The title is deliberately misleading. No I’m not working with law enforcement, nor am I Feds. However, I am working with something that do indeed inform my everyday movement, most immediate appropriate tasks, and allows me to visualize time and conduct in a synchronized fashion. I’m referring to Fanatic Software’s Informant for iOS and MacOS. Often I’m probed with how I manage everything that I do. “Adrian, you’re a father, husband, mentor, school counselor and teacher, social changer, and business owner; how do you do it?” Of course I reply “no easy feat”, but my second (and sometimes first) response is usually noting and attributing my organization skills to Informant. While my methodology and/or organizational philosophy is rooted in David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” (GTD) and Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Higly Successful People”, my tool of choice is Fanatic Software’s 15 year matured software.
Time is my most valued asset. I don’t give it away easily. Further, what I do within my time is calculated and deliberate, which I cherish as a personal strength. Needless to say that Informant allows me to anchor my most valuable investments of time. That usually revolves around my family, health, friends, and community. Each week I commit an hour and 30 minutes on Fridays to plan and project. David Allen coins this as “master mode”. Essentially, it’s the time I can enjoy Informant to its fullest.
Informant displays my 7 day week in a cleverly proportional, visual diagram, which allows me to ‘hover’ over the week in macro-managerial position.
My non-negotiable master mode, which I refer to as “chai time”, occurs every Friday at 1:30pm. Depending on my mood or convenience, I team up with my iPad Pro or MacBook Pro starting with the “Column Week” view. Scanning through the next 7 days, noting any upcoming appoints or scheduled events, I input the automatic high priority events: spending time with sons, working out, date night with wife, and graduate studies. Stephen Covey refers to this as “boulders” because it’s consider the valuable important things in your life that you deliberately give more time too. Informant displays my 7 day week in a cleverly proportional, visual diagram, which allows me to ‘hover’ over the week in macro-managerial position. If I have two or three days with numerous events that I need to reconcile, I can specifically focus on that area in “Day View” which allows me to expand or contract the amount of days to review. Ultimate intentionally with my projected time.
Afterward, I throw in the next tier of items which usually are tasks that take more than 10 minutes to complete: grocery shopping, laundry, community projects, errands, etc. Depending on the month or time of year, I often scan the “Agenda View” or “Month View” to overlook several weeks in advance striving to be a little more intentional.
Informant provides a method to observe an infinite amount of tasks with the ability to contextualize, filter, and reorganize in numerous ways.
After assessing the landscape of the next 7 days, I scan through tasks to make sure I have clear perspective of the short-term or long-term projects. Task or todo lists are productive to me. With a seamless coded feature with GTD, Informant provides a method to observe an infinite amount of tasks with the ability to contextualize, filter, and reorganize in numerous ways. Heading over to “Projects” filter under “Tasks”, I quickly assess and manage the ungoing projects and close out any that have been completed. Carefully reviewing each project, I determine the next best actionable item for each project (If i haven’t already determined it during the week). For instance, operating my business contracts, I have a project for each ongoing contract, and I develop actionable items for each project to continue progress and maintain professionalism. If I think of an actionable item, I immediately toss in the project and process the task. Anything else that comes to mind, beyond the projects, I toss it in the “Inbox”. This is my task freestyle moment, the moment to dump everything, that needs to get done, out of the brain. Once I get started, I usually spit out 10 to 15 tasks on a productive week, sometimes more if I’ve been off my game.
Informant on IPad Pro and Mac OS allows me to use key commands when entering new tasks and switching tabs (MacOS only), which is impressive because it tricks me into thinking I know something about computers. After I complete my task freestyle, I move to the “Inbox” to process all tasks that I dumped in there, assigning tags, context, action, and priority. I end master mode by moving to “Next Actions” and “In Progress” filter to determine if there are any outstanding tasks that got pushed back throughout the week. This is basic maintenance and clean-up. Informant for iOS puts everything at your finger tip while offering, customizable configurations and colors to see tasks by important roles or functions. My tags are my roles or mulitple hats I wear. Informant combines the tags with an ability to assign an unique color to give shape to what I’m observing. But the visual appeal is just the icing. The unique assigned colors provides a mental indicator to assess if more energy and time is spent in one role versus another. For productivity enthusiast, this a good beacuse it allows one to shift time and resources to strike a balance in our roles, preventing role strain.
The potency of my daily focus and productivity resides in how much I trust and stick to the “Focus”.
The multi-platform versatility of Informant provideds me the mobility and access to know
what’s important and next while on the go. Using in “Informant Sync”, my chai time becomes my daily focus throughout the week. Each morning, upon waking, I grab my iPhone and tune into my favorite feature of the software, the “Focus” screen. I take five minutes to scan through my processed tasks in the “Next Action” filter (Task) and select a number of items to accomplish on that day. On the weekend I set both ‘today’ and ‘tomorrow’ tasks. The potency of my daily focus and productivity resides in how much I trust and stick to the “Focus”. Feature rich Informant provides, my weather, events with departure and arrival estimates, along with my most reasonable action items for the day, all in one screen.
For the charismatic productivity guru, Informant for iOS and Mac incorporates numerous other features for networking and management. While I don’t use the contacts and notes as much, I like the capacity of setting meetings with people and the software inquiries my native contacts and associates their location, number, and email information with the event. Powerful!
In my everyday, up to 400+ individuals rely upon me to be “on”, “ready”, and “present”. I wear mulitple hats at any given time of the hour and creativity is a commodity that arrives out of mental clarity. How do I accomplish such feat? I work with an Informant. A powerful software that repositions my awareness into an efficient managerial position, to be calculated and intentional with my time and action.
(The author is not affiliated with Fanatic Software company beyond a loyal customer.)