I’m really excited as I write this: iAdd for iPhone is live on the App Store [and that’s an iTunes link for the impatient one]. It’s been a long journey, but I’m finally there. 🙂
Why is this so important for me? Why is this not just another product launch in the day to day routine of launching products? Because this is what you’re supposed to do if you’re running (even a very small) software company, right? You’re releasing products.
Well, iAdd is special. iAdd is part of a bigger personal breakthrough. If you’re just an iPhone app junkie (which means we’re sharing a big common interest here) go ahead and click on the iTunes link, buy the app, (it’s only 2.99 USD) and start using it. It will change your life.
But if you’re a little bit curious about how I came up with this productivity app, take 7 to 10 minutes off from your regular duties and start reading, I promise it won’t take more than that.
Being A Productivity Junkie
I had my share of GTD from its early days, back in 2005-2006. I was fascinated by the system, excited by its promise (“mind like water”) and extremely enthusiast by the actual implementation. I started to GTD in 2006 and I was an evangelist until 2008. But at some point, something started to feel a little bit wrong.
I was still doing incredibly more “stuff” than before using GTD and I also was pretty balanced when it came to personal / professional life. But then again, something was out of sync with the bigger picture. In a few months I had to admit that I was over GTD. Precisely, over the GTD hype. Just click on that link and you’ll find out more about what I kept and what I threw out form my GTD experiment.
This was the beginning of a long and somehow confusing process. There were many situations in which I needed the power of GTD, but then again there were situations in which GTD as a framework seemed inflexible and downright awkward. I fell off the GTD wagon and didn’t embarked on a new train.
Even more, the whole productivity thing started to feel artificial and unnatural. That was the time when I discovered what I still call the productivity trap. Just read the article and you’ll know what I mean.
Natural Productivity – What The Frack Is This?
Sometimes more than a year ago, during one of my trips to Thailand, I suddenly discovered something so simple, yet so powerful, that left me puzzled for a few weeks. Please stop smiling and don’t even think to write some smart comments about what people are usually discovering in Thailand, because I know what you mean ;-). Right now I’m talking about productivity, ok?
So, I discovered that we’re not always in the same state. We, as human beings, are not designed only to get things done. We’re not made only to Do. We’re also made to Assess our environment and to Decide whether or not we’re going to do something. Some of you may say that this is a very simple discovery. And they’ll be perfectly right, by the way. I told you it was something really, really simple.
A few weeks later, my own life management workflow, called Assess – Decide – Do was ready. From that point, several approaches were made, including ADD for programming and ADD for relationships. Feel free to dig into these articles if you wanna know more about the framework.
Right now, just for the sake of the presentation, I will rehash some of the concepts, just to give you a short heads up:
Assessment is the state in which you analyze, compare, learn and store your experiences.
Decision is the state in which you project your next reality. You’re coming to this stage after finishing an assessment session completely.
Doing is the state in which you’re using focus to create your next reality. You’re doing only after you have a clear decision to follow.
Each of these states are maintained by your focus and you’re shifting from one state to another by being in flow.
Flow is not a measurable concept although we can refer to it as bigger, lower or we can define some quality of it. Flow is usually perceived as your capacity of enjoying and alignment with your current context. Most of what we call joy, happiness or exhilaration is in one way or another a variation of a great flow we’re experiencing.
If focus will be the main tool for creating your reality we may refer to the flow as the master glue for keeping the pieces together. A healthy flow will allow you to go from a complete assessment to an atomic decision and that will lead to a totally immersed activity of doing.
Well, that’s what I call natural productivity.
Now back to the iPhone app. How do you implement this workflow using the iPhone app?
First of all, the app only has 3 tabs, each one corresponding to a specific realm. They’re even named like that: “Assess”, “Decide” and “Do”. Also, each tab has an icon which will intuitively let you know what you’re allowed to do in that specific realm.
Assess has a “+” sign as an icon, meaning that’s the place where you add stuff to your plate. This is where you overload your system with data. The theme color is red, which means: “stop and empty your brain” before moving further.
