The Power of Printing to PDF

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The Portable Document Format (PDF) is a file format I use very frequently. One of its key properties is that it is readable and printable on almost any platform you can think of, while maintaining the look-and-feel of the original document.

Besides receiving and reading a lot of PDFs daily, I also create and distribute a lot of PDF files. It is a common misconception that creating PDF files is complicated and expensive. In fact, I’m using very easy to use, open source software to create my PDFs.

For today I want to share a few useful productivity tricks with you concerning PDF files!
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3 Quick-and-Dirty Productivity Tips

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I’m still amazed at how well my current GTD system is working for me. I’ve made a few minor tweaks but essentially I’ve been using the same system for over 6 months now!

It also never ceases to amaze me how well the entire GTD concept fits into my personal and professional life. I can’t really imagine how to be productive, effective and organized without it anymore! So, it seems my search for the “perfect” GTD system is finally over and I can safely conclude that GTD has become an important foundation for structuring my life.

You may have noticed that I’ve been busy over the past couple of months. I’ve been busy at work and with my family, but I’ve also spent quite some time catching up on my reading and learning more and more about productivity, personal development, NLP, life purpose, achieving goals, coaching, success and financial freedom. More on that later, I’ve got some things brewing!

For now, I would like to share 3 quick-and-dirty productivity tips with you. These tips have proved to be useful in combination with GTD to help me keep organized and decluttered.
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Lists: To Do vs Action vs Next Action

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This post originally appeared about 1 month ago as a guest post on whatsthenextaction.com.

We are all making lists. Especially if you are into Productivity in general and GTD more specifically, you will be very familiar with making lists. Odds are you are making these lists to keep track of all the things you need to do to make progress in certain (or all) areas of your life and to be reminded of them at the appropriate time.

But are you making the right list? Are you maintaining your list? Are you sticking to your list? And is your list encouraging you to actually get things done and achieve your goals?

From my personal experience and from what I see around me, I want to show you different lists and why one is better than the other for getting things done. More importantly, I will show you how to create an effective list which is attractive, encouraging and easy to maintain.
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Results of 1 Year of GTD

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After consistently applying GTD for close to one year now, I can safely conclude that valuable and lasting productivity habits have formed in my life.

Like many other people, I have studied and used several productivity systems. I picked up various useful principles and techniques from them, but none of them seemed to fully apply to my life. As fun as it is playing around with various productivity systems and changing one for the other occasionally, I was looking for concrete and lasting results. Sounds familiar?

About one year ago when I encountered GTD and started applying it to my life, I immediately noticed how easily it could be adapted to my life. It didn’t take months to get started, it didn’t need difficult or expensive tools and most of all it just made sense! GTD is easy to integrate into your personal as well as your professional life. All of this makes it easier to apply it consistently and you start to see results almost immediately.

Let’s take a look at some of the valuable and lasting habits that have formed in my life as a direct and concrete result of applying GTD for one year. Believe me, it does get easier after one year and these habits could be part of your life right now!
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5 Tips for Fast and Effective Learning

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This post originally appeared about one month ago as a guest post on Gearfire.

If only I had known a little bit more about accelerated and effective learning when I was still a student! That would have saved me a lot of frustration and, most of all, precious time.

Fortunately, learning and learning to learn well, will always be one of the most valuable skills in your personal and professional life. My point is to start building these skills as soon as possible, preferably when you are still a student.

Fast and effective learning is a skill for life and I could talk about it for days. However, to get you started I will give you 5 powerful tips on how to learn more, how to learn well and how to learn effectively.

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Five Phases of Project Planning

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This is a guest post by Ian McKenzie of Ian’s Messy Desk

David Allen says, regardless of task size, the human brain goes through what he calls a Natural Planning Model. These are five phases our brain works through when accomplishing tasks. He goes on to say that we should use this natural model when planning projects.

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3 Tips for Embracing Analog Productivity

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This is a guest post by Geoff R. of Gearfire.net

A year ago, if someone asked me “paper or digital?” for just about anything, I would say digital. Today, I will probably still say digital in many situations, but I am trying to make an effort to embrace paper and pen productivity.

Paper offers distinct advantages over digital, such as better portability, no fatal system crashes, and ease of data transfer. However to me, these have always been overshadowed by the advantages of digital. While writing is linear, digital has no limits, as it can be copied, re-organized, or deleted with ease. It can also handle large amounts of data easier, offer more advanced features, and you can backup your data without spending time copying it out, or running to the photocopier. On top of that, I am a fast and accurate typer, but my writing is not so great.

Recently though, I have been craving some of paper’s advantages, such as portability, and ability to transfer to other people quickly and easily (rip it out and hand it to them). On top of that, I discovered Myndology notebooks, which allow you to add, remove, and re-organize sheets using a cool disc-bound system. Think
3-ring binder, but with 10-rings or any size you want it to be. It’s like paper 2.0.

I can now see the importance of embracing both analog and digital media. Even though the world is getting more and more technologically advanced, paper isn’t leaving any time soon. Here are my 3 tips for embracing analog productivity.

1. Find what you like about digital, then apply that to paper.
For me, the big problem with paper was that writing is linear, where as type is dynamic. However, using a disc-bound system such as Myndology allows me to add, remove and re-organize pages. It may not be as good as completely dynamic text, but it is an extra advantage that I enjoy. You can check out my review on Myndology here.

2. Spend money on your system, and make sure you like it.
If you can warrant dropping $400 for a cool new PDA gadget, then certainly you can invest $50 into notebooks, paper, or whatever else you need for your personal productivity system.

3. Try out new concepts and technologies with your paper productivity system.
As with computer software, paper will evolve, and you may be interested in trying new concepts. The saying goes “Evolve or die”, and I don’t think you want your productivity system to die!

Geoff R. is a student of productivity, organization, and GTD writer from Canada. He blogs at Gearfire.net, with a group of other high school and university GTD writers. You can subscribe to their RSS feed here.

Maximize Productivity #3: Eat That Frog

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This is my third post in a series in which I will show you how to maximize productivity by combining GTD with other powerful time management techniques. The other posts in this series are listed at the end of this entry.

Today’s tip for maximizing productivity is borrowed from one of my favorite authors (Brian Tracy) and involves having something very interesting for breakfast: a frog! ;)

“Eat that frog” is synonymous with doing the hardest, most important task of the day first, before anything else!

I will show you how to wash down that tasty frog with a cup of GTD.

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Maximize Productivity #2: Forced Efficiency

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This is my second post in a series in which I will show you how to maximize productivity by combining GTD with other powerful time management techniques. The other posts in this series are listed at the end of this entry.

Today’s tip for maximizing productivity comes from Brian Tracy once again and introduces the law of forced efficiency. I will show you a list of 4 questions that – when answered clearly and honestly – will provide insight in the most important activities you should be doing. Finally, I will show you how to use the law of forced efficiency to extend the power of GTD.

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Maximize Productivity: Make a Decision

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In this post (and future posts) I will show you how to maximize productivity by combining GTD with other powerful time management techniques.

To really get things done in my personal and professional life, I am constantly and successfully applying the principles of David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” methodology.

Whenever I can, I combine or enhance my GTD “framework” with other time management principles and techniques. One specific source of inspiration for this is Brian Tracy and his books about, for instance, success and productivity.

In this post (and upcoming posts) I will first share some principles and techniques that I learned from Brian Tracy. I will also discuss the power and effectiveness of combining these productivity techniques with GTD.

Today’s productivity tip: Make a decision.

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