On Productivity: Your Trusted System
A while back, I wrote a three part series on productivity. My basic premise was to be as productive as you can you need a model to draw on that would drive your workflow. The model I decided to use and which I do use is “Getting Things Done” by David Allen.
A principle aspect to GTD is having a trusted system or something which you have complete faith in. The idea behind this is that our brains are designed for creating but they aren’t the greatest storage tools. To relax, if you have a system you trust, you’ll have the confidence to turn what needs to be done over to the system. This allows you to relax as you know what needs to be done and this will eventually produce the outcome you‘re looking for. However, if you don’t trust your system, the methodology starts to unravel and you will no longer remain productive.
The Model as Driver of Methodology
Another part of what I outlined as critical to productivity was having a solid model which would shape your methodology. I concluded by saying that whatever model you choose should drive your outcome and the manner in which you produce it.
When the Trusted Fails to Work
In the writings of a while back I had a trusted system that I felt very comfortable with which is what you want. However, for this to work you have to trust your system. It has to work for you. Otherwise the opposite of productivity and relaxation will be produced.
When Your Entire System Fails You
In my case, my entire system that I had invested so much trust in failed me. Two very key components of a GTD system are the task manager and the bucket that you store your material for long term access.
At that time, you would have seen me recommend OmniFocus for the Task Management component and DEVONthink for the bucket. There were, of course, other parts to my system but these are the two key components.
Of late, I had been searching for replacements for both. When you have a model that drives the parameters of what you do, this becomes much less problematic, then if you’re having a whimsical moment and decide to change everything. In fact, I can assure you the very last thing that you want to do is change out you trusted system. But since you follow a model, do so you must as you will end up very frustrated, stressed and far from relaxed.
One of the aspects about GTD I like so much is it helps you immensely in choosing your trusted system and further, if you run into trouble with it like I did it is an incredibly supportive system for making a change, how to do that and why it is essential.
The Last Thing I wanted
The last thing anyone wants is for their system to fail them. It is most likely your trusted system as you had a lot of confidence in it and knew your way around. When it worked, it really did work. The obverse is just as true. You would definitely know when it failed you.
Working from a model though, what might at one time seemed distrastrous if not insurmountable, is easily managed. In my case I had to recognize the system had failed me. Then I undertook a careful search for that which would replace it. Nothing is perfect however, it is possible that such an exercise can produce a result that is actually better suited to needs.
The System driven by the Model
The system I chose was nothing obscure at all. For my Task Management system I chose The Hit List. Although there are issues with the product in that it would seem the developer is Missing in Action, it works exactly the way I like working. Will it have a future. I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. For now, it is a very flexible program that fills the bill well.
As for my bucket, that was an easier solution from the point of view of that which had been recommended. I’ve gone with Evernote. There’s much to like about the new system. In the case of the Hit List it’s fast, intuitive and flexible. In the case of Evernote, there is a lot of money behind this product and it is constantly being updated. It is a highly mobile and reliable product and the IOS component will not be a drag on the OSX component.
Having a model made making this unfortunately necessary transition feasible. GTD is a great system for both “Getting things Done” and supporting you in this endeavour. I hated having to leave my system behind but there was no choice. In that, GTD supported this transition as it requires it. GTD, to work, needs a trusted system.
Efficient and Effective Again
I don’t wish on anyone the loss of their trusted system. However, if your system fails you, you will know it loud and clear. And you will not like it. You will want to get back onto a system that supports your function and your productivity fast as a failed system will generate a great deal of stress.
I’m a big believer in the capability of using a Model to drive Methodology and then find tools or a trusted system to support the former. In my case GTD is my model and much of the methodology of GTD has been spelled out in it. A guide for what the tools should do is very much a part of GTD but it is up to you to choose effective tools. That choice, though sometimes challenging, can produce dramatic results if it is working and when it’s not rather disastrous results. Regardless of your investment, if the system is not working, it’s time to move a long. Finding the right tools again should pay off quite quickly.