Why time management principles trump software tools – Pick Dave’s Brain

This week’s question comes from Johnny in Redmond, Washington. He asks:

Q: Hi! I’m an international student in 10th grade, and I’m looking to improve my time management habits. I watched your “Time Management Fundamentals” course on LinkedIn Learning. How can I use your method most effectively with Omnifocus?

Click to tweet this: The foundation of time-management isn’t the software you like, but the firm principles you need. @DaveCrenshaw

Video transcript:

Can using Tupperware make you more productive? I’m Dave Crenshaw, and it’s time to Pick Dave’s Brain!

This week’s question comes from Johnny in Redmond, Washington. He says:

Johnny:

Hi! I’m an international student in 10th grade, and I’m looking to improve my time management habits. I watched your “Time Management Fundamentals” course on LinkedIn Learning. How can I use your method most effectively with Omnifocus?

Dave Crenshaw:

Well first of all Johnny, thanks for asking this question. I think it’s great that someone your age is reaching out and looking to get help.

And when it comes to using a tool like Omnifocus, which is a software tool to help people get organized, I am going to give you an answer that you probably weren’t expecting, which is—no. I don’t have anything that will teach you how to use that specifically.

And the reason is: I make my training universal when it comes to the tools. Let me give you the kind of a bigger picture on this.

I view my training in three stages. The first stage are [the] principles; this is most important and they’re timeless. The second stage are the systems. These are things that may change over time, but it’s just a process that people can follow. And the last stage are the tools. These would be a tool like Omnifocus, or Gmail, or Outlook–whatever it is that you’re choosing to use–and tools can change over time.

If I made a training just about Omnifocus or Gmail, it would be so specific that it would leave out all the other people that are using a variety of popular and successful tools. But by focusing on the principles first, we make it universal. I’ll give you an example.

One of the principles that I teach is that everything has a home and no visitors allowed. That is timeless, that will not change. The system is how you go about processing the items in deciding where to put them in your office. That may change…but it’s pretty firm. The tool, though, could be like using a Tupperware container. I could use any type of container. It doesn’t change the systems and the underlying principles.

So in your case, with using Omnifocus, what I’d suggest is as you go through the course, ask yourself question “What are the principles here and how can I use my tool to live the principles?” That way, you put what matters most first.

Now if you want additional help on how to use Omnifocus, there are courses on LinkedIn Learning that you can use to strengthen your understanding of the tool. That will make it far easier for you to live the timeless principles of Time Management Fundamentals.

Great question, Johnny!

And if you have a question that you’d like to pick Dave’s brain, all you need to do is click on the link at the bottom of this video, or go to DaveCrenshaw.com/ask and I’ll be there to answer your question!


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