Boost Your Personal Productivity with Expert Peter Akkies

Boost Your Personal Productivity with Expert  Peter Akkies

Ever heard the term “work smarter, not harder?” In this episode, we tackle that concept through a discussion with productivity expert and YouTube personality, Peter Akkies.

Peter has developed a following teaching people to leverage technology and implement tools to stay on top of their day-to-day tasks and projects. He has a very popular YouTube channel (@PeterAkkies) where he discusses productivity, Apple, and lifestyle, with a special focus on to-do apps.

Listen with us as Peter shares actionable steps to help you increase your personal productivity and simplify your life.

To connect with Peter and explore more of his content on personal productivity visit these links:

Peter's Blog: https://peterakkies.net/blog

Peter's Courses: https://peterakkies.net/courses

Peter's YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/peterakkies

Peter's Podcast: https://podcast.peterakkies.net/

 

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Transcript

Peter Akkies Audio Interview
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Welcome to Morning Coffee and Mimosas. I'm Christina. And I'm Joe. We are a father-daughter duo. We come here Sunday mornings, but you can come here anytime you please. We banter about life, about business, and we do it over coffee and Mims.

Good 

morning. Yeah, good morning. See, and, and now you know what we, uh, what we do . So Dad, 

who are you talking to? You should tell the 

listeners. I am, I'm honored. So we have the wonderful, amazing Peter AKIs on the, uh, Podcast this morning. And Peter is a productivity, well, I'm gonna let you say it, Peter, but he's a productivity genius and say, Expert sounds better.

Expert. Better expert. Better, yeah. Right. Definitely not Guru . No, no. all things, uh, Apple and, uh, productivity apps, task managers and, and, that's just a piece. 

yeah. Well, and listeners, we're excited about, , this episode because we're joined by Peter, really cool guest.

Somebody that, , my dad's been following quite some time and. You've heard us in some other episodes talk about different tools that he's used to manage his schedule and his life. And, uh, I, you know, just recently learned where they have been coming from. So, Peter , thank you. And, uh, as a new follower on your YouTube channel, um, and somebody who's a little bit.

technically savvy when it comes to productivity and organization and somebody who is always searching for new tools. I've really enjoyed following you. So would you tell our listeners a little bit about yourself, Peter, and kind of how you got into this productivity, personal growth 

game? Sure.

Well, thanks so much for having me on the show, first of all. Sure. Really excited. Talk about these topics with you, with you. let me try to condense this. So, essentially these days what I do is online courses, so video courses and through my YouTube channel mainly. And I started off, you know, working as a consultant after college for a couple of years in, in the US actually, even though I'm Dutch and I live in Amsterdam again today.

Um, but I totally burned out from that job after a couple. Had to leave the country, sadly had to leave the US because I was on a work visa and the US is not very nice. If you are on a work visa, you put 

your job there. We apologize on behalf of this country. . 

Yeah. Yeah. Thanks. Thanks, thanks. Um, that was a shame.

But then I spent a couple years thinking, you know what, like I really wanna make money on my own. Um, and so I, I tried out a bunch of online business ideas. Some, some stuff had to do with doing marketing for yoga studios. Like nothing related to what I'm doing now. And at some point I hit on this, business.

It turns out that I've always been quite an organized person, quite a productive person, and I used certain apps to organize my life, and I've done that for a long time. And I just started making some videos about that and people appreciated that, Turned that into an online course that I now sell and help people.

And at some point I, I ran a live course like on Zoom as well, for a while. So yeah, that's, that's me. That's great. 

Incredible. Great. And, and tell us a little bit about like, the growth of this community that follows you. So you, you've obviously hit struck a chord that resonates because there are a lot of people that are not quite as organized as you, that are looking for somebody to say, Hey, how do we do this?

How do we become more productive? So can you tell us a little bit about like what this community looks like and how it's grown 

Yeah. I don't usually think of it as a community and, and the reason for that, I try to teach people things that are very broadly applicable. So for example, if you have an iPhone, it comes with a notes app.

It comes with a reminders app. What are some of the things that you can do with those apps? Turns out that you can do a lot with those apps. Um, and if I make videos on my YouTube channel showing people what you can do with those apps, that that applies to so many people. There's no real common denominator other than people have an iPhone or a Mac or an iPad, right?

Um, whereas. The, The way that I started off my business with was with some more niche apps with a specific app, one called OmniFocus, and more recently also another one called Things three. Those are task management apps. Maybe we'll get into that a little bit. Let's see. And that's a little bit closer to a community because now you're talking about people using specific apps to keep track of everything that they need to do in their personal life and in their work life.

Um, but I've never thought of it as a community, not in the sense of like, we all have a passion for volleyball and I have a local volleyball community. You know, it's not like that. Right? it is however now, Uh, lately I've been focusing more on my YouTube channel, particularly this year. I used to think of YouTube only as marketing for my business is like, I'll put some free videos out there and if you like these, you know, why don't you buy my course?

But I've put more effort into YouTube as a main thing so far this year. So not only trying to use it as a marketing vehicle, but also just. Teaching people stuff on YouTube just because it's nice and to increase my online profile and, you know, to raise my number of subscribers, make a little bit of money with AdSense as well, you know, ads on YouTube and stuff.

Um, now it's starting to feel a little bit more like a community cuz there's more interaction. There's people commenting on my videos and saying, Hey, I really love this. Can you make more of this? Can you help me out with this other app? So it's starting to feel slightly more like a community, but it's.

very broadly applicable to lots 

of people. Right. Well, that makes that you just cleared something up for me too, because I, in watching your videos, And we'll get to things three and, and other, other things. But you were recently doing something on how to organize using the reminders app in, uh, on the iPhone and then another video on Notion.

I loved 

that, by the way. It, it kind of changed my whole, like, uh, my husband and I now have a shared grocery. And things like that. Based on what you shared, you said how you and your girlfriend use it and I'm like, that's 

a great idea, . Yeah, no, I'm glad you appreciated that cuz the video didn't do that.

