Free your mind for productivity

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free your mind

Have any of your clients resolved to be more productive this year? Are you as organized as you’d like to be?  There are a lot of time management systems out there, and finding one that works for your clients or your own unique work style isn’t always easy.

After trying a number of different methods, I was elated to discover Swift To-Do List software a year or so ago. Much more powerful and flexible than anything else I’d tried previously, I had everything set up and functioning in a way that worked for me long before the end of my 30-day free trial. When the time came to purchase my license, I happily took advantage of the offer to buy the companion Swift Mind Freedom e-book and audio book for half price. However, because I had my to-do list under control, I didn’t feel a need to read it at that time.

As the months went by, I started to think that I’d overcomplicated my system, so during a pre-holiday lull, I read the e-book cover to cover, trying out various steps in a test file. Was I ever amazed! Although I had a good understanding of time management principles and a pretty good grasp of how the software worked, the e-book enlightened me as to some new strategies, explained features I wasn’t taking advantage of, and  inspired me to streamline my own to-do list so it’s easier to manage. Wow; what a difference! I really wish I’d made the time to study the e-book right away!

Swift Mind Freedom

The Swift Mind Freedom method is based on the following 11 principles:

  1. Use an organizing system.
  2. Keep everything in one place.
  3. Always get stuff out of your head.
  4. Habitually check your to-do list during the workday.
  5. Keep tasks and non-tasks separate.
  6. Apply Swift Prioritizing.
  7. Hide tasks for later.
  8. Break complex tasks down.
  9. Use specific actions in task names.
  10. Manage your commitments.
  11. Do regular to-do list maintenance and review routine.

Although some of these may be second nature to you as an organizer, I think you’ll be surprised when you read about them in depth. I certainly was! I now have an even more efficient way to prioritize my tasks, which allows me to spend less time managing my to-do list and more time getting things done. At any given moment, I know what I need to do next.

Although Swift Mind Freedom is about managing tasks rather than paper, principle #7 has led me to start using a tickler file to store paperwork that may or may not be associated with those hidden tasks. This is something that hasn’t been part of my routine in a very long time!

Even if you’re not interested in trying out Swift To-Do List yourself, I highly recommend that you add Swift Mind Freedom to your organizer reading list. Whether you read the PDF or listen to the audio book, you’re sure to learn something that will enhance your own productivity or that of your clients.

Image by Cismas Dave Teo, used under a Creative Commons License

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A former professional organizer, I now eliminate stress for my clients by hosting, monitoring, and maintaining their WordPress sites so they don’t have to worry about security, downtime or performance issues. When I’m away from my desk, I enjoy reading, photography, watching movies, and cooking.

Join the Conversation


  1. Avatar Deanne on January 15, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    What an inspiring article to read Janet!

    I love that you shared that ‘everything’ organized isn’t second nature and how much you took from their guide. For the task systems I use I still subscribe to the guru’s who write about quick tips – there’s almost always a nugget!

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on January 16, 2014 at 6:09 am

      Thank you, Deanne. Sometimes it’s hard to publicly admit that we don’t know everything, but it’s worth it if we can help others by sharing our learning experiences!

  2. Avatar Sabrina Quairoli on October 24, 2016 at 8:26 am

    This was very timely for me. I am going to check out Swift Mind Freedom. Thanks for sharing.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on October 24, 2016 at 11:53 am

      I love it when that happens! I’m sure you’ll find some valuable information in it.

  3. Avatar Seana Turner on October 24, 2016 at 8:32 am

    I have to say I am “on board” with all of the principles. Since I haven’t yet become familiar with Swift, I don’t know about #6, but the others are pretty much part of my day. I think #4 is surprisingly important. Not only does it help us track our progress and keep us on track, but it builds our confidence and grants us a feeling of accomplishment. This can be so important when we are facing a difficult day!

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on October 24, 2016 at 12:20 pm

      Swift Prioritizing is basically about assigning each task a priority, from lowest to highest, which is an important feature of the Swift To Do List program. I imagine that’s part of your routine as well!

  4. Linda Samuels Linda Samuels on October 25, 2016 at 9:15 pm

    The word “productivity” keeps coming up these days. Having a good way to manage the tasks and to-dos are an essential part of being productive. After using this program for a few years, do you still love it? I tend to stick with a system if it’s working, but many of my clients like to frequently change their systems.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on October 26, 2016 at 9:18 am

      Interesting that you should ask, Linda! Although it was definitely the best computerized system I ever found, a few months ago I decided to switch back to a paper planner for task management. I may be blogging about it in the near future.

  5. Avatar Crystal on October 27, 2016 at 9:12 am

    Always get stuff out of your head. I love that! I have a tendency to try and remember everything without ever writing things down. As life gets busier I am thinking that I should consider getting more things out of my head and on paper. Thanks for the advice!

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on October 27, 2016 at 2:41 pm

      I’m always thrilled when I inspire one of my readers, so your comment made my day. For me, trying to remember to do something often uses up more energy than the task itself, so I try to write it all down, no matter how minor it may seem.

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