7 Best Productivity Systems for 2020

How you think about work is just as important as the work itself. Here are our picks for the 7 best productivity systems you can use to make 2020 your most successful year ever.

7. Streaks

Also known as “don’t break the chain,” a motivational technique recommended by Jerry Seinfeld.

Here’s how it works. For each goal, get a dedicated a monthly calendar. At the end of each day, check to see if you worked towards that goal. If you did, mark it on the calendar. If you didn’t, leave it blank.

Check out a great overview of how streaks work by the folks at Todoist

Try to maintain a “streak” or “chain” of multiple days in a row. The longer your streak, the more progress you’ll eventually see. It’s simple, and it gives you a visual understanding of the time you’re putting in towards a goal.

Useful for: Establishing habits and progressing when long term consistency is needed, such as meditating, eating healthy, or going to the gym.

6. Getting Things Done

Created by David Allen, GTD is a system of organizing all inbound information coming your way. 

Here’s how it works. Before you start working, GTD takes each piece of information in your life and places it in a bucket. Buckets include: straight to the trash, I’ll do it maybe / someday, I’ll do this immediately, this is for someone else to do, this should be saved for my reference, this is part of a larger project, and this needs to be done at a specific time.

Above is a diagram of the entire GTD process.

After you’ve organized everything into these buckets, it should make it a lot easier to understand what you have to accomplish.

Useful for: Organizing everything if you feel overwhelmed with things to do.

5. Worst Things First

This one is simple. Whatever you want to do the least, do it first thing in the morning right after you wake up. This method is also known as “eat the frog.”

Wake up and do what’s hardest – the idea being Worst Thing First.

Useful for: Making sure you don’t procrastinate an unpleasant task for too long.

4. Timeboxing

Timeboxing is when you split up your entire day into clearly labeled blocks of time. Each block is assigned to a specific task, project, or activity. Ideally, everything you do goes into a block, including your free time.

Timeboxing puts everything you’re planning on doing into a schedule, which means all you need to do after that is follow your calendar.

Timeboxing aims to fill up your entire schedule, even when you sleep.

Useful for: Accounting for everything in your life. Focusing you on one thing at a time, so you’re not distracted by multitasking.

3. Kanban

Kanban puts your most important items into a pipeline. The three basic stages in the pipeline are To Do, Doing, and Done. You can add other stages if you wish for a more advanced pipeline.

The goal of Kanban is to move each item step by step from the left side to the right side of the pipeline, from To Do to Done. Most Kanban boards also enforce a limit on the number of items during each stage, to make sure it doesn’t get clogged. Kanban boards work well individually and with teams.

Trello is a popular app for creating Kanban boards.

Useful for: Getting a top level overview of all ongoing projects and seeing those projects to completion.

2. Sprints

Sprints are a key part of agile frameworks like Scrum. A sprint is a period of time – for example, 2 weeks – in which you and your team focus on a single goal.

Sprints can help teams come together to attack a single goal.

Sprints always have a clear deadline and goal. After the sprint is over, you and your team evaluate how the sprint went and schedule the next sprint. This allows you to consistently and quickly iterate your approach.

Useful for: Fast iteration and alignment towards a single goal, especially if you’re working with a team.

1. Building your own

Building your own system will allow you to take what works best from all of these systems and create something that resonates with you and the people you work with.

If you devote the time and energy to doing this well, this is always the best solution, because it will be tailored specifically to your needs. Building your own system also allows you to iterate and throw away what’s not working.

Useful for: Figuring out exactly what you need to be productive.

Magic can help!

Let Magic be your productivity secret weapon this year.

Magic gives you a 24/7 remote team of skilled generalists that will log in and turbocharge any productivity system you’re currently using, whether it lives in your email, on a Trello board, in a Slack channel, or in custom enterprise software. Our teams are trained to quickly learn your workflow and start getting things done for you automatically.

If you haven’t tried Magic yet, give it a try!

How To “Level Up” And Hit Your Goals – Without Working Harder

To Climb To The Next Level You’re Going To Need Help,
Not Just Hard Work 

You know what you want. Maybe it’s the next level of your career. Maybe it’s starting a side project or new business. Maybe it’s 6 pack abs. It’s just a matter of getting there.

So how do we get there? If you believe in #grindneverstops, it’s simply a matter of hard work. If you want to get fit, you have to hit the gym every day. If you want to publish a book, you have to write until your fingers fall off.

While it’s true you have to work to achieve your goals, we often overvalue individual hard work and undervalue getting the help of others.

Working harder hits a roadblock.

If you’re already working full time, working longer hours won’t help and may actually be counterproductive. Working more than 40+ hours a week can lead to stress, sleep deprivation, poor health and diet, and other issues that will set you back.

If you’re overworked, you’re probably also fooling yourself on how productive you really are. People who are sleep deprived “spend nearly three times as much of their day on just time management alone.” And at the end of the day, isn’t it more important what gets done, instead of how many hours were spent in the process?

We believe you’ll get more done when you work 30 hours a week focused, happy, and productive, than 60 hours a week stressed, distracted, and exhausted.

You’re probably not getting enough help.

