Reader Question: Eisenhower Quadrant Categories?

Today I’m answering a reader question I received in response to a previous post: How to Setup an Eisenhower Matrix in Nozbe.

Reader Question

Reader Question

Do you still use other categories or do you just stick to these (Eisenhower quadrant) categories?

Also looking at the quadrants that you made, Stephen Covey always talked about working on the important but not urgent items as those end up having more of an impact than working on the important urgent items…The important and urgent items end up distracting us and not allowing us to work on the big picture items.

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As one of Nozbe’s Ambassadors, I was asked to join Chad Garrett, Mike St. Pierre, Matt Olech, and Żaneta Jażdżyk in sharing how we plan our best year ever.

Date: January 25, 2018
Appearance: How productivity gurus set their goals – practical tips from Nozbe Ambassadors
Outlet: Nozbe Blog
Format: Magazine

How to Setup an Eisenhower Matrix in Nozbe

You have too much going on, but you’re trying to get better. That’s why you’re reading posts like this. It feels like all those little tasks are demanding your time and you never have time for the tasks that really matter. We get overloaded with the urgent tasks instead of focusing on what’s important.

Note: The following article originally appeared on Nozbe’s blog where I’m a regular contributor.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Michael has written previously about the importance of living an essentialist lifestyle. One of the best ways to focus on what’s essential is by using a decision-making model that goes back to President and General Dwight Eisenhower: the Eisenhower Matrix.

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Take a stand this month with a digital detox

Why a 30 day goal will give you momentum

We’re already one week into the new year and my gym is packed. But I can already see that people are starting to quit their resolutions. I’ve heard that #resolutionfail is trending on Twitter. I said that “I’ve heard” above because one of my goals this month has been to complete a Digital Detox and I haven’t been on Twitter since December 31st.

After reading Cal Newport’s Deep Work, I decided that a digital detox was something that just needed to happen in my life. I noticed that even though I tried to carefully use social media it always took more of my time than I wanted it to.

I decided to quit cold turkey. But I knew that in order to do it well that I’d have to setup a set of rules that could keep me on track. Sort of like rails for a train.

I pulled up Evernote and started brainstorming all the different ways my digital space is cluttered. I looked at social media, YouTube, all the different blog feeds I follow, and even how I use email.

The first few days were actually pretty easy. I still had the urge to pull out my phone every time I got bored or had a few minutes, but I could handle it.

Then, the other day Facebook sent me more than a few emails letting me know what I was missing. My friend announcing that his wife is pregnant. A discussion going on in one of my favorite groups.

It became instantly clear that Facebook actually missed me and couldn’t handle something else having attention.

I could get along without it, but it couldn’t get along without me. I guess that’s their problem. Not mine.

Anyway, I wanted to share the exact template I used to set the guidelines for my digital detox.

I’m also challenging you to take a stand on one of your goals here in the first 30 days of the year.

Finishing one goal will help give you the momentum to finish the next one. And soon enough you’ll be surprised by what you were able to achieve.

10 Reasons Why Nozbe is the Best Project Management Tool

If you’ve read this blog for more than 10 seconds you know I think Nozbe is the best project management tool out there. I’ve been using Nozbe since 2013 and have built a reputation around helping both individuals and teams get the most out of Nozbe.

10 Reasons why Nozbe is the Best Project Management Tool

Because I wanted to use the best tool, I actually quit using Nozbe in 2014 to experiment with other task management tools like Wunderlist (RIP), Todoist, Asana,, etc. All of these are great tools, but I kept coming back to Nozbe because it came with a team behind it that is dedicated to all things productivity.

Nozbe is an incredible tool that can be adapted to how you or your team works best. Below, you’ll see the 10 features that put Nozbe above the rest of the other apps on the market.

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My Favorite Updates in Nozbe 3.5

Nozbe 3.5 was just released and there are a couple updates I absolutely love.

Nozbe 3.5 Updates.png

1. Custom Repeats

I’ve been waiting for this one.

Before Nozbe 3.5, if I wanted a task to repeat every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I’d create 3 different tasks and have them repeat on a weekly interval.

Now you can finally schedule tasks to repeat on your custom schedule. Feel free to create one task that repeats on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Or how about something that needs to repeat every third Wednesday.

Yep Nozbe now has you covered.

2. Quick Add Customization

I know many of you are Apple fanboys. I love Apple hardware too, but haven’t yet got up the nerve to throw thousands of dollars at them. So here’s my admission…

I’m a Windows user.

There I said it.

