In The Four-Hour Workweek, Tim Ferriss advocates radical outsourcing of your life, going so far as to have a personal assistant in Bangalore handle all those nagging details. Whether you go that far or not, one thing all personal productivity and life enhancement gurus say is you need to start by gathering those details into one place, so you can decide whether to handle them yourself or delegate.
In Getting Things Done, David Allen says you should have as few inboxes as possible, but as many as you need, so you can capture all your ideas and projects in a place where you can be sure to process them later.
I personally rely on email as my main inbox (you have to have a physical inbox, too), so I try to get everything possible into my email, where I can move it to appropriate Context, Project or Tickler folders. So when I get an idea if I’m out and about, and I don’t have my trusty PowerBook with me, I typically have pulled out the Blackberry and sent myself an email for later triage.
Thanks to a tip from Michael Hyatt, I now have a better way of doing this for some circumstances. He recently highlighted Jott.com, a free service that takes dictation on your voice messages and sends the transcription to your email inbox. I tried it, and even with my Minneso-o-o-o-otan accent, it does pretty well. Here are a few examples from this morning:
One of cardinal principles of David Allen’s getting things done system is that you need to get everything out of your head and into an external trusted system.
Perfect. Didn’t capitalize the book title, but what would you expect?
I used to use my BlackBerry and hunt and pack key by key to send myself an e-mail with whatever idea it was that had come into my head. Now, instead I can just call this 800 number and it recognizes my caller ID and sends me an e-mail.
One misspelling, but still not bad at all.
One problem I see with this, although it’s not a terrible problem, is that the limit on the length of the message seems to be a little short. So, what we have coming will sometimes be a series of smaller e-mails instead one longer post.
Gotta like that! Used “it’s” instead of “its.” Smart.
I’ve got this set up as a one-touch speed dial on my cell phone. It won’t work from my office phone because the caller ID is the same for every extension, and its the caller ID that tells Jott.com where to send the transcript. But then again, if I’m at the office I can just pull out the laptop and add the note.
Another bonus: if for some reason the transcript was horribly mangled, jott.com lets you listen to the audio file, too.