Well, you know, as a YouTuber were always thinking of how our videos are performing, how many views have they had? This one didn't do so well. So I'm actually thinking I need to do a little work on it. Come up maybe a better thumbnail cuz sometimes that can make all the difference on's true. YouTube.

That's true. Yeah, that's true. But yeah. Well, I 

thought the content was great. Maybe that just speaks to, you know, how remedial I am in, uh, you know, organization, but I loved it, . 

Yeah. Glad to hear 

it. Yeah. So, I have some questions and Christina's gonna zone out now because she's not gonna know what we're talking about Peter, but, uh, 

excuse me,

I, I think I will. Okay, 

good. so I used Todoist, And, uh, and then it, it was starting to frustrate me and I switched to Tick Tick, which is super powerful and was amazing. And where I really started, I was gonna start writing to you on the, on your, uh, you know, on your YouTube channel where you keep pushing things three and things three and things three, and, and you aren't the only one.

Other people were saying just how wonderful things three is. And earlier this year I actually bought it and then said it's weak, and I got a refund immediately. But then I came back to it and I actually bought the iPad app, the iPhone app, and the Mac app. I have a. Mac, MacBook 

Air. I'm starting to think that you just like to buy things, get a refund, and then go back to them.

He did the same thing with Riverside. Yeah. . . 

That's another story. A little impulsive there, . 

But, uh, I decided 

before he likes to test customer service to make sure he's gonna buy in. That's 

right. 

Okay. Okay. But before this podcast, I said, You know what? I really need to be able to speak about things three.

So I went full bore and, and trust me. I use a task manager like massively, heavily. Yeah. And I wanted to know all the ins and outs and I kind of get it now. I I get what you're talking about. but I do have questions, you know, about that, but I have, My question is, you were omni focused, which I never used.

and I don't know if you ever, and I know you used Todoist and so on, but what was it for you that took things three and made. why you wanted to invest so much of your energy in promoting, and I know you, you, you know, forget affiliate stuff. I don't, I don't know, but I don't think you get any of that, but you know what I'm saying.

What made you go that way? 

That's, that's a great question. So let me set the context a little bit for listeners who may not be super familiar with these apps, right? Yes. Um, I believe that everybody should be. Some kind of app, or you could do it on paper if you really want to. But apps these days are so good.

That's often easier to use an app just to keep track of everything you need to do. Cause everybody's got so many things to do in so many different parts of their life. Whether it's home maintenance tasks, you know, things like doing the laundry. Mm-hmm. watering the plants, like taking out the trash or really complicated work project.

Um, things like make sure to make a dentist appointment, you know, once every six months, one year, however often you want to go to the dentist, and it's just hard to keep track of all of that. There's no reason why you should have to do that in your head, and most of us don't have an executive assistant who literally does everything for us.

So most people should be using an app for this. And when I first. Teaching people how to do this. I started off with an app called OmniFocus. Um, I used OmniFocus for, I dunno, at least seven or eight years, maybe longer. And I was very happy with it, teaching people how to use it. And I think a lot of the time people are not that tech savvy.

They don't get excited about specific apps. You know, if I start talking to someone about a certain app, 99% of people, they'll sort of just zone out. Yeah. And. Uh, people will sometimes say, Oh, it doesn't matter which app you use to do this, as long as you're using an app. It's sort of kind of true if you are not writing anything down, right?

If you're trying to remember everything that you need to do at home, at your job, in your volunteer work, whatever you do in your head, then using any kind of system will probably generate massive improvement. However, once you are in the habit of using a system, it turns out that certain apps are just much more helpful than others.

And I wanted to make sure that I taught people how, how to use like the best apps that make the most sense, that make your life the easiest. Make you remember everything, make sure nothing slips through the cracks, help you complete your projects and achieve your goals. And so for a long time I thought OmniFocus was the best.

And now I'm a bigger fan of an app called Things Three, which you mentioned, which I have no affiliate relationship with, by the way. . Yeah. You said where I'd love to 

we'll tag things three, you know, just, uh, putting a good word in here. But, 

but that's also, No, listen, if you want to I will totally do it. But they're not the most communicative people, unfortunately.

The people who make that as, Right. So it's, I I did recently run a giveaway in collaboration with them. This, as far as I've got. Yeah. But 

that, but I think that's even like, you know, Sometimes once you take it to the, the point where you know, you're an affiliate, all of a sudden the, um, opinion pieces and the direction are a little bit like, you know, there's, there's a little bit more skin in the game for you to like things three versus you just being bought into this is the best tool, right?

Because tomorrow you might, there might be a new tool and you might say, You know, I loved things three, just like OmniFocus was your, you know, prior seven years. And you may say, Hey guys, you know, a community that has now formed that's, you know, really invested in learning and, and keeping up with, uh, productivity hacks and how to best manage all of the things that are going on in their lives.

You may say, Hey, there's a new, new tool and, uh, you know, this is, this is how it can impact your life. And it may not be things three anymore. And I think that's something that your followers definitely appreciate. 

Yeah, a hundred percent. Because initially I started my online business teaching people how to use this app called OmniFocus.

Right. And I felt some loyalty to that for, for a while because it's sort of starting to teach how to use this app is what got my online business off the ground. And after burning out so heavily in my corporate consulting job in the US I vowed I will never take a job again. So I had to make money in some independent way that did not involve having a job.

So I was actually very grateful to to them for. My business really started going after I made a video course about OmniFocus and then I said, Listen guys, people who make OmniFocus, can I write something on your website, some tips on how to use this app in return, you link to my course and you tell people if you wanna learn more Bio Peter's course.

And they did that. So then I had, on the official website, I had an article with my name on it and I linked to my course and that kind of got me going. But then it turns out that their development has been quite slow for a number of years now, and this other. Has been developing faster things three and, and to the point where I think it's better now.