The myth of “self-made success” needs to die.

Rather than doing everything themselves, the world’s most successful people get the most help. Best-selling books are written by ghostwriters. The fittest people on your Instagram feed have nutritionists and personal trainers. The most successful entrepreneurs spend their time recruiting the best people.

Getting help from others isn’t cheating and it isn’t a “shortcut.” It is the path forward to achieving your goals. It’s also not easy. It takes courage to ask for help and talented to build and motivate a team behind what you want to accomplish.

I’ve never found anybody who didn’t want to help me when I’ve asked them for help. […] Most people never pick up the phone and call, most people never ask. And that’s what separates, sometimes, the people that do things from the people that just dream about them.

Steve Jobs

Write down everything you want to accomplish.

First, get clear about the big picture. It’s a fun exercise to write down everything you want to accomplish. Make sure you’re thinking medium and long term.

We recommend a 6 month perspective for medium term goals, such as changing your diet, and 5 year perspective for large goals, such as building a lasting company.

For each goal, ask yourself: “am I willing to invest a significant portion of my time and money to make this happen?” If the answer is no, take it off the list.

Start thinking about who can help.

Now with a list of everything important you want to accomplish, try thinking about how you can get help.

Create a partnership: Just as Paul Simon partnered with Art Garfunkel, you can partner with a friend or coworker on a project, if you two share a mutual goal.

Hire: The easiest way to get something done is to hire someone to do it. It just costs money. The good news is, spending money to save time is one of the best ways you can decide to spend it. Plus, if you’re hiring to improve your business and finances, it can even bring you ROI.

Ask for a favor: You’d be surprised by how much you can accomplish simply by asking for favors. People want to help, especially if it’s in their area of expertise, as a way of giving back.

What Is Magic?

Magic is not only the name of Orlando’s NBA team, a popular radio station, and what David Blaine does for a living.

Magic is also (more importantly) an app you can use everyday to be even more productive and to live a better and more fulfilling life.

Magic is a chat app between you and Magic’s assistants. Chat with us, tell us exactly what you want to accomplish, and we’ll get to work. Whenever you need something done but you don’t have the time to do it, you can now send it to Magic instead.

Magic gives you more time each day and lets you focus on what’s important. It’s one of the few “life upgrades” you can buy that actually work and will substantially improve your life.

Magic is more than just an app

Don’t have time to wait on hold with American Airlines to cancel a flight? Send it to Magic! In the middle of a meeting, but there’s a water leak at home? Send it to Magic!

This isn’t a basic robot / AI / algorithm, like the assistant that comes with your phone. We won’t get you tickets to “snail world” when you, in fact, asked for tickets to Sea World.

What Magic can do is far beyond what any app or piece of software can do, because Magic has real people doing real work for you, whenever you need it.

How to use Magic

Just download the app and start texting us. That’s all you’ll have to do!

We respond quickly–in just seconds–24/7, 365 days a year. You never have to wait for the next business day to get a reply, and none of our replies are canned messages or from bots. We always have assistants online, ready to work on anything you give us.

The hardest part about using Magic can actually be figuring out what to use it for. Because we can do everything, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what you could use it for.

We recommend starting with your current to-do list, or thinking about aspects of your life you’d like to improve. You don’t need to have a specific idea of how to get it done. Magic will chat with you to figure out what you need and how exactly they can help you.

Here’s what happens when you ask Magic to do something

Let’s imagine your garage door needs to be repaired. The door won’t open, and you can’t back your car out. Maybe you’ve been parking on the street for the last 2 weeks because you just haven’t gotten to looking into fixing it.

Just text us in your own words what you need to get done. It doesn’t matter how you phrase it.. Texting “garage door repair” is fine, and “garage door repair ASAP” is even better, since it tells us we should be prioritizing speed.

A simple text is all you need to get started.

Once we understand what you’re looking for, we come up with a game plan and propose it to you. In this scenario, our plan would be to call highly rated repair services near you. While on the phone, Magic will ask each service how quickly they can show up and for what price. After a half dozen calls, Magic will text you back with the best options.

Magic will always let you know what it’s going to do and when it will update you.

Once Magic starts working on your task, you don’t need to do anything. Go ahead and put your phone away. Magic will give you a specific time when it will text you back with an update on its progress. Magic will always update you on time, thanks to our advanced task management system, and will never drop a task. And if anything goes wrong, or if Magic hits a roadblock, we’ll let you know and adjust course.

What exactly can Magic do?

Anything. Seriously, anything. Just ask us.

OK, sure, we’re not going to rob a bank for you. But as long as it’s legal and possible, we’ll do it. Here’s how.

If the task is simple, like making a phone call, purchasing something online, doing research, filling out documents, etc., we’ll do the work ourselves. We can make purchases, log into your accounts, negotiate on your behalf on the phone, hire someone to wait in line for you, or whatever else you need.

If the task is more complicated and/or requires a specialist, we become an extremely organized project manager. Magic will find, coordinate with, and handle payment for the third-party vendors and experts we enlist to get it done.

