I’ve been wrestling with Productivity for years. New apps, new methods to track tasks, new email programs, note taking apps, timers, focus modes etc.
At the end of the day though, it comes down to:
a) actually referring to, reviewing what needs to be done
b) DOING what needs to be done.
Has A or B above improved over my years of ingesting productivity tips? Maybe, but there is a HUGE discrepancy between what I’ve put in and what I’ve got back.
I’m having a mid-life tech crisis I think, in that the shiny new tools are holding less and less appeal to me. In the past several weeks I’ve gone from using Spark and fighting excess spam in Gmail to Fastmail and the stock mail app. I stopped paying for Obsidian sync to be on all my devices, opting to use iCloud on my computer and iPad only – my phone doesn’t have it installed anymore. I’ve reverted from Evernote to Apple Notes and saving things like receipts as files in iCloud. I’ve stopped clipping pages and screens “just in case”, and I’m moving on to my task manager situation next, looking to simplify that.
While I suppose the argument could still be made that things aren’t exactly simple, I’m not juggling 25 Obsidian plugins, clipping groups of web pages and sorting in Evernote, or checking my email more than a couple times a day.
In simplifying my systems and taking a step back from the “everything has to be power user status” point of view, I’ve reduced my stress levels.
I know someone will inevitably post on here saying simpler systems would stress them out, and they NEED to capture everything they do, watch, read, smell, see, and write in a complex Obsidian system. I’d argue that’s almost never the case.
Part of my inspiration for all this comes from fellow MPU users who are trimming subscriptions and focusing more on what works for them as opposed to what all the salesmen are peddling on YouTube and via podcasts.
I’m happy for the people who have complex systems in Obsidian and have to track things to the nth degree. I used to be one. But it feels to good to drop some of those rocks from my back pack. If anything, for me, it has helped me gain some clarity and increased my productivity.
I’m not here to tell you what to do, but the next time you think “oh, I NEED this to survive”, take a step back. You may be needlessly overcomplicating things. I know I sure did and still do here and there. It’s always a work in progress but don’t be afraid to say “I don’t need this!”
My stress levels are down and my number of subscriptions are down. I’d consider that a win.
I’m reminded of a quote Gordie Johnson from Big Sugar (Canadian band) mentioned on his YouTube channel. He was noticing people covering their songs on YouTube had their guitars tuned to standard tuning while Gordie usually uses open tunings that make it easier to finger the chords in their songs. He said “BB King once told me…you can play that way, but this way is so much easier. Why you wanna work so hard?”.