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Protocols

The benefit of having your subconscious make decisions isn't so much that it's a better decision maker than your conscious mind (it's probably not), but that it can make decisions much much faster than your conscious mind. You don't have to spend your focus and energy making decisions that you already have heuristics for.

For example, when I play poker, many of the decisions are made by my subconscious. This allows me to make many good analyses per minute, rather than just a few, and to dedicate my conscious processing to the most important factors at hand. It's not that I couldn't do all of the processing consciously, it's just that I wouldn't have time.

In the same way that offloading work to your subconscious helps you make decisions and opinions faster, I've found that implementing protocols has helped me take action faster, and has been a key component of my recent increase in productivity.

When you think about it, most of what you do is the same every day. The way you wake up, eat your meals, go to sleep, approach your work, and utilize your free time all follow predictable patterns. If that's true-- why don't we optimize these things for maximum efficiency?

How to use Evernote: Starting your day right

On Mike Dariano

I've been through all the task, checklist, and to-do apps out there. Evernote is supposedly working on one but until then I've found a nice workaround in my notebooks. Each day I create a note for tomorrow in my daily journal notebook. These notes are places for me to put one line items about what happens each day. If I make a phone call, have a meeting, or need to expand on what happens I link the one line to a new note.

How I've begun using Evernote as a checklist is to make up the list of thing I would like to do the night before then that day's note has my list. On February sixth for example, when I woke up and had an hour to work I wanted to complete those seven things. Usually I try to have only four things there but some of them were simpler and required less time.

Then I also try to plan my day. I've also found that when accounting for travel times my Google Calendar doesn't have enough details for me. For busier days then I'll make up a list of things I need to do and when I need to do them. For this note, my meeting at work didn't begin until 4PM but I had to leave my house at 245PM so I could do other things before my meeting. Same thing with going to church that night.

I once read an article about a new mother who was finishing law school and writing a book and she said that her number one productivity tip was to have her laptop out with a cup for coffee in the morning along with her list of three things to do right away. That way, when she woke up her list was prioritized and she was less likely to drop into Facebook for five minutes - which really means fifteen.

See more ways to use Evernote

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