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I am a big fan of the whole "if you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it" mantra, and while there are some edge cases it tends to work pretty well for the majority of cases.

So, I use:

1. RescueTime to track where my time has gone - after seeing exactly how much time gets sinked into FB/Twitter/App.net sor tof activities I, somehow unexpectedly for myself developed a particular type of anxiety - if I stay on those pages for roughly over a minute it freaks me out and I close it immediately. (I guess it's the realisation of wasting time is freaky).

2. PivotalTracket - to manage the priorities of tasks and to measure my "burn rate".

3. Evernote - I try to stick to the following procedure when reading/watching anything new: 1. Take short notes on stuff being watched/read. Express things using my own words, NOT copy pasting or typing same stuff I just read. 2. Create actionable items from what I read 3. Break those actionable items into PivotalTracket tasks

This helped to reduce the unnecessary news intake dramatically - in the very beginning of each article that I start reading I ask myself - "is it worth taking notes on?" if not - close the tab.


Do you mind expanding on your Evernote strategy? I've thought of doing something similar but have never gotten down an exact system.

Do you take notes on almost everything? How extensive are they usually?

I've always felt like it's too time consuming to take notes (especially in my own words) but also recognize the likely increased retention advantage from doing this.

1. I only take notes on substantial material - something I can learn from - so for instance I don't take notes on news articles that I've read, but I do take notes on relevant to me blog articles, books and videos/video lectures.

For instance I just finished reading a Brennan Dunn's book "Double your freelancing rate" and published the summary in here: http://blog.nimblegecko.com/notes-on-double-your-freelancing...

Or here are the notes on second week of Coursera "how to reason and argue" course - https://www.evernote.com/shard/s42/sh/cf6b1dd3-51aa-4bc0-b94...

Hopefully it gives you an idea on how extensive that is.

2. After I finished writing down the note, I copy its contents into a separate note in Evernote and delete everything that I cannot turn into an actionable item.

For each actionable item I add a tickbox (Cmd-Shift-T).

3. Then I estimate how long it's going to take to execute on that item and add a ticket into PivotalTracker. I normally try to group tickets by epics (product, marketing, consulting etc).

Hope it helps.

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