We’ve all read some sort of personal productivity system during our business lives. The problem is finding one that really works for you. The secret is definitely to minimize the number of touches. Here is a little system that is working well for me. Basically 3 layers.


Different colors for different inboxes.
Green: Immediate action or daily action. Items here can be worked on immediately. Tasks can be actioned with no further Discovery.
Red: Calls I need to make. That’s right not emails or texts but real calls to humans.
Yellow: Discovery work. This is work that needs some homework, some preparation before I can push it out my system.
Orange: Meetings – All paperwork related to future meetings, maps, locations, notes, event emails.
Pink: Filing


I keep a running list of items I need to get done in my notebook, constantly updated, sometimes referring to things in my files or my Inbox.

  • I keep a separate file for all managers I work with, listing the current agenda we are working on.
  • Every 2 weeks I do a Progress Report with each manager based on these lists focusing on what has been achieved in THOSE PREVIOUS 2 WEEKS, and what needs to happen next.
The key for me is the ability to trap new actions, new ideas in a consistant way and to have visibility that I’ve followed through. Some might call it execution.