My Three Extra Digital Brains

How I keep things organized in this day and age of information overload with three extra digital brains.
My Three Extra Digital Brains

My Three Extra Digital Brains

In a marketing class back in college, I was blown away by a stat I heard: The average person saw 500 advertisements a day, remembered twelve, and liked six. That statistic illustrates the overwhelming amount of information that is thrown at us every single day. From passwords to recipes, from tasks to packing lists, here is how I add three more brains to help me organize all of it.

Brain #1 - OmniFocus

It should come as no surprise to anyone who has read my blog posts in the past that I am a long time practitioner of Getting Things Done (GTD) and use OmniGroup’s OmniFocus for my “ubiquitous capture” of projects and task. Everything that takes more than one step, or two minutes, gets thrown into OmniFocus. This includes recurring “projects” like holidays, birthdays, medical exams and license renewals. All of my upcoming or planned vacations are tracked. I even track things like remembering to get the dogs teeth cleaned. If it is something I make a commitment to do, it is in OmniFocus. I also use the iPad and iPhone versions coupled with OmniGroups free syncing server to keep all my devices on the same page. Recently they added the ability for me to ask Siri to set a reminder for me and OmniFocus will pick it up. Very neat.

Brain #2 - Evernote

Here is where I store long term things that don’t have any actions tied to them. I have packing lists for camping and travel, all the New York Jets seasons and who I took to the games as well as passwords and registration codes for purchased software. Using different notebooks and tags I can easily search and find that slow cooker recipe or Delta Airlines frequent flier number. If I find a good quote, I just take a snapshot of it and put it in Evernote where it is scanned and tagged. Just like OmniFocus I use Evernote on all my devices and just like OmniFocus it keeps all of them up to date. If you want offline viewing and more security I would highly suggest you pay for the yearly subscription. Sixty dollars is a small price for such a nice new functional digital brain.

Brain #3 - Salesforce.com

If the last two were no-brainers (pun intended) this one is almost goes without saying. I have run multiple business on the Salesforce.com platfom and the rule is “If it isn’t in Salesforce, it doesn’t exist”. All of our clients, sales opportunities, projects and deliverables live in Salesforce. Need a phone number, address or last months leads list you know where to look. Of all my brains Salesforce is the most structured in terms of fields and values which also means it takes the most time to get things into it. Adding a phone number isn’t as easy as asking Siri or snapping a picture. The upside, however, is that the data is more usable over time in reports, lists views and campaigns. Salesforce also isn’t as far along with unstructured data but maybe things like Chatterbox will help out.

Honorable Mention

The newest player to my brain game is Google Drive (formally docs) which has become more and more of a place to capture unstructured data. It is not my fourth digital brain because it suffers from a messy mobile solution and lack of ability to really sort and search in a meaningful way. It surpasses Evernote in collaboration features and the group brain feature, but for the individual Evernote is far superior.

Do you have another brain to throw into the mix, post a comment below or hit me up on Twitter @JasonMAtwood.

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