Michael Sliwinski, developer and CEO of the productivity app I use called Nozbe, has written a new book—10 Steps To Ultimate Productivity.

He has been crowdsourcing the editing—obtaining ideas from a large cross-section of users. It’s been an interesting process, although I’ve travelled some during the process and have only contributed ideas to a few chapters.

We have arrived at the end of the process. The book should be available before too long. He looks at some final tips here.

I’ve used some sort of checklist for 35 years or longer. Then I read Getting Things Done by David Allen and became a convert to his process. Then I began looking for digital apps. The first couple I found were too cumbersome. The app must be easy to set up, yet flexible. Data entry must be easy. Screens and reports must be clear and simple.

I wrote about this one day, and Sliwinski wrote back. Nozbe was in its first year and like a good CEO/entrepreneur should, he was out beating the bushes for customers. I became one.

The goal of any system is actually “getting things done.” You can make a list, copy it from week to week, and never check it off. Trust me I’ve done that. For years.

One technique is breaking tasks down to smaller chunks. The other thing is to concentrate for a period of time and then take a break for a few minutes. Walk around. Fix a cup of tea. Then tackle the task again. The Pomodoro Technique suggests working 25 minutes and taking 5 minute breaks. You can actually set up a task with calendar in Nozbe to alert you for working and breaks.

Since I work from home, I also set a routine for doing certain writing when I get up, eat a light breakfast, go to the gym, then go to the coffee house for a couple of hours of concentrated writing. I like routines, partly because I can decide what to do and can also decide to make a change. I also don’t have to think about mundane things. I go to the coffee house, I scan sources and write my article, blog, or whatever.

Sliwinski says in the book, “The maximum productivity that I’ve mentioned in every chapter isn’t some deadly grind but a lifestyle. An approach that assumes rational planning, well organized, effective action and systematic development. The result is a harmonious sense of control and fulfillment, as well as time that we can spend with our loved ones or realizing our passions.”

Don’t make your system a burden, but allow it to free you for productive work.

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