in box zero

Productivity Tips for Nomads

In the old days life was fairly simple. You had a place of work; which probably had a desk and all the essential office equipment: desktop computer, phone, calculator, Spice Girls calendar, etc. However, roll forward a few years and its amazing how that model has changed. Thanks to technology and a certain amount of liberalisation, most people can work anywhere.I am one of those people. Armed with my laptop, 3G stick and mobile phone I tend to work wherever and whenever it suits, on the train, in the office or at home.However there is a disadvantage to this nomadic lifestyle; keeping everything in sync can be difficult. Having a process is essential otherwise things fall through the gaps, and quickly.While I haven’t perfected it, here are my three essential productivity tips for nomads:1. In-box zeroAfter years of fighting, this has become a bit of a revelation to me.The principle is simple; the only things in your inbox should be the things that need your attention. To achieve this you need to learn to love your delete button. Like me I am sure you get tons of email and most of it, including (shock horror) things from colleagues only need our attention for a short space of time. My mantra is read, action, delete, or file if you think it might be important.2. Task listsI have started to become really obsessive about task lists; there is nothing worse than forgetting to do something. Use Post-it notes, scraps of paper, some smart software, whatever works for you, but it is essential to keep a list. However here is the thing most people forget, for a list to be useful you have to look at it regularly!Personally I consider myself in the upper echelons of the world’s note takers; I have ‘to-do’ lists everywhere. However I am terrible at reviewing them. To solve my conundrum I turned to Google Tasks. It works well for me and basically annoys me into submission.3. PresenceMost of us work in some sort of team and there is nothing more frustrating than a team member going AWOL. My third tip is about presence. Set up a simple way of letting everyone communicate their availability. At Actinic we tend to live in Skype chat, so there is always a constant stream of information going between the team members, but we also use an internal message board for keeping each other updated. Why not try something as simple as an open diary allowing people to log their week?While all of these tips may sound obvious, keeping all the plates spinning can be difficult. As nomads, our effectiveness in these areas defines us to our colleagues. While some of us are fastidiously organised, there are just as many of us that would forget our head if it wasn’t screwed on. There are lots of ways of achieving the three points above so I recommend finding something that works and sticking to it.What works for you?