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Using Digital and Analog Tools Together, Using Hazel to Go Paperless, and More

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The Brain vs. The List »

The Brain vs. The List

When you are creating your “ideal productivity system” you need to keep one thing in mind. Your productivity system needs to serve you and your goals.

”A good productivity system should help you do the things that matter” – Shawn Blanc

Your system should empower you to be focused and get your most important tasks, goals, and projects done. There are a lot of ways to do this. Shawn uses the Hybrid-Productivity method (along with many of us here at Blanc Media HQ). We are going to dive into two of the core components of this method known as The Brain and The List.

A Hybrid-Productivity Method means that you use both digital and analog tools: apps and notebooks. You use digital apps, like a digital Calendar, task list manager, and writing app, while also using analog tools, like a good old-fashioned notebook.

Let’s dive into the specifics of The Brain and The List.

Notion Quick Capture Hacks »

Notion Quick Capture Hacks

If you’ve been around here at all or are a fan of the Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) world, you’re no stranger to the term “Quick-Capture”. Quick Capture is an essential component of a good PKM system. Since Notion is my go-to app for pretty much everything, I’ve worked out a few ways to create a good system for quick capture in Notion.

New to Notion? Check out our Beginners Guide to Notion here.

A few months ago, Mike Schmitz (our resident Obsidian and PKM expert) hosted a PKM workshop for our January cohort of the Focus Academy. He talked about the important components of a good PKM system and how no single app will be a complete PKM system. It is a collection of apps that allow you to disseminate ideas from note-taking to quick capture to creative output. You might collect and organize your ideas in Notion, write about them in Ulysses, and drop your projects back in Notion, but having ideas and making sure you capture them is a key first step.

In this article, we are going to focus mostly on how to quickly capture ideas and notes into Notion.

How Notion’s Relational Databases Connect Everything Together »

How Notion’s Relational Databases Connect Everything Together

What’s so great about relational databases?

We have been big fans of Notion for a while now, and relational databases are what makes Notion, well Notion. If you had a lot of organized spreadsheets next to each other that would be great, but in Notion your organized spreadsheets talk to each other. Relational databases connect everything together.

You can see which projects are connected to which clients and what contractors you hired for that project, or how much you need to bill a client for that project, and more — all in one place. It’s pretty great.

Quick Tip: Using Hazel to Auto-File Your Documents »

Quick Tip: Using Hazel to Auto-File Your Documents

Years ago, Shawn embarked on his journey to go “paperless” in his personal and work life. Inspired by David Sparks’ Paperless Field Guide, he incorporated three important components:

  1. iPhone Scanning App
  2. Doxie Go Scanner
  3. Hazel

In this Quick Tip, we are mostly going to focus on Hazel, but the scanners are worth a brief mention. Office scanners are great if you have a decent amount of stuff to scan and you want good-quality scans. iPhone scanning apps are ideal for scanning things quickly on the go. As digital as the world has become, we still have to scan stuff (receipts, medical bills, important documents — no matter how many times you “opt-in for paperless post”).

How to Startup and Shutdown Your Day with Sunsama »

How to Startup and Shutdown Your Day with Sunsama

Way, way back when, Shawn showed off one of his cool tricks for spurring the creative juices each morning. Rather than sitting down cold turkey at the computer to begin work for the day, Shawn would leave a note right in front of his keyboard the prior evening outlining the next step, the next idea, or the next topic to write. Rather than sitting down to chaos, the note provided a clear path forward for Shawn.

This was my first introduction to a “startup” routine.

Honestly, the introduction didn’t root — I only developed a startup routine about five or six months ago.

I had no idea what I was missing. Since adopting my own startup routine, I’ve never felt so in control. I wake up in the morning with a new shot of confidence and a spurt of energy because I know what’s coming. I know what I’m in for. Less reaction. More action.

I can point the rooting of this startup routine to the discovery of Sunsama. Sunsama has done a number of things for my life in recent months. The app has rooted this startup routine and is developing a shutdown routine. The app helps me come to grips with an immense workload and an acceptance of my limits each day. The app helps track my time, carve out moments of personal time, and ensure my actions are aligned with my objectives each week. Sunsama has quickly become one of the most fundamental apps in my workflow.

This startup routine, though? It’s this startup routine in Sunsama which has altered how I work.

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Interesting Links From Our Friends and Around the Web »

Our Must-Have, Most Used Productivity Apps

We spend an inordinate amount of time sorting through hundreds of apps to find the very best. We put together a short list of our must-have, most-used apps for increasing productivity.

Send me the roundup »