And also not just better, but also easier to understand for people who are new to the app, which is a big one for me, since I'm teaching how to do it, it really helps to have something that's simpler, yet equally capable. Um, I struggled with that for a while. I was like, Do I really want to tell my people?

Like, Listen, I think you should actually be using this other app now. Cause I did feel some loyalty towards OmniFocus or having got my business off the ground. But it's exactly as you say, Christina. I just want to be honest with people and I want, I want to be able to give them an opinion that is not based on finances.

I wanna be able to give them an opinion and say, I think this is the, the best app for most people, and I will therefore recommend it to you unless there's some special circumstances or something like that. And you know what? That actually feels good. It's nice that to just be able to be honest with people, even if, if I really only wanted to maximize for making as much money as possible, probably wasn't the right choice, but, Wow.

I think you're, I think it's a, it's a good direction that you've taken. So if we were to break this down, because, uh, probably most of the people listening to this podcast and selfishly myself, um, are, you know, at the point where I'm trying to figure out how do I start to take what I do. A piece of paper on my whiteboards in my office, on the notes in my phone, but kind of all over the place, right?

Like I'm like organized. Mm. Ish, right. Uh, organized enough to get done what I need to get done, but I could be much better. And that's a goal that I certainly have, to, to tackle. So if we're thinking that there's probably a, a, a broad community of our listeners that are a little bit newer to tools right?

And maybe haven't stepped into, uh, starting to, automate their organiz. . Yeah. What would you say are the, like building blocks or the biggest things that people should be thinking about before we get into things three and, you know, the tools, um, what are the building blocks and things that somebody should be looking for in the system ultimately that they build in their lives?

Sure. Great place to start. I think you want to have a system that's easily accessible wherever you are. If that's in the form of a little notebook that you carry around in your jacket's pocket or something like that, like that's totally fine. Um, but just make sure you always have it with you because one of the things that, to me, I don't, I'm sure it's the same for you.

You have good ideas and you're walking around like on your way to get some groceries. You know, I want to not forget those things. I'm not obsessive about this, by the way. There, there are people who, special people online with large followings who. I think they're a bit obsessive about this and will tell you, you should write down every good thought that you ever have in your life.

And I'm like, Okay, that's clearly not going to happen . But there's some, there's some balance to be found between trying to remember everything and not writing anything down and, and compulsively writing things down. And so when I feel like, hey, that's something that I need to remember to do, buy a gift for someone, there's a chance I might forget it.

I quickly write it down. So whether that's on your little notebook or in an. Something that you always have it with you. And so, you know, we all have phones, we all have our phones with us all the time. Not everybody, but pretty much everybody these days. So apps I think are generally a good choice. Now, again, which app is, you know, you can talk about that, but having someplace, and even if it's as simple as using the reminders app that comes with your iPhone to just write down some of these things, you're already gonna see a massive improvement.

Right. And, And this. In so many ways, this helps, for example, for people who chronically feel overwhelmed. It can be so handy to just have a list of everything that you need to do. I think sometimes people are afraid that if they write down all the things that they need to do, somehow it'll feel like they have more work.

But of course, all this work already existed. It was just floating around in your head, and by writing it down, I always find that it's more manageable. You know, like you can still only work on one thing at a time, but at least you can make a plan. You can prioritize and. start with something where it's really easy to capture.

Just make a list and some way of organizing that list of, of giving a priority to some items and not the other items. That's a fantastic start. 

Right? And, and I'm gonna, add to that about this list, you know, say, well, I write things down on paper, whatever, but what's powerful for me is that whatever task manager I use must.

Something where I can organize things into projects or lists or areas, whatever you wanna call those and every app calls them something different, but it's, it's not enough for me to say, you know, take the garbage out is an is one task. And, uh, develop a training for my staff in, you know, in, in this area That, that's, the two are completely different.

Yes, I have to do them. , but one may require 27 steps, one may or at least keep it in an area, you know? Um, and so that's very important and that's what I think when people just use paper, then you're not really categorizing it into what needs to be done. I use the projects extensively. I have my entire task list and so on.

Broken. By projects, so I can say all. This implementation we're doing at work, what has to happen in there and, and then someone calls me on a staffing issue and that's in another, and I can go down and say, Yeah, don't forget, we need the resume for this person and we need that. That's so powerful. You have no idea.

You know, and that's when people say, How do you remember it all? I don't, But it's here. . So 

yeah. I think my biggest, my biggest challenge has been, maybe this is something Peter that you've tackled has been, um, the maintenance and executing on those things like, so. We had when we started this podcast, um, both of us, um, You were using Todoist at the time?

At the time, yeah. And, um, I don't know if you're familiar with that tool. Mm-hmm. , but I downloaded it. I paid for it and I started using it. And I had all these great categories. I had, you know, the podcast, I had work, , it had personal, but then what I found was that, maybe it was a matter of, I didn't connect it to my, you know, the PC that I have to use for work, and it wasn't connected everywhere.

So it became another thing that then I had to keep up with. So I, I know, I think like there's probably other people like me, maybe I'm unique, but how to, like, keeping up with it is a big piece of, you know, I think maintenance and being successful . 

And I appreciate both of the points that that you guys brought up because Joe was saying it, it matters how you organize the app and your syncy and it matters that you actually keep using it.

And so those are, those are both crucial. Um, I just wanna go back to what Joe said first and then, then I'll answer um, what you mentioned because when I tell people, Listen, I recommend that you use this app instead of another one. A lot of the times it is, Not all to do apps are the same. And I think when someone is new to a to do app, they may think I'm gonna pick, the one that looks the prettiest.

In fact, things three happens to look quite pretty. Yeah, it does. The design is very good. I think that's why it appeals to a lot of people. Um, whereas OmniFocus, the task manager that I used to teach people looks like a database. It looks like you need to be like a software developer to understand how it works.

