Tip 15: Use the Productivity System That Works for You

by Annie

in Fall Into Productivity

Image of ripe orange pumpkins in a round rustic basket with a text overlay reading "#15 - Use the productivity system that works for you"

This is a post in Pajama Productivity’s first (hopefully) annual “Fall Into Productivity” month. (Clever wordplay, right? The llamas came up with that.) All month long in October 2016, we’ll be publishing lovely autumnal graphics with a fresh productivity tip each and every day. You can catch all the fall fun right here on the PJP blog, on our PJP Facebook page, or on Twitter @pjproductivity – use the #FallIntoProductivity hashtag to find all posts.

Today’s Fall Into Productivity tip: Use the productivity system that works for you.

Trust me on this: There are, as my grandmama would have put it, a “gracious plenty” productivity systems out there. Oodles and oodles of ’em.

Tons of productivity and task management apps.

Books galore.

We suffer from an embarrassment of riches in the productivity field, frankly.

That’s OK, though, because it means that no matter who you are, and no matter how you’re built, you’re likely to find something that works for you.

Whether it’s an out-of-the-box soup-to-nuts system (such as the classic Getting Things Done), or the necessary individual ingredients for a DIY system you can make yourself, you’ve got access to a way to approach your creative workflow efficiently and effectively, that won’t make you crazy.

Why is this important?

Well, let me ask you a few questions …

And be honest, now…

Did you read Getting Things Done?

Did you put into practice all the tips and strategies and tactics laid out in that book?

Did you keep at it for at least a few weeks?

Are you still adhering 100% to that system?

I’m willing to bet that the answer to at least one of these questions is “no.” Why do I say that?

Welp, for one thing, if you answered yes to each of them, you probably wouldn’t feel like you needed any other or different productivity advice, and thus probably wouldn’t be reading this blog to begin with!

But primarily it’s this: No one I know and have worked with has ever said ‘yes’ to all those questions. 

That’s not to say that I think there aren’t any people in the world who are GTD converts and evangelists, who’ve embraced that system fully and have stuck with it ever since.

I’m just saying I don’t know any of them.

Instead, most of the people I’ve worked with and spoken with about this fall into one of two camps:

  1. The “no way, no how” camp: They hated GTD, never saw the appeal, and possibly couldn’t even bring themselves to even finish the book.
  2. The “bits and pieces” camp: They didn’t hate GTD. They read it, they tried to implement it, but they couldn’t make it work as a whole. They may have incorporated little “bits and pieces” of the GTD system into their own approach (i.e., the 2-minute rule or the concept of “contexts).

Again: I’m not criticizing Getting Things Done or its brilliant author/creator. GTD is a great system …for the right people.

But in my experience, creative workers (and most entrepreneurs and freelancers fall into that category) simply need something different. GTD doesn’t take advantage of their natural inclinations, skills, and preferences.

So if you’ve tried adopting one system or another but just can’t make yourself do it – can’t make the pieces fit – can’t seem to force yourself into total compliance with its various rules and tactics – my advice to you is this: Stop trying to make yourself fit a system and instead, create a system that fits you.

Make sense?



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