Have you ever missed a detail on a project or forgotten to do something that would have moved you closer to reaching a critical goal? I have. It feels terrible. Dropping the ball happens when we have too much going on yet we don’t have a reliable system in place to remind us what to do at the proper time.

The other thing that happens to us is we tend to create to-do lists that are made up of projects instead of distinct, doable action items.  The problem with a list like that is you can’t do a project, you can only do a next step.

I can’t take credit for those brilliant thoughts. They come from David Allen’s system called Getting Things Done, or GTD for short. If you haven’t read Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, I highly recommend you get yourself a copy. Mine is dogeared and in danger of losing pages from so much use.

I love GTD but that isn’t my one big tip.

If you decide to adopt GTD, your first job will be to capture all those tasty bits of data swirling about in your brain – you know, the things that you haven’t written down because you’re sure you’ll remember them at the right place and the right time (you won’t) and the sticky notes covering your monitor or falling out of your daily agenda, as well as the folded pieces of paper you shoved in your laptop bag. Many of us use Evernote as our ideal capture-and-hold tool. I wouldn’t know what to do without it. It has to be the world’s best digital filing system. It works on Windows, Mac, iOS – and will sync across all your devices. It’s free to download at http://evernote.com/products/.

Wait… that’s not my one big tip. Not yet.

As  much as I love Evernote, it has one downfall in that it’s not a great tool for capturing to-do items, or even for outlining the steps of a project. I’ve tried lots of systems to augment my tried-and-true Evernote buckets: Astrid, Any.do, Wunderlist, Remember The Milk, Nozbe… and lots more. None were satisfactory. Either they weren’t available on all operating platforms (not a good thing if you expect your system to work on your phone, PC and tablet or iPod), or they didn’t sync reliably, or they required double entry. Evernote did roll out reminders a few weeks ago – but there’s no calendar function attached. Ugggh. I was quite frustrated with all the work arounds I needed. Until this week…

Here it is.

Here’s my one big tipIQTell.

IQTELL integrates all your calendars, works seamlessly with Evernote, is available on all platforms, and will sync multiple email accounts into one powerful dashboard. It has a lovely project planning window that invites you to indicate which of the many required steps is THE NEXT STEP and – at the proper time – it will mercilessly remind you of this impending NEXT STEP until you either mark it done or chuck your smartphone out the window. Exactly what you want when you have umpteen projects on the go and little room for error.

I love IQTELL — and no, I do not work for them and I am not being paid to say that. Here’s the most ridiculous thing to relate — IQTELL is free. Go now and download it.

Next, I’ll write about how to use IQTELL to get your email inbox to zero. Yes, that’s right – zero email messages in your inbox. Look for Email Zen tomorrow.

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