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Simplify: Keeping Your Productivity System Simple

Simplify: Keeping Your Productivity System Simple

If you've been following along in this series, you've probably got the makings of a decent productivity system by now. You've found a few apps you like, and have developed a couple slick processes. Things are looking pretty good.

Or maybe not......

There inevitably comes a point when your productivity system gets bogged down with too many features and tools. The more things you add, the more complex it gets. As it grows in complexity, the harder it gets to use.

If you find yourself in this state, it may be time to simplify. You can start by asking yourself a few simple questions:

  • Do I have many apps that do similar things? Can I consolidate them?
  • How easy is it to get information into my system?
  • What parts of my system are fun to use, and which ones are not?
  • Do I spend more time fighting with my system than getting things done?
  • Do I have to spend a lot of time thinking about where something goes?
  • Am I taking on too much?
  • Is what I'm doing helping me achieve my goals?
  • Do I have the time to bring something new in?

Answering these questions will help you pinpoint areas where you can simplify things. Once you've figured out what you'd like to improve, you can circle back and Iterate on your system.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Use as few apps and tools as possible. The more apps and tools you use, the more complicated your system will become. Remember the core components of a productivity system: Task Manager, Notes, and Calendar. Trim anything that doesn't belong in one of these areas.
  • Make it easy to get information into your system. The easier it is to get stuff in, the more likely you are to use it. A single inbox to throw stuff in to sort later is helpful here.
  • Make your system fun. If you don't enjoy using your productivity system, you're less likely to stick with it. Choose tools and apps you get excited about using.

It's important to keep your system fast, easy, and fun to use. Take the time to simplify every once and awhile. Otherwise, you're likely to abandon your system and end up back at square one.