And that puts a lot of people off. I've given them this. I've given them this before. Let's see, let's see what . So, um, repeatedly, so, you know, but, but, but it matters because like Joe was saying, like it's really helpful to be able to organize your tasks into, I've got some work tasks, I've got some home tasks, and then there's things called projects.

I always say project, it's just. Two or more tasks that together contribute to some outcome. You know? So again, it could, yeah, it could be like developing a training program, there's a bunch of substeps and let's write out those substeps, and there has to be some way of denoting a hierarchy there as well.

and then you get into the weeds of some apps are gonna let you do that better than others. But to your point, Christina, if you're gonna be using an app and you not just start using it, but if you want to keep using it, it has to resonate with the way that you think, right? That you have to feel comfortable using.

And you have to be able to trust it, that it's gonna show you what you wanna see and that it has everything in there that you need to do. Um, and so that part of that is choosing an app that really fits you. And I tend to think that most people actually think quite similarly about their to-dos. That's why I tend to recommend certain apps or most people.

And I, I don't have like a, a flow chart with like if this, then that this app or something, you know? But also you do have to develop some habits of using it, because I see this all the time. People get very excited and they're like, I'm gonna get organized. I'm gonna be more productive. And they download some.

Populate those apps with all of their tasks and then they kind of forget about it. After two weeks, they go back to try and remember everything, using, you know, whatever is unread in their email inbox as their to-do list. This is another very popular way of having a to-do list. Um, and that doesn't work.

And so one of the things that I always recommend that people do is a weekly review. So just sit down once a week, go through everything that's in your to-do list in your task manager, right? Look at all the lists, all the projects. Make sure that everything in there is up to date. There's nothing in there that you've already completed.

There's nothing in there that is no longer relevant. Anything that you need to do is actually in there. So you add some stuff. I mean, this takes me like 20 to 30 minutes one time a week. You know, I, I do it on Sundays, Sunday tends to work out for a lot of people, but you can do it whenever. And it's also a moment to look ahead.

What's coming up this week? What are, you know, what, what deadlines do I have? Do I have coming up? What, what is my rough plan for the week? And it only takes 20 or 30 minutes a week, but it makes an enormous difference in how much you'll get done the rest of the week. And once you do this a couple of times, I find that most people see the value in doing this and are like, Wow, this is making such a difference in my life, that it's actually quite easy to keep doing it.

But you gotta kind of get over that initial hump a little bit, because if you're new. There's a lot of stuff that you probably have to organize. 

Yeah. And you've gotta build the habit. I like that. I like that weekly audit though. That's a good, uh, I do that with my calendar, kind of looking ahead and looking behind.

But the, I think with a to do, so, I'm gonna, my, my, uh, homework from this podcast is gonna be to download things three and then to, build it and then set a calendar reminder for a weekly. 

For 30 minutes. Yeah. And exactly. And, and I really recommend just doing it at like the same time every week if you can, for some people Friday afternoon makes the most sense, or Monday morning, whatever, whatever works.

Um, I wanna, I wanna spend just, just a minute because you're like, Okay, I'm gonna try things three and maybe maybe some of the listeners right now are like, Why, why is this app so, so, like, why is it so hyped? You know? Um, now first of all, this app is only available on Apple device. It's very important to know.

If you use an Android phone, if you have a Windows pc, you're not gonna be able to run this app there. And that's annoying. People always ask me, How can I use this app on Windows? I'm like, I'm sorry, you can't. What app should I use on Windows? I don't really have any recommendations for you, . Um, I'll give you one when 

before you're done

Oh, sure, sure. Let's talk about that. But, but, but some of the things that this app does really well is first of all, it lets you organize your life into areas like Joe was saying. So I've got home, I've got personal and stuff, and an app like to Doist, which is a different app, doesn't really let you do that.

Another thing that think three does very well is it has these things called projects. And so projects are not just lists, it's different. A list is maybe home maintenance tasks, something that you're always going to have home maintenance tasks. You can call that an area. That's what this is, things three terminology, right?

But then there's these things that projects that, like they have a beginning and an end. Like they, they finish at some point and it's actually so, so, so valuable to think of your life as having a bunch of big projects. Just, just when I do this exercise, sometimes I work with people one on one or I'm just chatting with friends or whatever who are new to this, just doing this exercise of trying, Oh yeah.

Actually, you know what? Like I've got this thing going on in my life and it's a project, you know, whether it's like getting your driver's license or. And it's so helpful for them to collect all of these tasks and things really helps you think about this in a really nice way that it's just trickier to do on paper and trickier to do in the extremely basic flavors of to do apps.

So, So if people are wondering why this app is so hyped, it's just a really natural way of thinking about things. 

That's great. Yeah. And, and they even have, um, and I'm I'll, I'll trying to stay away from boring, you know, features so that we don't have listeners turning off. But , even on the lock screen on your iPhone, I have a plus button that, that things lock screen widget and literally if I think of something, I hit the plus it opens up immediately.

A list, I can just type into the, in what they call an inbox where it's not categorized, but you just get stuff off your head and in. 

Um, is there a way for, um, so for people like myself, and I'm being very selfish here with this podcast. Yeah. She really took over. I'm Peter. It's terrible. I'm just like, okay.

Speaking for a whole lot of people. , I'm probably, I'm trying, I I, I'm hoping that I'm speaking for a whole lot of people, otherwise I'm just being very selfish. But, , For people that, like for me, I'm an Apple user personally, but for professional, for work, I it, we have PCs, right? So sometimes you don't have a choice of what your employer is, is, uh, subscribed to.

Right. So for people that, um, you know, may have both devices in their life, um, is there a way to still, since things three seems to be, you know, one of the best productivity tools that you've found, is there a way to still make it work? Like, is there a way to forward emails or like, is there a way to make it work even though you don't have it?