Not only that, but my machine is over five years old and is still holding strong.

HP Touchsmart tm2

HP Touchsmart tm2

That said, Nozbe is incredible since it works across all platforms (even Linux).

For quite a while, I’ve been jealous of Nozbe for Mac’s “Quick Add” feature.

This allows you to create a keyboard shortcut to quickly add tasks to your Inbox.

They added support in the previous version, but now you can customize your shortcut to work best in your personal workflow.

This is just another example of how Nozbe makes it easy for you to create a productivity system that is custom designed for how you work.

More Updates

Check out this video to see all the updates to Nozbe 3.5.

Want to give Nozbe a try? Sign up today and get 3 Months of Nozbe Pro free

What Are Your Default Settings?

Chances are you’re familiar with the default settings on your computer or phone. Maybe you never even thought about them.

What about the default settings in your life?

Have you thought about those?

Are they helping or hurting you when it comes to being productive?

Note: The following article originally appeared in the Productive! Magazine No.34 – A monthly dose of inspiring, practical and timeless articles written by the best productivity experts on the Internet. I’m a regular contributor

Defaults determine how devices perform in different situations.

They are the manufacturer presets that control a computer’s hardware or software. The purpose is to create reliable and predictable processes and make work easier.

Defaults help you know how a device works without having to read a manual. Like Apple says…”it just works.”

They help you be more productive because you’ve got a starting point and a standard system to follow.

Sure defaults work for computers, but what about for your productivity?

Here’s a newsflash for you…

People aren’t computers!

But like computers, we do tend to follow a certain set of routines, habits, and actions.

In other words, we usually work from our default settings.

Have you ever noticed how easily influenced you are by your surroundings?

It’s so much easier to get work done when you’re in your ideal environment. Too often, it’s easier to take the path of least resistance.

People tend to make decisions based on the environment instead of what’s in our best interest.

Imagine sitting down to your computer ready to start your work day. You’re feeling productive. But then you see browser tabs filled with new emails and notifications from Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

You’re going to get distracted. And, the mental rush you get from staying busy makes you feel productive. But time slips away.

What about putting your phone next to your bed as an alarm. Sure it’s convenient and can track your sleep. But, are you really surprised when the morning is over and you’re running late?

Too often our default settings are created by chance and circumstance.

It’s time to take control and make defaults work for you rather than against you.

Here is the one step process to reset your default settings:

Change your environment.

Changing default settings is one of the easiest productivity tricks out there if you act with intention. Just change your environment to be in line with the habits you desire and the goals you’re working toward.

For example, don’t leave all your tabs open at the end of the work day just to get distracted first thing tomorrow. Either:

  • shut down all your tabs,
  • or have only the apps/tabs you’ll need for work open when you start the next day

Or perhaps if you’re trying to improve your health, have healthy options available.

Buy seltzer water instead of beer and keep a bowl of nuts or fruit instead of candy. Even if you change nothing else, you’ll improve your health.

What about that alarm clock?

Try using an old-fashioned alarm and put your phone on the other side of the room. Then you won’t be as tempted to sit in bed staring at your screen all morning.

Remember, you are the one in control of your personal productivity.

Just like you can change the defaults on your computer or phone, you get to determine your own default settings.

Design your defaults to start building strong habits that will help you be more productive and accomplish your grandest goals.

If you want help designing the default settings in your life check out some of the resources I’ve put together for busy people like you.

Steal My Automated Blog Workflow Using Nozbe, Zapier, and Google Docs

What if there was a way you could use automation to make blogging, editing, and publishing easier? With productivity systems like Kanban, GTD, and Zapier, I’ve created an automated blog workflow using Nozbe, Zapier, and Google Documents.

Today, you get a behind the scenes look at my automated workflow and have a chance to steal it for yourself.

Blog Writing Project Setup

Kanban is a productivity system made popular by Toyota and has become an integral part of many team workflows. You’ve seen Kanban in action if you’ve ever used the popular app Trello.

The basic Kanban system involves moving tasks through a series of specific phases. Usually this is something along the lines of: To Do, Doing, Done.

This system is great for getting an overview of your current project workload and keeping tabs on all the moving parts. After tracking my blog writing, I came up with four main phases in the process:


As a new post goes through the writing process, the task is moved to the next project in the process.

But, tracking tasks alone wasn’t enough to streamline my process. I wanted to automate the creation of documents, linking tasks and documents, and the creation of my pre-publication checklist.

Start by Tracking the Workflow By Hand

The first step in automating any system is understanding the steps involved when it’s completed manually.