Decide has a “?” sign as an icon, meaning that’s the place where you decide if, when and where are you going to perform a certain task or to attend to a specific event. The theme color of this realm is orange, which means: “pay attention and be prepared”.
Do has a “-” sign as an icon, meaning that’s the place where you actually take out stuff from your system, by doing it. You cross of things as you do them. The theme color of this realm is green, which means: “you’re good to go”.
Pretty simple, right? Exactly, that’s the ideas behind the whole framework. Now, what happens after you add something to the system, after you’re using your “+”?
Well, you can edit that piece of information, right in the Assess realm, choosing what type of info is: task, idea, event or project.
Once you’re ready, you can either send it to Decide, in case you wanna decide when and where are you going to do it, either assign it to a collection, meaning you’re going to decide about it later.
Once in the Decide realm, all you have to do is to set a date, a place (most of the time you’re going to use a previously defined Context for the place) and a priority. After you assigned that, you’re ready to send it to Do. You won’t be able to send a task without a due date. Simply because a task without a due date is a task upon you didn’t decided yet.
From here, you can either do that task, and delete it after that, either skip it, in which case the task will appear as overdue. Only if the task is overdue, you can start the reverse process, sending the task back to Decide and from Decide to Assess, if you want. Most of the time you will only send it back to Decide, to assign a new due date.
That’s all there is to it. Really.
Before launching it I used the app for more than 2 months. One thing I noticed is that my overall state was significantly steadier than before using it. Not too much inner pressure for doing certain things, not too much anxiety. I still had a lot to do during those 2 months. And I’m a really focused guy and I do like to do my stuff, so it wasn’t about me becoming lazy. It really had something to do with the way I structured my activities. I won’t say that iAdd for iPhone will completely eliminate anxiety from your life, but it will certainly give you a much steadier structure. Why?
Tasks in Assess aren’t going to be done. Not yet. And that’s ok. You don’t really have to. Even more, they’re not even tasks, until you “sign a contract” to do them. They’re just things you’re assessing. You can modify them, you can even delete them, you can store them in a collection for further reference.
In Decide, you set the context and time for a certain task. At that moment, the piece of information from Assess becomes an actionable entity. A task or an event. You’re not assessing it anymore, you’re making a decision. But that’s all there is to it, only a decision. Until you actually send it to the Do realm, the task can stay in the Decide realm for as long as you’re comfortable with.
And in Do, you don’t have to focus on how or why (it’s been done in Assess), nor on when and when (it’s been done in Decide), all you have to do is… well, doing it. 🙂
This approach fits really well in your daily routine. You may have hours (or even days) in which you love to be a doer. Focus on the Do and start crossing off tasks. Sometimes, you’re in a planning mood. Just go in Decide and start allocate tasks and events to specific contexts and days. You don’t have to do them, just sign the contract that you’re going to do them at some point. And sometimes you’re just brainstorming (that’s the professional term for daydreaming, by the way). That too is perfectly ok. You are allowed to do this. Just write it down in the Assess realm and enjoy the process. You may turn those ideas into projects later if you really want to.
The Upcoming Ebook On ADD
But wait. There’s more. While I was working on all of these ADD related tasks (like the blog posts above, the app, etc) I realized there’s need for an organized way to put all these concepts together.
So, I started to write an ebook which will deal exclusively with this ADD framework. I’m over half way to it, and I expect it to be ready in a few weeks. I don’t know the exact date (I’m still assessing it), but I’m confident that it will be ready soon. Confident enough to give you a small teaser here, that is.
You may even consider this a soft pre-launch. I know there’s quite a hype on the blogs lately with these soft launches. Well, now I have mine too. 🙂
iAdd On The App Store
Now, that was really all about the app. You can go to the App Store now, by clicking this link and buy it. 2.99 USD is a really small price to be paid for putting your life together. Wow, sometimes I feel like the worst salesman in the world, you know? 😉
The price will stay at 2.99 USD for a while, but as I will roll out the next features (because there is a roadmap which will include a lot of amazingly interesting features, and I mean it) well, as I will roll out these features, I may shift it up a little. I’m not sure yet, I’m still assessing it, so when I’ll make a decision about it, you’ll know.
Until then, enjoy it. 🙂