We love complicated requests, like building custom movie props and one-of-a-kind costumes like these fully operational robotic arms! (Instagram)

We’ve helped startups obtain millions of dollars of funding, created custom robotic movie props (see image above), completely remodeled homes, planned an entire wedding, and much, much more.

Magic’s team is trained to handle hard requests

Magic handles hard requests and large projects by breaking them down into smaller, actionable steps. At each step, Magic will always set a next action and give you a clear deadline when it will get done, so you always know what’s going on and what to expect.

We hold ourselves to a high standard. Less than 5% of assistants who apply to work at Magic are accepted into training, and only a fraction of those accepted pass training. The average assistant at Magic is a college graduate from a top school and a full time employee at Magic with benefits. We’re extremely proud of the excellence in our teams, and you’ll notice the difference as you use the app.

The other reason Magic is so reliable is because of our task management software. All assistants at Magic use proprietary software we’ve developed to track and fulfill every task. The software makes sure each task has a promised update and makes sure that update happens on time.

This means, Magic will never drop your task or forget to update you on time, even if you have 100+ simultaneous tasks going on.

What’s on your to-do list?

The first step to using Magic is to download the app. Once you have the app, you can start delegating work right away.

So, what’s on your to-do list? We’re ready to start checking items off for you.

Or if you don’t know what to send us quite yet, start chatting with us, and we’ll brainstorm and come up with some ideas.

9 Tips To Transform You Into A Magic Power User

In case you didn’t know, Magic is an app that gives you access to a full team of human assistants on demand, 24/7. You simply text Magic with a task, and Magic responds, gets to work, and gets it done for you.

If you’re already a user of Magic, there are a number of tricks and little known features that can greatly enhance your experience.

1. Autoconfirm

If you want Magic to just go ahead and order something, and you’re OK with them making decisions for you to get it done, just text “autoconfirm”.

When you autoconfirm, you agree to the order without first looking at the price or details of the order.

This feature is especially useful if your phone is dying, or you don’t have the time or ability to send multiple texts.

Example: “Send an iPhone phone charger to my hotel ASAP. Autoconfirm.


2. Time caps

If you’re a user of Magic, you know that you’re billed for the time a human spends on your requests. It works like an “al a carte” personal assistant.

But what you may not know is that you can cap your requests in 1 hour increments.

This can help you control how much work you want done and is especially helpful for research requests.

Example: “Find the best three dentists in Massachusetts that specialize in oral surgery and that take my insurance. Spend no more than 2 hours on this request.”


3. Recurring requests

One of the best uses of Magic is to set up recurring requests.

When you have recurring requests in Magic, the experience for you is completely automatic and effortless.

If you need something done repeatedly, you don’t have to keep texting Magic over and over each time

Recurring requests are also more efficient, taking Magic less time to complete, since it learns exactly how to get it done.

Example: Send lunch to my office every Monday — Friday. Make sure I have a main course, side, and drink, and never order me the exact same thing twice.


4. Set preferences

When you tell Magic your preferences, Magic saves it permanently in its system and automatically recalls this information when it is relevant.

If you say you’re allergic to a particular type of food, or that when you send your wife flowers you never want to include a note, or that your favorite wine is Pinot noir, Magic remembers.

Telling Magic your preferences saves you time and makes your experience a lot more magical.

Example: Never order me food with bananas or eggs in it. Always choose the spiciest option.


5. “Get it when it’s available”

You can request for Magic to get you things that aren’t yet available or
released to the public. This works even if there is no pre-order or release date.

Magic will keep an eye on when it will become available and will order it right away.

Example: Get me the “Fantastic Beasts” Blu-Ray as soon as it‘s available.


6. Email

Magic is fully integrated with email. Magic gives you a special email address with a @mg.magic.gd domain.

You can email your requests to Magic, just like you would send a text to Magic. Magic can also send emails on your behalf.

You can forward emails to Magic, BCC Magic, and send attachments to Magic, just like you would a regular personal assistant.


7. Google Calendar

Magic can fully integrate into your calendar if you use Google Calendar.

Simply text Magic that you would like to link your calendar with Magic.

Magic can create appointments for you, schedule meetings with multiple people involved, keep your calendar up-to-date, and can always reference your calendar to make sure you have no scheduling conflicts.

For example, if you ask Magic to book you a reservation for 7pm and add it to your calendar, Magic warn you that you already have a meeting scheduled that evening.


8. International

Magic can perform tasks internationally. It’s great when you travel, since it already knows your preferences.

Magic has fulfilled a variety of requests in a variety of locations, from Cuba to Kyoto. Magic works best in countries where English is commonly spoken, but it will try to fulfill your request anywhere.


9. “I don’t need this today.”

Letting Magic know if you need a delivery to be same-day or not will make your requests more efficient and save you money.

Same-day deliveries require either a service, private driver, or courier to pick up and deliver the order to you. This is almost always more expensive than a multi-day delivery.

If you don’t need an item same-day, tell Magic, so it can provide a cheaper option for you. If you need it same-day, also let Magic know, so it won’t spend time looking into options that aren’t same-day.

Example: “I need more Keurig capsules. Order about 100, all dark coffee. Does not need to be same-day.”