Maybe resident. Laptop or 

something. Yeah. I tell people, buy an iPad and bring the iPad to work and then put it on your desk and then manage your tasks there. Um, this is like by far the most common question that people ask me is like, Peter, like this app does not exist. For Android phones, it does not exist on my Windows computer network.

I have to use a pc. Mm-hmm. , you know, what can I do? Is there another app that you recommend? But, But weirdly, I have not found a single good to do app that is available on Windows and on Android phones. There are lots of apps that people will tell you are good like Todoist, but that if you start using them, they're very confusing.

Let me give you an example. One of the nice things in things three is if you have a to-do, let's. Review my friend Mark's resume. You have a friend, his name is Mark. He's applying for some new jobs. You need to review his resume. Okay? He says, Listen, I have to send this resume in by Friday, so the deadline is Friday.

That's great. When are you gonna do this? Ideally, you're gonna not do this Friday. Ideally, you're gonna do this some days before so that he has time to look at your comments. So maybe you plan to do it on Tuesday in an app like things you can. I plan to do this Tuesday, but it has to be done by Friday.

That's the deadline. Those are two different things. 99% of to do apps don't let you make this distinction. That's very true. It's, to me, it is bizarre. I do not understand it. It's the most basic thing is asking when am I planning to do it and when does it absolutely need to be done by those, those if you, if you work with other people, those things are so important.

It communication . 

Yeah. And so, Yeah, go ahead. I'm sorry. Yeah. 

No, that's all right. But, and, and so I, I'm perplexed why there is no app available almost for Windows and Android that lets you make this basic, basic distinction. There is an app called Nirvana, which I sometimes recommend to people that's available on all platforms.

Just has a bit of an outdated user interface, so I have a hard time recommending it to people because people look at it. Yeah, this looks like it's 10 years old . So once you get past that, it's fine. Um, but this is an example of using any app is gonna be better than trying to remember everything in your head.

But once you are taking this seriously, you thinking, I really, really wanna get organized, then you start to need to start paying attention to what apps can actually do. And not all apps are the same, 

right? Right. I'll tell you one. Uh, and this, this'll, this'll be funny, well, maybe not, but Todoist and Tick, tick.

they gamify, the, the act of, of keeping up with it. So, for example, Todoist, you set I want to do five things a day, so many things, whatever. and then, it measures that and says, you know, you've hit that goal 17 days, whatever. Um, that got me, I started to get anxious because, I, I would say, Oh my God, I only did four today and I want, I don't wanna lose my streak.

It had streaks. And then I would, I would, you know, think of something. Oh yeah, I did take the garbage out. Put the garbage out, boom, and click the thing, and I met my streak. You know, it was right. Woo. Unproductive. Right, exactly. Um, now tick, tick does it a little bit, uh, smoother in the sense that it just keeps track of your accomplishments and it gives you graphs and all kinds of, And then you earn points and you hit levels and, and I am at some kind of super high, you know, productivity level and all that.

Congratulations. Death. Yes. And it tells you yes. And it tells you you are more productive than 78% of all tick tick users or whatever. But again, I started getting anxious because I wanna be more productive than 99% of the tech of the users. Yeah, yeah. When, when you kept harping on things three . I'm blaming you, Peter, so that's, you know, I will take all the blame.

There you go. The beautiful thing that I loved about it is that when, if I have 12 things to do today in my today and, and I know Christina, you haven't seen it, but it says today, do. . Well, if I don't do them tomorrow, they show up tomorrow. So it now says today tick, tick says 12 things overdue. Ah, you know, it's almost like , right?

And, And you have to, I'm really sorry. And then it moves it over to the day to Doist. Does the same thing, overdue? Well, I'm not really overdue because I wanted to do it today, but then 42 other things came up. And like you said, I haven't hit a deadline. I wanted to do it today. I'll do it tomorrow. That has been very freeing for me with things.

Three, it just shows up, and then if there are five more things that were supposed to happen, it just says we're adding five things. Okay? And it comes in. So 

it's better for reprioritization without you feeling and my 

high and my high blood pressure and stress, you know, So I don't need any anymore. So, uh, Peter, that was probably the single thing in with things three that said to me, uh, I'm going full bore in this.

And that made me then buy the iPad app also on top of the Mac and the, uh, and the iPhone app. 

Uh, but it's a great point because like Christina was saying earlier, like, you have to want to use an app mm-hmm. , and if an app is gonna make you feel anxious, you're not gonna keep using it. Right? No. I mean, hopefully not, Hopefully you sort of have the self-awareness of like, Oh, this is making me feel anxious.

Right. And so that's, it does matter what app you use. And for, for my perspective, you might imagine the communication challenges here. Because, you know, if I'm at a party and people ask me, Oh, what do you do? And I'm like, Well, I mean, I teach people how to be more organized and productive. And, you know, and then I get very excited about certain apps.

Like people are kind of like, uhhuh cool, man. Like, I don't, that's not something that people like, I'm like, No, no, no, you don't get it. Like, this will really make your life better. I mean, I've learned, I've learned not to push this because, Yeah, exactly. Exactly. People need to be in the right frame of mind to receive things, you know?

That's, That's correct. But yeah. And, and, and your example is so good because a lot of apps do this. It's like they only, they let you set one type of date on a task. So you have a task and you say, I'm gonna do it today, but then you don't get round to today, rolls over to tomorrow, and this, it just becomes a snowball, like an avalanche of tasks that you meant to complete in the past.

Mm-hmm. , but you haven't mm-hmm. . And so you think, I am so bad I cannot complete anything. I, I'm always failing on my plans and it, it just makes you feel bad. Yeah. And I, yeah, I really appreciate being able to, I'm planning to work on this today, but you know, the deadline is Friday and then you don't, you're not very likely to miss deadlines either cuz you know Right.

