of the stuff that he said, I so resonated with his idea of a “low information diet.” Unfortunately I am a slave to my Blackberry and email and that more than anything can kill a productive day.

Third, I just recently stumbled across Chris Brogan though I wish I had been following him before. Chris has a project called the Social Media 100 and it is amazing reading. Chris says this about the project:

The Social Media 100 is a project by Chris Brogan dedicated to writing 100 useful blog posts in a row about the tools, techniques, and strategies behind using social media for your business, your organization, or your own personal interests. Swing by [] for more posts in the series, and if you have topic ideas, feel free to share them, as this is a group project, and your opinion matters.

I have found Chris’ post very helpful in not only thinking about workflow, but helping me locate and understand the tools that can increase my daily productivity. He has a great post on 50 Online Applications and Sites to Consider (HT: Cynthia Ware) and another I just read last night on How to Do More With Less Time. Chris is someone well worth reading.

My Developing Method

I’m slowly developing my own method, but here are some key components that I think are important.  Some may not be helpful, so let me know what you think.  There are millions of applications to use, but here are just six I use everyday and that are super helpful to me.

  1. Twitter: This is the first thing I open in the morning when I go online. It’s like the equivalent of opening the front door and getting the newspaper 50 years ago.  Updates you on what’s going on in your local and global community.  This can be seen as a distraction because it can lead you down many links, or you might find yourself wanting to respond to many things, but that’s what I do.  Twitter is open on my computer all day or on my phone.

  3. Facebook: This is one of my most important tools, especially when I was a college pastor and most of my community lived on there.  I don’t spend much time on there chatting or looking through profiles, but the news feed keeps me up to date, and Facebook is my online Rolodex.  I can find most anyone I want to contact and communicate with.

  5. Google Reader: This is fairly new for me…I know, I know.  But this is the tool that I use to browse through hundreds of sites a day.

  7. Firefox Browser: The best.  I was into Flock a few months back, but Firefox keeps it fast, practical and simlple.  If I had to rank the browsers I would use it would go 1) Firefox, 2) Safari, 3) Flock, 4) Explorer.

  9. Apple Mail/Email: I love this mail for lots of reasons, but for me it’s just simple and practical to use, and I like the custom HTML hack job I can do on the signature.  I know some of you are liking Mailplane, but I’m slow to check it out completely.  One of the things I learned from Tim Ferriss and others is the need to only check email a couple of times a day.  Still trying to get better at that.  Working on checking it at 12pm and 4pm.  We will see how that goes.

  11. WordPressblog: I love WordPress.  I can not say that enough.  I spent about a year or so on Blogger, then about 3-4 on Movable Type and switched to WordPress in December of 2007.  I love the platform.


Your Method

What method(s) do you use or prefer?

Do you have any thoughts or suggestions for the rest of us on what does, and doesn’t work?


  1. by Matt Singley on August 20, 2008  9:13 pm Reply

    Replace #5 with Outlook and I'm lockstep with you bro.

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  2. by Marcus Hackler on August 20, 2008  10:26 pm Reply

    Task management is probably the most difficult of all workflow items to tackle. I've found two great tools that help and actually fit nicely in the GTD system or an adaptation.

    For short term tasks I use Remember the Milk with the Gmail add-on for Firefox. I can schedule and track simple tasks to remember - like "ship a package" to "pick up new Mark Batterson book".

    For more workflow-oriented tasks that take longer, I use Google Spreadsheets and share them with my team. I also publish that file online (built in feature) and the collaboration feature allows my team members to annotate and update tasks as they progress.

  3. by Andy C on August 21, 2008  3:29 am Reply

    I just cannot seem to get into Twitter, it must be me. Maybe it is a fear of text message overload.

    I love Moleskine notebooks, have been using them for years to back up my bible study with ready notes. Sometimes, low-tech, high touch is still the best.

    I am just not as good as you as an e-juggler though.

  4. by Rhett on August 21, 2008  5:09 pm Reply

    Matt: I hear you...I do, or did like Outlook as well.

    Marcus: Thanks for the tips. You are like the 100th person I have heard talk about Remember the Milk. Now I have to go try it for sure. and I should be using Google Spreadsheets as well. Soon. Thanks for the help.

    Andy: I hear you. Trust me, I'm no e-expert or juggler. Just trying to work with what's best...working in college ministry forced me online even if I was a semi-slow adopter. But I do like your low-tech, high touch philosophy. So nice to have at times, and Moleskines are great of course.


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