Recommending Analog system to the group

I just wanted to post here - i saw that the creator of Analog was on Focused in March, and I think a few like-minded MPUsers would find this interesting.

i backed Analog on Kickstarter when I was losing focus using my 100th digital task system and still not getting the important tasks done at work. To be honest, I backed it on a lark, not expecting to like it.

While i waited for Analog to ship, i decided to “roll my own”, creating custom task lists that i printed on Avery index card sheets. I was surprised how much I liked it as my daily driver, and only using Things as my long-term data storage.

When my Analog shipped, I thought, “Oh no, I don’t need this now. My own version is working so well.” But I got the Analog in the mail, which I had paid for, so I gave it a shot.

5 minutes later, all of my own index cards were in the garbage, and I was an Analog convert. The feel, the weight, the look, the little design choices. I could have never done something like this on my own.

I’ve been doing this for a few months now:

In the morning, before I look at any task list, I figure out my day in a daily journal on GoodNotes (from the Sweet Setup), and blue sky the three most important things I have to do in the day. Then I open up Things and see if there are any tasks that are both time sensitive and quick to do. I put 2 or 3 at the top of a fresh analog card, list my three items from my journal, and then see if there are 4 or 5 more tasks that I should try to get done for the day. Then I minimize Things, only opening it up to add more tasks for the future. For the day, I have my Analog card holder right below my screen, and when I have a moment, look down at today’s card before looking back at my email, messages, or any other time-stealers. I normally have a VERY booked day of zoom meetings and phone calls, so it will take me a full day to even finish 6 or 7 of my 10 daily tasks. But it really keeps me focused.

And I like the practice of hand writing the list every morning. This week, I wrote the same task EVERY morning. By Friday, I thought, “geez, I have to do this first, or delegate it to someone else.” And I got it done. I wish I could say the same thing for the dozens of tasks I had trapped in Things when I used it as my daily driver.

Strong recommend to anyone looking to change up their productivity system. The cards are fantastic!


I second!

I bought after seeing @ChrisUpchurch was using it.
It’s nice in that, being analog, it doesn’t make me switch contexts or take me out of what I’m working on like a digital app would. It also helps me think about what is important for the day, and how to write that succinctly.
Along with the previous day’s card, I review my Next cards each morning for things that might need my attention. So far, I haven’t needed a Someday card.


I can see that an analogue system would work, I will still use a hand-written index card/notebook on occasion. But, what is it about this particularly set up that your index cards could not do? Is it just simply it looks beautiful (which it does) or is there something else?

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What a smart business model! I like digital far too much, but this seems brilliant.

Aside: designers should be banned from Kickstarter—it’s too dangerous.


What is it about designers. They make beauty so effortless. I used to work in ad agencies and the creatives’ offices and work areas always looked great - it didn’t matter if they were minimalist or messy - they just know how to put it together.

I hate them!

Nick - Functionally, they are almost identical. For me, it’s the difference between choosing a BMW and a Ford fiesta. Both cars will get me where I need to go in the same amount of time, but the driving experience is noticeably different. Or a better analogy for me, the difference between using the standard iPad keyboard case and the magic keyboard. It’s not just that it “looks“ better. It’s that the designer put such great thought into spacing, line weight, layout, etc. when I look down during the day, It just looks really great, not something I cobbled together.


I haven’t been using next or someday. I use Things for that. What is till like about digital is putting in a task I have to do in 7 days, and not seeing it on my list for the next 6 days.

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Thanks, they really are things of beauty that have clearly been well thought through

I’ve been on-and-off tempted by this for some time (possibly by seeing the Kickstarter?), and especially since that episode. And especially since I understood that refills cost $30/quarter, not $30/mo!

While I use OF and various project and task management systems at work, I often like to complement them with a paper list. A really nice paper list that takes up the perfect amount of desk space would be so much the better.

Curious how you all are finding the ratio of usage between the three types of cards, though. If you have a topsy-turvy week, do you find yourselves using a next and someday cards faster? Or do you stay disciplined by combining those cards with another system? Or do you just stay even all the time?

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I use Agenda for my digital system. That’s where my projects live, and the bulk of the planning, next action creation, and project note taking happens there.

As far as Analog, I use a Today card each day, and so far I’ve used, and am still using, 2 Next cards. I haven’t used any Someday cards.

