2018-06-01 // Ways of working //
I’m a big old fan of the GTD methodology for helping me to keep on top of lots of spinning plates and stay sane. If you haven’t come across it before, here’s a great place to start: http://bit.ly/2lL6J24
In Product Management, as with many disciplines, I discover things that I need to do in all kinds of places. Conversations, workshops, meetings, reading, forms, email, IM, forums etc. Manually bringing those things into my GTD workflow is fine, but automating it is even better.
I use Todoist to manage my task list and Zapier to automate the creation of tasks as much as I can. I also have JIRA, Slack, Google Sheets, and Discourse in the mix. Around 30 tasks are created via Zapier every week by 7 automations (zaps), saving me precious time. Here they all are!
New task from a starred email
This is a very straightforward one, and my most used. I get a lot of email that I can’t deal with immediately, so this automation is a real time saver. If I star an email, it will be added to my Todoist inbox as a task for me to pick up later.
New task from a starred Slack message
My second most used automation does much the same thing as the email one above. If I star a message in a Slack channel or DM it will be turned into a task in Todoist.
New Jira bug from task
When I look into something sometimes it’ll be clear that there’s a bug that we’ll need to look into. There’s no use in that continuing to reside in my personal task list, and so this automation creates a bug in JIRA for us to come back to. It includes all the notes I’ve added to the task.
New Jira bug with a follow up task
Sometimes when I create a bug in JIRA using an automation I’d like to come back to it later to follow up on something. This automation will create a new JIRA bug and then pop a follow up task in my Todoist inbox. It’ll even include a link to the bug for me to follow.
New task from forum posts
We use Discourse for our Developer Hub forum. I find it helpful to be notified when people add new posts or comments, and so this automation is a real help. Whenever someone posts a task is created for me to follow up on.
New task from Google Form response
I’m currently running an alpha test for a new Google Sheets add on, and am lucky enough that there’s a steady trickle of people wanting to sign up. Instead of having to keep checking form responses for new participants, this automation will create a task for me whenever someone requests access. Nobody falls through the cracks or has to wait a long time this way.
Let people create tasks whilst I’m away
Coming back from vacation is a pain in the backside when it comes to catching up on email. This automation reduces the pain by giving my colleagues a way to add individual to-do items to my task list directly, meaning that when I come back my actions should be listed out nicely for me to review and prioritise.
All of these automations add tags in Todoist so that I can get insights into where my tasks come from. I am hoping that this information will lead to further workflow improvements in future. I take the time once a month to review how I work and try to optimise things.