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Getting Things Done with SaneBox

I experienced an epiphany spike in early June while writing a short book, and it’s been one of the best ones in years. Consultant Dave Allen and his GTD (Getting Things Done) reminder about focusing on the most important thing “now” and avoiding distractions couldn’t have been more timely.

Yes, I know…there is still that contingent which will equate “I’m so busy!” with “I’m so important!”

I’m over it.

I like to play hard and work hard, and in that order. To do so requires an almost neurotic level of time management skills, which I possess. Once in a while, obligations from several businesses, civic activities, and personal life converge into the perfect storm of ‘whoa!’. I go into a mode where my biggest priority is getting the important stuff done as quickly and efficiently as possible so I can get back to…

Playing hard.

I’m there now, and anyone who knows me well can appreciate what I truly mean when I say I have no extra bandwidth. Those people get it, and immediately try to find ways to reduce my chaos and improve my lifestyle.

After telling a handful of people I was a week behind and over four thousand emails had accumulated, some ignored it and continued trying to acquire my time. Still others wrote ‘sorry to hear that’ and went on their merry way. One or two launched into their own horror story du jour, mistakenly believing I wanted to play the ‘important’ game. The rest sent me information about tools they and staff used so they could better prioritise and remain productive.

One of these was SaneBox. The other was AwayFind.

SaneBox has an algorithm that filters emails into two categories — those that need your immediate attention, and messages that aren’t pressing. It reduces distractions straight away, particularly for those of us who aren’t easily tempted to read or accept every invitation (email) which lands in our inbox.

AwayFind’s goal is to deliver 3% of your super urgent emails by sending a timely message to your mobile device via SMS, Voice call or, an iPhone or Android app. A slightly different solution than SaneBox, which is getting the majority of email out of your inbox.

Although I presented quite a challenge with nearly 90k sorted emails, both companies offer fantastic products which have exponentially improved my efficiency and thus, my life. Without getting into all the details of how each works, I will simply say Go. Get. Them. Now.

You will note some amusing comments for SaneBox in particular, with users essentially threatening to ‘harass the hell out of Mr. Leonov’  if the company goes under for any reason and the poster has to return to the old email way. It’s that good.

Getting back to David Allen…want to know your GTD-Q? Take a brief quiz (be truthful!) and if you’re brave enough, let me know how you scored.

Doña Keating is President and CEO of Professional Options, a prominent innovator in the policy and management consulting industry which provides solutions for businesses, organisations and governmental agencies. She is also a principal in K2 Strategic Solutions, a partnership between Professional Options and Keating Consulting Service which has a combined 50 year history of providing information technology, policy, and management consulting. Keating’s latest book, “How to Avoid the Pitfalls of Nonprofit Hell”, offers pithy observations and solutions borne of decades of service on non profit boards and committees, advising them, or facilitating executive retreats.

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