That if you use deadlines only for things are really, really important, you're gonna prioritize those things and accept that everything else it's fine. You know, I had an intention, but it's okay. Right. So matters a lot and, and if you use the right apps and you use them in the right way, you can go, you know, to the opposite end.

Not anxious, but you're gonna be like, I feel so calm, I feel so confident. I've got everything under control. Correct. And then, then in the end, you can focus on, on work. And that's also why I find gamification, for example, very silly thing to do in a, in a to-do app. Because in the end, Life is about being happy and right.

You know, whether, whether you did five tiny tasks today or one really big project, like the five tiny tasks are probably not more important than whatever big project you could have completed. Right? That would only count as one. So kind of silly 

and things like, uh uh, and of course I keep saying the word things and I'm not talking about the app, so, I gotta use a different word, but uht take, for example, is feature rich.

And I very much enjoyed that. It has a Pomodoro timer, you know, that it'll, it'll track. But realistically, and by the way, that's, that's just, um, I know the follow for the listeners. Yeah. For, for the next, Yeah. For listeners. It's a very good, Um, task or disciplining yourself to say, You know what, I have a lot to do, but I'm gonna set for 45 minutes.

I'm just gonna work on this one thing. And you literally block everything out and do it. And I, I found for me, that's very helpful for things that I really don't want to do, and I've been putting off and to just block it out. I'm not good with blocking it out formally on my calendar. I just do it myself.

But my phone has a top timer and I use an Apple watch and that has a timer. I don't need the app to necessarily, you know, time it. Um, just to give you an example of features, you know, that have that, and Christina, you brought up something about emails and I just wanna address. The thing of Apple versus using a Windows machine, cuz I have the same thing at work.

I have to use a Windows machine, but I do have my MacBook with me all the time. I have, uh, and my phone, what I tend to do. And you do a weekly review. I do it, uh, as much as I can every night. I just go through and I move things along where, where they should be. But, uh, I print out the today. In, in a pdf and I just bring that pdf.

And I know it sounds silly, but I, Peter looks like he wants to laugh 

at you. Yeah. 

No, no, no. This is old school, 

but you know, No, no, no. I, I, I print it out and have it on my desk, uh, because I always have the app open. I, I am always using it on there, but if I 

don't, don't worry. We get it. You're still old though, you know,

No, I'm really techy and I just, I'm just saying, but if you want, you. , you can print it out and check off items as you go through and then go to your phone and, I mean, I'm making fun of you. I probably would do that too. Yeah. Don't make fun of me. You won't get breakfast after this call

Um, so anyway, there are ways to, to manage that even, you know, you don't always have to be on the app and you have your phone with you, as you said, Peter. So I'm always picking it up and going, saying, you know, call Peter at and tell him this, or do whatever I have to do. So Peter, 

what would you recommend somebody getting into this?

You said, you know, weekly reviews, how long does it take, would you say for somebody, like, like if you were saying, stick with it and make sure that you stick with it for X amount of time to really build that habit or make, make it a practice that you keep your, in your 

life. I don't think there's a magical number of times that you can do something and then have it be a habit.

I think the, my personal theory of habit formation is that you have to see the benefits and, and once you're experiencing the benefits, once those, once you experience them as strong enough, Then you kind of can absorb some blows to your routine or whatever it is. So this can be with anything like going to the gym regularly, right?

Making healthy food, cooking for yourself, rather than ordering in all the time maybe or, or something like this. Um, weekly reviews for me are just a way to reassure myself that I'm not forgetting about any of the things that I'm meant to. Um, it's a way for me to look at what are some upcoming deadlines.

Oh, there's a birthday coming up. I gotta buy a gift for someone, you know, Or like, Oh, hey, I've got a podcast coming up. You know, let's make sure that I tell my girlfriend, Hey, I have a podcast at such and such time. Can you make sure not to interrupt me? Not don't knock on the door, Things like that. And, but it makes me feel really calm.

And it lets me then actually focus on those things and, and, and prepare. Um, and because I'm, I have that experience many, many times now, cuz I've been doing this for years. To me, there's no question, even if I'm on vacation on Sundays, I'm gonna take, maybe I do it a bit faster, not as in depth, but at least 10 minutes, you know?

And so there's not. You don't need to sit down for an hour or two every Sunday, even if you take five minutes, just to have a quick look at like, what deadlines do I have coming up in, in this next week and what am I gonna work on in the next day or two? Okay, fine. It'll take you five minutes, but it already gives you a lot more peace of mind.

And, and even if you, if you spent that five minutes and it helps you have a little bit more peace of mind, maybe like, hmm, I could do a bit more of a thorough job. So maybe next time I'll not just do a quick look at what is up, coming up this next week and what am I gonna work on today and tomorrow, but maybe you'll.

Take a look at your email inbox. It's one of the things that I do. I just make sure that every single email that I've received, I have either. Sort of marked, you know, I've read it or I've marked it as I need to reply later to someone, right? Or maybe I've created a whole task for it, um, because it requires me to do something or something like that.

But I feel like, okay, you know what? I'm on top of my email and nothing slipped through the cracks. If you have a little bit more time, you can also incorporate some other things. For example, I also take a quick look at any notes that I took in the past week and like anything in my notes that has an action item in there that I didn't write down in my to-do list or my do list.

And once you do this, I think for most people, once you do this three or four times, you're, you're gonna see that even just a very small amount of investment of your time is gonna make you feel a lot more in control of things. And it's gonna free up a lot of mind space. But you know, maybe for some people it'll take a bit longer.

Yeah. But I agree with that. And I just hope, I just wanna say one thing real about you. You can forward. From your, you know, outlook and whatever you're using. Two things, that's three. I do that constantly. I forward everything, it goes right into the inbox. And the last thing, and then you can say what you're gonna say, is because it's on the phone.

This review that Peter's talking about, or that me, I do it, you know, every night I'm sitting and relaxing. The T on and I have my phone and I'm looking at my, I taking everything in the inbox and seeing if I can categorize it. Do I still want to do that? Changing the due dates, I'm, It's not like I'm going into my office and I'm sitting at the computer and I'm gonna spend a half hour, right.

