ArchiwumJune 2014

S like system


Recently, while I was listening to the radio I heard an interview with Florence Welch from Florence and the Machine. She said that recording the third album is the hardest task because after the first album, in which you’re searching for your own style, and the second album, in which you’ve found and mastered that style, everyone expects that the third album will be something new and fresh. That it won’t be the same as the previous ones. I wonder if it is similar with a third blog post ;)

Today I’m going to write about my productivity system. I will treat this post as a kind of table of contents that lists all the components of my system. The description of each point I will add over time as separate blog posts.

The components that make up the center of my productivity are:

  • the values that are the most important for me,
  • the main rules that I use to make choices in everyday life,
  • the priorities in different areas of my life,
  • and the long term goals that are related to the above points.

Then there are the apps that I use to manage my productivity:

  • Nozbe – an application that implements David Allen’s GTD guidelines, and is the main application I use everyday;
  • Goalscape – an application that allows me to write down and visualize my long term goals, which I also use to track the status of those goals;
  • OneNote – I use this application to store and manage all my notes.

The last but equally important part of my productivity system are the habits and techniques that I implement and use regularly to reach my goals:

  • daily planning sessions for the day,
  • week review,
  • the pomodoro technique,
  • visualization techniques,
  • rules for efficient meetings.

The current “look & feel” of my productivity system is a result of three years of work. Marcin Kwieciński’s workshop called “Embrace the Chaos” had the biggest impact on it. He helped me to change the way I work by streamlining my system and introducing new techniques to improve it. Like the technique described in last post.

What I do now is only fine-tune the system to my needs. I read a lot about productivity and try to be on top of all new discussions on the subject (like the technique I described in the last post).

I will elaborate about each point I listed above in a separate post. Stay tuned!


Start the morning with closing your e-mail app


Today I’m writing about the latest productivity technique I have implemented in my everyday work – checking my inbox 2-3 hours after the beginning of the work day.

Plenty of techniques exist to increase one’s productivity. While reading books, magazines (like Productivity Magazine), listening to talks, and reading blogs, I am overwhelmed with a number of new ideas on how to be more productive.

I’ve tried many of them, and checked how they work in practice. Some are very good and I’ve incorporated them into my productivity system (I will describe it soon). Many of those ideas do not work for me but they are still worth discussing. Maybe they will work for you.

My work is a mix of conceptual and operational tasks (strategic vs tactical). By conceptual, I mean defining new services, optimizing the way my team works, and creating reports. Operational tasks are all of those that I need to do every day to allow my team to work smoothly – e.g. task assignment, communication, and meetings.

I receive a lot of e-mails every day – several dozens. I bet you do too. Till now, checking my inbox was the second thing I was doing in the morning, just after planning my day. I am in the office at 7AM, which means that I used to process the first e-mails around 7:30AM. By processing emails, I mean applying David Allen’s GTD methodology (Delete, Defer, Delegate or Do – this I will cover in a separate post). Very often “Do” means answering the e-mail.

Now you’re probably thinking – what is so bad about answering e-mail?

What would you do if I answered your e-mail? You would probably answer me back. This is what happens in most cases. One processed e-mail results in a new e-mail to process. Because of this, I end up processing e-mails for the first 2 hours of my day.

I’ve decided to change my approach to e-mail. For the last few weeks I’ve had a new rule – no Outlook till 9AM. What do I do instead? I work :) Now each morning is the most productive part of my day. This is the time when I do the most important tasks scheduled for the day. And after two hours, I can start working on other ongoing tasks. This simple change revolutionized my productivity. I’ve noticed that I have moved forward in many of the projects that I was stuck on because I had no time to focus on them. You may ask – but what do others think about your new approach? Aren’t they impatient because you don’t answer their e-mail immediately? No! In most cases it is more than enough to answer them after 9AM. If there is anything that is very urgent, I will find out about it in a way other than e-mail.

In a separate post I will write about how I choose what to work on during those two precious hours.

Question: what do you think about planning your day in this way?

Photo by Lauren Hammond / CC BY

First post


This is the first post on this blog. I decided that in the first post it would be smart to describe why I want to have a blog. I would also like to tell you to whom I am addressing it and what topics I will cover here.


I want to learn how to write. I want to learn how to put my thoughts in a concise and interesting way for the reader. I know that the topics I am going to cover are interesting. Maybe you will find them useful. This blog will also be a kind of journal with a list of techniques and ideas I have tried – a reference for myself.

For whom?

When you read why I want to blog, it is obvious who it is for. It’s for me. Just like this. Of course, I will be very happy if you read it and find it interesting. I will try to keep as high a standard of posts as possible. Even when there will only be a few readers.

About what?

I have a number of ideas. I hope that while posting, new ones will arise. Maybe you will also tell me what you want me to write about. We will see. At the moment I want to write about:

  • Productivity – a very broad and popular topic. I am very interested in everything that is related to productivity and I am working on it every day.
  • Books – those that I’ve already read and found fascinating as well as those that I want to read.
  • Communication – the best practices, tools, and techniques for meetings.
  • Kanban – an agile methodology of organizing the way a team works. My team of 21 people is using Kanban in our everyday work. We have tried many approaches to it and I would like to share our experiences here.
  • Me as a boss – what I learn from people who I work with, my discoveries in that area and my attempts to find a way to be a better boss.
  • Apps – I use many apps in everyday work. I try a lot of them. I will share with you which ones I like and which are worth trying.
  • Other – how my home network is organized, how I use my home NAS, what services I use daily, etc.
  • Running – I do not plan to write about running but I am talking about it so often… I may be tempted to write about it too :)

Does all of this sound interesting? It does for me! I hope I will learn a lot.


Photo by horizontal.integration / CC BY


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