Next is kind of a “not today or tomorrow” card for me. If I see I don’t have time for something a couple of days in a row, and it’s not pressing, I put it on a Next card, then write an N next to it on the Today card.
At the end of the day, the things I didn’t get to usually go on the next day’s Today card, and I put a little T by them on the current day’s card. That way I know nothing has been overlooked. It’s either checked off, or has a T or N beside it.
Similarly, when I move something from a Next card to a Today card, I put a T beside it.

It’s kind of like making breakfast, hard to explain in steps, but not too hard to do.

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I’m an Omnifocus user and have been using Analog for a couple weeks and I like it.

Something that happens to me with OF is that I’ll just go in “check off” mode and just work on things to get them done. Analog invites me to be more intentional. I make my list in the morning and operate from it. I don’t get lost in “what can I check off” and instead focus on doing the things I decided earlier. And with the dots circled in, I feel accomplished at the end of the day in a way that’s hard to mimic in OF.

Also, I love that you can half fill in a circle when you’ve started but not finished a task. I find that motivating and wish more task management software (or any) offered that as an option.


Analog seems gorgeous. I just want to buy it. However, I have found the intentionality you speak about – which is indeed crucial – has been brought to me by time blocking. (Thank you again @MacSparky for your posts on the subject which have been truly transformative.)


Beck - same here.

I’ve been filling in the left half of the circle if I have started but not finished. I am now only filling I the right half of the circle if I’m now waiting on someone else before I can finish the task. I also find that very helpful.

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This is an attractive system, but at the end of the day it seems rather pricey for what comes down to index cards in a wooden box, no? Have we come full circle with Merlin? Introducing the Hipster PDA | 43 Folders

Having lived 3/4 of my life in an analog world and the last quarter almost completely digital, I do not miss analog. I find digital to be much more effective for my needs. And, I can obtain the essential benefits of analog by using an Apple Pencil on my iPad. For me at least, it has the same basic effect as using a legal pad and pencil, an index card, physical calendar, etc. Analog is prettier and there is indeed a certain physical joy that digital lacks, but on balance digital works better for me.

Aside from the aesthetic and appreciation for the kinetic, it seems that the biggest argument in favor of analog systems is that they help avoid distraction. I certainly cannot speak for others but I do not find myself being distracted in the digital world. I stay focused, almost all notifications are turned off, and I do virtually no social media, this forum is my only exception. I think these habits contribute to my ability to stay focused in a digital environment.

I think I’ll stick to the paperless, digital lifestyle. :slight_smile:


I’ve been using for some time now and I throughly enjoy it. I use all cards as “Today” cards, I have no use for the “Next” or “Someday” concepts alluded by the Analog system. Everyday, I select the most important tasks and appointments from my digital tools and, after that, don’t open them anymore

The other use case I have for them is note taking. Although I have a 95% paper free work environment, I have been forced to accept that paper is still convenient and, in some cases, unavoidable. For example, if I’m meeting with someone and nobody’s using a digital tool, it seems awkward to be the only one with a fancy tablet and digital pen. Instead, I use my analog cards to jot down the most important points of whatever meeting I’m having. I can make it stick because I have a very neat and tidy handwriting, :sweat_smile:

After the day is over, I scan and hazel them into the right folder so I get a digital copy of whatever I wrote that day.


+1. I had my first in-person meeting with my boss today. I took my notes on paper (a Cortex Subtle Notebook ) and transferred them to Noteplan later.


I love notebooks with tear-off corners. Don’t need a sticky to mark the current page.

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Functionally, you’re not wrong. As I mentioned at the top, I had made my own version with Avery Index Cards and a printer, and functionally they were basically the same. but these cards are just so well done that I love using them.

truth is, I don’t really need the wooden case. half the time, my card of the day ends up on my Qi charging stand. If you were intrigued, you could just spend $13 plus shipping for one pack of 50 cards. if you don’t love it, no big hit to your wallet. if you do like it, get the full kit, and the extra 50 cards will be used in a month.

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I ´ve had a similar experience. I didn´t get the wooden box as it looked like a glorified card holder. I just use a wine cork with a deep enough cut to hold them upwards.

I ´ve also tried building my own index cards, but Analog cards are the right thickness and properly formated.