So on my next blog post, I tracked every single step from start to finish. Here’s what I came up with:


What is Zapier: Hint…Automation

Zapier is an awesome tool that, according to their website, helps you

Connect Your Apps and Automate Workflows. Zapier moves info between your web apps automatically, so you can focus on your most important work.

It makes automation easy and available to anyone through both free and paid plans.

What does this mean to you?

It means that you can connect Nozbe to over 500 different apps with endless possibilities. It was those possibilities that helped me create an automated blog workflow.

After a little experimentation, here’s the workflow I eventually came up with.

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3 Key Steps to Help Everything Come Together

Ever have that time in your life where everything just sort of falls into place? Some people say this is creating your own luck while others just look at it as the result of hard work. Over the past few weeks, many different parts of my life are falling in line and I want to share the 3 key steps help everything come together:

  1. Focus on what’s essential
  2. Get personal coaching
  3. Learn to write better

To make this easier, here is one thing to read, one thing to do, and one thing to download to knock out your goals this year.

READ – Productive! Magazine

This week Productive! Magazine published their final magazine and it’s all about essentialism (saying yes to most important and letting everything else go). I was so honored to be featured next to the author of Essentialism himself Greg McKeown.

Greg’s book changed my life last year when I read it and then again this year when I re-read my notes. My favorite quote in the whole book is

If it’s not a clear yes, then it’s a clear no.

This one piece of advice alone helped me really define what matters.

I’ve been able to spend more time with my kids, do better work as a teacher, and follow through with my freelancing commitments.

Even if you don’t read his book, check out his interview in this issue. You’ll learn something for sure.

DO – Get Personal Coaching

Several weeks ago, I was really struggling with how to position my skills when it came to pitching my freelancing services (I’m a technical operations consultant, i.e. I work behind the scenes for big name bloggers and help them streamline operations).

To tackle my problem I got some personal coaching from John Meese, author of Build Your Online Business in 30 Minutes a Day and the Unleash Your Blog Podcast.

Suffice to say, one hour with John discussing my obstacles and options cleared my path forward.

Not only that, but I had actionable items to add to Nozbe ???? and built in accountability with John.

Get 3 free months of Nozbe Pro when you sign up through my link. This is one of the perks of being friends with a Nozbe Ambassador.

Getting personal coaching skyrocketed my motivation and focus.

Today you have an opportunity to get free 1-on-1 productivity coaching with me. Share your thoughts in my 2017 Survey.

It should take less than five minutes, but will really help me make sure I’m writing and creating the content you want and need to streamline your productivity.

==> Click Here to Take the 2017 Reader Survey and get a chance to win FREE Coaching <==

And, THREE lucky people who complete the survey will get free 1-on-1 coaching, but the deadline is March 21st. It’s my way of paying it forward.

DOWNLOAD – $2 Billion Sales Letter

I’m a teacher by trade, and have always known how important it is to write well.

But one of the things that’s annoyed me about school is how most schools never teach writing outside of formal prose. Because formal prose always comes in handy in the real world ????.

What happened to writing that’s practical?

For most people, writing is hard work because crusty old teachers took the joy out of it.

It doesn’t have to be hard if you have the right guide…someone who’s been there and been successful outside academia.

My friend Ray Edwards is the world’s highest paid copywriting coach. He knows a thing or two about writing.

But more importantly, he teaches a writing system that anyone can learn (even a stodgy teacher like me).

Don’t believe you can learn to write well. Did you see the Pixar movie with the rat who cooked? Anyone can do it.

I challenge you.

To help get you started, Ray is making his “The $2 Billion Dollar Sales Letter You’ve Never Heard Of” ebook available for free.

==> Click here to get your free copy <==

I know the title seems like outlandish (and it is…sort of), but once you learn his secret you’ll start to see that writing is easy enough for anyone.

Like I said, learning to write continues to help me share my message with you.

There you have it. The 3 key steps that to it all work.

Question: What action will you take this week to ‘create your own luck and help everything come together? Leave your comment by clicking here.

This week the Productive! Magazine released its final issue with an exclusive interview with Greg McKeown, author of Essentialism.

Included in this issue is my article, What Are Your Default Settings? where I share how you can change your environment and move forward on creating better habits.

It’s quite an honor being published in the same magazine as Greg as well as other productivity leaders such as Laura Stack and S.J. Scott.

Check out this final issue. It’s full of great resources.

Date: February 27, 2017
Appearance: “What Are Your Default Settings?”
Outlet: Productive! Magazine
Format: Magazine