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I was introduced to the concept of frictionless productivity a few years ago. It is an effort to get the productivity tool out of the way of the user.  Zero resistance and 100% task capture.

There are apps and tools that claim to crack the code in one way or another. The problem is that while a well designed app might look good, does it function in the real world? Is it something you want to use? Is it something you will continue to use? Many times the answer is no.

Getting Things Done is based on the capture of everything that enters your mind that *might* need attention at some later date. I’ve written about it before. The capture points, inboxes, are meant to be reachable at all times regardless of circumstance. The problem is when you go to put this into practice. These might be a notebook, an email, or a voice mail.

You will not always have a pen. You will not always have a notebook. You won’t be at your computer. And the “stuff” that needs attention keeps rolling in and you might not be inclined to stop and write a note to yourself. That’s a bad thing. Cluttering up your mind with undone todos will create stress.

Enter the world of digital assistants.

Alexa, Siri and Google are the big ones. Most people have access to one or more of these services. What is interesting about these is the way they can be leveraged for productivity

Have you ever opened your fridge and find yourself staring at a 99% empty milk jug? Rather than having to remember to get milk you can yell out: “Alexa, put milk on my shopping list!” And presto you’ll find milk on your shopping list. This is especially helpful when your hands are full of kids, stuff, or bacon grease.

Many of these digital assistants can be integrated with an online task keeper. I personally use Alexa and Todoist. When my kids come to me at 10:30 at night for something, I can just yell the command at my Echo Dot and forget about it. No more grabbing my notebook and pen, turning on the light, scribbling the “thing” down and trying to get back to sleep. When I review at my Todoist inbox the “thing” is usually there.

There are issues. I’ve added “send an email to person X about thing Y” to my shopping list several times. I’ve found “yogurt” on my todo list. It happens but this isn’t the really big issue.

Privacy is the big problem. If you think your phone is listening to you, it probably is. 

Alexa has been known to do some creepy things. If you own an Amazon Echo you should already know the risks.

That being said, the use of a digital assistant has greatly improved my capture rate which improves my task completion rate. Fewer things get forgotten. More things get done. Frictionless productivity, just as promised.