The last productivity advice you’re ever going to need

You’re not a machine. So, measuring your productivity shouldn’t be your ultimate goal. And optimizing and managing your priorities is a life-long process that will go through a thousand iterations by the time you’re finally through.

Instead of focusing on GTD or any other complex methodologies, create a system that’s easier for you to understand and, most importantly, follow through. There’s no point in experimenting with different systems only to miss out on critical deadlines or get stressed about not being able to stay on top of your priorities.

I know what you’re thinking, “do you not need a productivity system, Sunil?” Of course, you do! But not what someone else out there is doing or recommending. I’ve found keeping things simple to be the most effective way to get things done.

How do you go about that? Try the following:

  1. Keep a notebook and pen with you all the times
  2. Create an Evernote account (or Apple Notes, if you have the “ecosystem”)
  3. Use a decent task management system That’s it! You either or a combination of the above, I use a task-management system and Evernote as my daily drivers. There are times when I use a notebook to scribble in my thoughts, but I always take a snap of the handwritten notes to store them electronically. Going back to our topic, how can you be productive amidst all the chaos? Three rules:
  4. Remember the version you had before exposed to all the BS on productivity? Dust that off and tries using it again. If you get stuck, think of ways to make it better, and you will now have a system that’s faster, improved, and effective. (Why do you think I went from a notebook to Evernote? The latter is an enhanced version of the former. And both are complementary.)
  5. Remember that the most productive people rely on the act of getting things done than the tool itself. That might mean you will have to block out time in your calendar or go to the Himalayas to focus but what’s going to be done has to be done. By you. Period. The best tools on the planet will fail if you’re a master procrastinator.
  6. Simpler tools have fewer moving parts, and hence, there’s a higher likelihood that you will use them for the longest haul. There’s a reason why the humble notebook and pen has been the preferred productivity tool since the 16-17th century and why even the most complex of projects first make their appearances on paper before being imported into a complex enterprise-level tool.

So, my recommendation will be to keep things dead simple. Instead of experimenting with different methodologies, use something as simple as a notebook, a task-management system, or both.

The whole art of getting things done is in the act of execution. The tool doesn’t matter as much as you think.

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