I'm on my phone. I could be driving with somebody. I could be at lunch. You'd be drinking a coffee, you could be drinking. Exactly. Thank you very much, Peter

You know, so I, I just wanna get that out. It, this is not so something so onerous, you know, that I'm gonna discipline myself anywhere, anytime I've woken up at three in the morning, sometimes just annoyed that I woke up and then I pick up the phone. , organize some things and then go back to sleep. So, yeah.

Anyway, go ahead. So 

the que the question I was gonna ask Peter, as you were talking about, you know, taking the time and looking at your inbox, I was just curious, um, as a productivity expert, uh, what is your, are you an inbox zero guy? Like what is your method for inbox management? 

Great question. Um, So I use an app called, Hey, that's over@hey.com.

Like, Hey, hey, is in. Hello. it's an email app that is fairly new, maybe a year or two old now, but a bit different than most email apps. And to me, again, I like this tool because it works the way that I think, and that's something that I was saying earlier as well. A lot of the times if people are like, This app sucks, it's, the app doesn't suck.

It's just, it doesn't think the way that you think, you know? Um, There's a really lovely button in this email lab that is called Reply later. And so if I'm looking at an email, I could click the reply later button and now I have a list of emails that I need to reply to later, and it allows me to not worry about even creating to-dos in my task management app, cuz.

because most emails that I need to reply to later, it's gonna take me 20 or 30 seconds to reply. If something takes me a long time, I need to actually prepare a document or whatever, then I'll create a separate to do for it. But I find that at least for me, the vast majority of the emails that I need to do something with is quite fast.

Um, maybe maximum two minutes. And so I use this reply later feature all the time. I don't have any concept of inbox zero. I find that very strange. I get, I get emails and either, Unsubscribe cuz I don't want to get them anymore. Right? Or I read them or I peruse them, glance at them and I'm done. Whatever.

That's great. It sits there or there needs to be some follow up. If there's a follow up, I'll market for reply later. Periodically, maybe a couple times a week. I'll go through all those things that need to reply later. It's not always a reply. Sometimes it's a small action that you need to take. Whatever I do, the small action or I reply that.

So I don't bother organizing my emails into folders, which is especially, it's actually quite funny, quite a large chunk of my audience is retired folks. I, I always love talking about this because, um, That's so interesting. I know. I don't, I get so many emails from people who are like, Hi Peter, cuz I, you know, they buy my course and then I send them an email and it's like, Hey, just do you mind introducing yourself?

I'd like to hear from my students. And then so often it's like I just retire. Um, I guess it's funny, I had a whole career and only now after I stop working, I'm getting organized. Haha. And I was really funny, you know, it's like, um, suddenly a lot of your responsibilities go away and then you're like, Now I'll get organized.

Um, but especially some of the older folks tend to have grown up. Um, or maybe not grown up, but, but sort of, they've used email for a long time in the way where they felt like every email needs to go in a folder. That's how it works. and I find that really unnecessary. You know, if I'm looking for an old email, I can search and I, I will always, always find it very quickly with search.

Mm-hmm. . And so I find that it takes a lot of time to categorize my old emails and so I just decided not to, and, and this app that I mentioned, Hey, hey, dot. It's like designed to not, like, there is no way basically to put things in folders. And I find it such a relaxing way of dealing with it. I never have to worry about.

So like inbox zero is just like a concept, I guess that means I've processed all my email. Yeah. That happens to me sometimes. I, I've, I've listed some of them as reply later, which really means process later. Every now and then I go through them and then I'm done. So I guess you could call it inbox zero, but it doesn't mean that somehow there's zero emails in my inbox because.

Yeah. Well, and you don't have that pressure and anxiety of like, Oh my gosh, I got, I have to put all these in the folders they belong in, and I have to assign all the tasks and I have to have to have to, It's, it's more an organic, it sounds like it's, you have more of an organic process that works. So I like, Of course, 

it depends on the context, right?

Like you know, I have. Plenty of friends with corporate jobs and I sometimes look at the amount of emails that they receive every day and I'm like, This is absolutely insane. I do not understand why you receive this much email. So obvi, you know, I, I'm not in that situation cuz because I, I run my own small business, you know what I'm saying?

So if I were in a situation like that, maybe I'd apply a little bit more organization. It's possible, but still I. If I sort of look at that, I find that the vast majority of email that most people get is not actually that relevant. Mm-hmm. . So 

thank you. I love that. Yeah. So, Peter, as, as we start to kind of wrap up here, what is next for you?

What, what keeps going through my head is, you know, I, things three, there's been others. Let, do you have aspirations of creating your own productivity? I might be presumptuous right 

now, but , I have thought about this. Um, the thing is, I, I have, I think, an amazing sense of what a good to do app should look like, just because I've spent so much time evaluating to do apps, teaching people how to use them, talking to people about how they use their to do apps.

Probably more than, you know, not, probably not many people on the planet who've spent more time thinking about this than I have, which is a very interesting niche I always find to be in. Um, I also, as a teenager, started doing some software development. This is a long time ago now, but because I, I did that as a teenager and a little bit throughout college and, and you know, I have a sense of how difficult it is to make good software product, so it'd be very easy for me to say, I know exactly what a good to do app should be like.

I can sketch it out for you. It's just that making the actual. And making it work smoothly on various devices, making sure it always supports all the latest features of your iPhone and stuff that is not easy. It require. Many full-time developers, you know, you need to think about data security. Um, a lot of times I get questions from people that say like, Listen, I'm not allowed to use this particular app, things three, it's not certified by my IT department.

Something like that, you know? So, um, those are things you have to consider. Do we wanna try to get certified for some things or not? Um, it's a much bigger project, so, so sometimes in my head, I. Yeah, maybe I should do my own app. And then I even just spending five minutes thinking about it, I'm like, Yeah, you know, I don't wanna deal with all those things.

