BlackBerry Voice Recognition Eliminates Open Loops and Makes It Fun to "Do It, Defer It, or Delegate It"
At MyCaption.com, we make a cool BlackBerry application that puts your productivity on steroids. This article explains how it fits perfectly with David Allen's Getting Things Done system.
In 2001, David Allen wrote a milestone book on personal productivity -- "Getting Things Done : The Art of Stress-Free Productivity" (Penguin Books, ISBN 0-14-200028-0). It has been a national bestseller, for a good reason. The proposed system, called Getting Things Done, contains some pretty good advice, resting on a foundation of discipline. Our favorites:
1. Don't carry "open loops" in your head. From big projects to tiny tasks, every internal commitment that keeps pulling at your attention is an "incomplete", an open loop. Eliminate open loops by making sure that every new communication that lands in your email or voicemail, every new idea you have, every project you want to pursue -- every item -- is captured outside your mind, in a collection bucket. The collection bucket can be anything that works for you, as long as you can return to it, select actions from it, and periodically review it.
Why is it so important to have a well organized collection bucket? As Mr. Allen says: "There is no real way to achieve the kind of relaxed control I'm promising if you keep things only in your head."
2. Every time you pick an actionable item from your collection bucket, you must "do it, defer it, or delegate it." We love this advice. Apart from being a memorable sound bite, it captures the essence of dealing with a to-do effectively. Also, the built-in discipline puts an end to procrastination.
Life 2.0 -- Stuff Is Coming In Faster
We are fans of Getting Things Done. We can tell you it's a great system. But sticking to it requires keeping up with the "in coming" by maintaining a collection bucket and processing its contents. As life moves faster, keeping up becomes harder if we use older, slower tools to write down and process action items. Through email, SMS, IM, phone calls, Facebook messages and Tweets, our minds receive more and more stuff that needs to go in a collection bucket and managed. Everyone is connected; everyone expects instant response. And we are more mobile.
We Need a New Collection Bucket
We need a new tool to capture our thoughts and action items quickly, and to process them efficiently. In our humble opinion, that tool is a voice-enabled smartphone -- a smartphone enhanced with accurate voice recognition software. It's the best new productivity tool you can carry in your pocket.
In GTD® terms, such a tool gives you two powerful benefits: (1) It eliminates open loops. (2) It makes it fun to "do it, defer it, or delegate it".
Let's see some examples.
You may be surprised to know (just kidding) that we will illustrate with MyCaption for BlackBerry. Partly, this is because internally our team uses it for Getting Things Done, so we know it saves time and money. And also because, ahem, it's one of best BlackBerry applications for business.
BlackBerry Voice Recognition Software Eliminates Open Loops
You are on your way to lunch, and you get a phone call. It's that important client you have been waiting to hear from. He wants a customized presentation next week. You say yes, of course, and...there, now you have an incomplete, an open loop, pulling at your attention.
No worries. Here's how easy it is to put this in a collection bucket. With a single click of the convenience key (side key), MyCaption for BlackBerry can start an audio recorder. You simply speak your New Task: "Organize a meeting to plan presentation to Michael. Due date Thursday."
In a couple of minutes, your BlackBerry Tasks will include this new task in text form, and it will synchronize with whatever system you have in place -- Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Exchange via BlackBerry Enterprise Server, etc. -- as if you typed it yourself.
BlackBerry Voice Recognition Software Makes It Easy to "Do It, Defer It, or Delegate It"
You may be thinking, "Where is the fun in this do-defer-delegate business? This is all work." Quite the contrary, let's show you how work can be fun, seriously. We will take four examples of stuff you pick out, one at a time, from your collection bucket.
Scenario: You have been preparing to exhibit at an important trade show. From your project file, the current answer to "What's the next action?" is: "Find a supplier of trade show displays." You know just the right person to ask. This can be done in less than two minutes. So, according to the system of GTD, you must "do it" now.
We will use the "Compose (MyCaption)" feature to send this email. If you have set up the convenience key for this feature, you give it a single click and speak:
"Send email to Nancy, subject: Trade Show Display supplier, message: Hello Nancy, Last time we met, you mentioned how happy you were with your supplier of Trade Show Display items. I wonder if you can introduce me to them? Thank you." When done, give it another click.
Within minutes, your email dictation will be transcribed to text and delivered to Nancy, as if you typed it yourself. You can even choose to edit before you send, so you can proof-read and assure 100% accuracy of delivered email.
Scenario: You receive a phone call from your Trade Show Display supplier, confirming that you can visit their showroom next Tuesday. This is an actionable item, but you can't do it now. So, according to GTD system, you must "defer it".
We will use the Calendar Appointment feature of MyCaption to set a new appointment. Go to your BlackBerry Calendar, and click on menu item "New (MyCaption)". An audio recorder starts. Now you can say: "Visit Michael's showroom, Tuesday at 10 am." When done, click the Done button.
Scenario: You have received a contract to sign. You need your colleague's inputs before you sign. So, according to the Getting Things Done system, you must "delegate it". Somewhere in your list of tasks, you need to document a reminder to follow-up.
We will use the New Task feature of MyCaption to set a new task. Go to your BlackBerry Tasks, and click on menu item "New (MyCaption)". An audio recorder starts. Now you can say: "Jennifer to provide comments on the new contract by tomorrow 3 pm."
Tickler and Reference
Scenario: While discussing a contract with a colleague, she recommends a great new book to read. It's something you want to do, but not now. It is not an immediately actionable item. Per GTD, it belongs in the "Some day / Maybe" category. But you don't want to foget some useful details.
We will use the New Memo feature of MyCaption to document a new memo. Go to BlackBerry Memopad, and click on menu item "New (MyCaption)". An audio recorder starts. Now you can say: "New memo, subject: a new book on online marketing, memo: Jennifer recommended a new book today...". As in the case of email, MyCaption supports memos up to 3 minutes long, so you can take your time to record all the useful tips and hints for future reference.
Christopher Munizza is a Retirement Planning Specialist, practicing in Fort Worth, Texas. He works for a large financial consulting and advisory firm. With a large volume of phone calls and emails to field, he decided to use the GTD system to improve his productivity. As a user of BlackBerry smartphone, he was convinced of the productivity gains he would get by leveraging the convenience of voice recognition software. He tried a dictation service, but it had limited functionality. He wanted more -- he wanted seamless integration with BlackBerry email, calendar, tasks, and memos, and quick turn-around time. He now uses MyCaption for BlackBerry.
"My preferred way of leveraging GTD is to use Tasks. I create various classifications of Tasks, and I synchronize them between BlackBerry and Microsoft Outlook", says Mr. Munizza, "so I really appreciate the convenience of having MyCaption on BlackBerry. Their software even supports notes attached to a task, a feature I use heavily. The accuracy of voice recognition is terrific, and I can edit my emails before I send, so I am assured of 100% delivered accuracy. Now I get more done, and I am more relaxed."
Accurate and integrated, MyCaption voice recognition for BlackBerry smartphone is a terrific tool for capturing and processing action items by simply using your voice. Users of David Allen's Getting Things Done system will find much to appreciate and enjoy in this product. Support for the full array of functions -- ample length dictation of email, memos, appointments, contact notes and tasks -- gives you the freedom to tailor GTD your way.
Enjoy Getting Things Done with Voice Recognition. Try MyCaption for BlackBerry. Get it from the BlackBerry app store.
GTD and Getting Things Done are registered trademarks of David Allen & Co. The BlackBerry® and RIM families of related marks, images and symbols are the exclusive properties and trademarks of Research In Motion Limited.