So I'd rather just give people 

advice. . 

If I ever, if my business ever becomes insanely successful where I have way more money than I know what to do with, I might give it a shot. You know, because at that, like my philosophy in life is generally I only wanna do things if I'm gonna do them. Well, you know, I don't like half-assing anything.

Mm-hmm. , um, It would require a team of probably at least five, maybe 10 developers. It just gets very expensive, very fast. And it, it might be a fun project someday, but, you know, I don't wanna do a bad job of it cuz I, I think it's just a little bit sad to build an app that's kind of just not it, 

you know?

Right. But you, you, you helped people. There are dev develop people that are more programmer, I guess Programmer, Mind Minded and Notion is, is a very unique application where it's, um, It's a, it's a clean slate and you can pretty much do anything you want and it as not a programmer without having to be a programmer, but you have to kind of want to do something with that.

Uh, cuz I did what you did. I used the notion, by the way, for, I, I wanted to use Notion as my task manager. Yeah, yeah. And my notes and my projects and everything. And, and it was really fine except that personally I. Like having so much fun with it that I was spending too much time developing my task manager and not doing the work

So, um, that's where things and take to whatever you want to use is better because you don't, you, your brain can stay on what you have to do and not trying to program it. , you know, to do something else. So, yeah. You 

know, it's funny because for a long time my most popular YouTube video on my YouTube channel was one called Stop Using Notion for Everything.

I, I, I watched it. Yes. 

It's very funny. Um, because Notion is like you're saying, this blank Slate app where you can, without knowing any programming, Although you have to know some programming concepts. Mm-hmm. , you can build your own whatever customer relationship management system or to do app or anything you want really.

And that's fun for people who find that fun. But it's also an extreme source of procrastination for a lot of people. Yes. And so my recommendation was, you know, Try not to do everything in this app. Generally use dedicated apps and maybe only use notion for some things. I, I was a little bit, I will admit this, I was a little bit irritated when I recorded that video.

It was a bit ranty, . Um, and I think people picked up on this and I had to turn off the comments because there were some really, really nasty comments on that video. Um, very passionate notion of, of people and everything, . Oh, it was, it was so bad. It was so, and it was also a lesson for me to stay positive.

You know, it was, it was really me saying things about an app that are not its strengths. And to be honest, I decided then that it's actually nicer to just highlight the good things about, about apps and, and you know, people, and, processes and stuff like that. And if you do have feedback to be really constructive about it.

So I've been, I've been trying to do that. Instead, it feels better and, and fortunately now I have another video. It's, you know, well outperformed that. So if people are looking for my most popular video, it's no longer the, the range . Good. 

Well that's awesome. And I, I love your, uh, the positive, outlook, positive outlook.

I can speak today, I promise. Um, and just, you know, I, I think that your videos are very motivating and. They make it simple to, you know, take bite size pieces out of how to get a little bit more organized every single day. So I appreciate that. Um, Peter, if, if you were to tell the listeners how can they engage with you, , where can they find you?

And we'll of course share all of your page links and whatnot, but, you know, tell our listeners how they can get engaged. 

They can go on YouTube and search for my name Peter Ake, so that's Peter, and then a k k I E S. I'll pop up and they can peruse some of my. . 

Very good. Well, thank you so much for being with us today.

Yeah, thanks for, uh, indulging me in this personal productivity coaching that I feel like we just did on this podcast, , hopefully listeners, I apologize if you guys have very different interests when it comes to productivity, but, um, I figured that there's probably a lot of people that are somewhat novice like myself that could really.

From, uh, productivity 1 0 1. So Peter, thank you for, for that. And, uh, we are looking forward to what's next, whatever that is. and just, you know, we'll continue to, uh, you know, get better and better with your expert direction, in the productivity 

space. Yeah, we'll probably have, have comments. They'll go both ways.

They'll be, you know, tell Joe to shut up and, uh, I want to hear more about how I could be more productive without the app. And then others will be, I don't care about, you know, uh, not u using paper. I want to hear about things three I want hear about. So it'll be great. But you, um, it was an honor to have you here and.

You know, one, I think your biggest strength and your success on YouTube and in business is you're approachable and you, you're pleasant and you really make it, effortless to make that, you know, jump into productivity. So thank you. 

Well, thanks very much for, for having me on. It was super nice to chat and, um, I also appreciate it from my end because whenever I chat with people I always get new ideas for videos to make.

So, Christina, you. I get a little bit more productive every day and I'm like, maybe I should do a seven day video to reschedule that day. So, so there, there's, there's a lot in here for me as well. Really appreciate. Awesome. 

Wherever you are, whatever your story. Thanks for spending time with us this morning. Now go and make a difference in your world.

Peter, I have to thank you, but because you were a guest, we were spared to dad joke this episode. 

Okay. , not necessarily, 

I think completely forgot about his dad jokes and if he doesn't get it out before the end of the song, we all are spared to 

Dad joke this time. Why couldn't Sesame see leave the gambling casino?

Because he was on a roll. So I got it in . 

All right. Alright. Right. There we go. 

 

Peter Akkies Profile Photo

Peter Akkies

Productivity teacher, YouTuber, course creator.

Peter Akkies teaches people how to stay on top of their day-to-day tasks while also achieving their long-term goals. Peter has developed a following teaching people to leverage technology and implement tools to stay on top of their day-to-day tasks and projects. He has a very popular YouTube channel (@PeterAkkies) where he discusses productivity, Apple, and lifestyle, with a special focus on to-do apps.

To connect with Peter and explore more of his content on personal productivity visit these links:

Peter's Blog: https://peterakkies.net/blog
Peter's Courses: https://peterakkies.net/courses
Peter's YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/peterakkies
Peter's Podcast: https://podcast.peterakkies.net/