A Case for Getting Personal with Productivity

Productivity is a very personal topic for me. At times it has gotten too personal, but that has helped me develop such a close understanding with the art and craft of personal productivity. It’s what has helped me become a productivityist. Task management apps have simply helped me along the way.
Now I’ve made no secret about the fact that I’ve used numerous task management apps – I’ve gone through a similar journey as Gabe over at Macdrifter is writing about as of late. I am able to move between them – either by abandoning them or simply testing them and using them for specific purposes – because “what’s good for the goose isn’t always good for the gander”, as they say. Apps like Asana come to mind, along with IQTELL. I’ve used Things and The Hit List, and I pay for and use Flow.

I test apps. I play with them. I even have a workflow set up so that when I do use a new task management app, I can copy and paste the details of that workflow in there so that each one is evaluated on on an even playing field. It took me a while to get the place I’m at now, where I can shift almost seamlessly from app to app. I think that a lot of it has to do with what Cal Newport wrote about this week: I use the apps I’m testing for the shallow work. I use the ones I’ve added to be workflow for the deeper work

So what task management apps allow me to do the deeper work?

For individual task management, I always come back to OmniFocus. I like having a separate app for myself and myself alone. I like how OmniFocus gives me both the time and space I need to create – the things I need to make great work happen. I think that adding a collaborative component would take that much-needed space that I need, which would result in a lack of focus. I’ll leave my collaborative task management to the apps that do those well (such as the aforementioned ones) and let OmniFocus be my productivity safe haven. So my deeper work generally begins with capture and ends with a checkmark in OmniFocus. As for the other apps in my workflow that help me get the deeper work done…I’ve written about them over at The Next Web.

There’s nothing wrong with using multiple tools as long they are being used with the purest of intentions in mind. Going against that mindset will result in failed experimentations (see my Evernote experiment) and friction that simply is there of your own design. I use all of my tools for the reasons I use them. I know what they are to be used for and i use them for that. My goal – to put it in lifehacking terms – is to hack life, not hack the things that hack life. A productivityist’s goal is to be productive…not do productive.

This week on Mikes on Mics, we spoke with Ken Case (CEO of The Omni Group) and the conversation revolved around the current iteration of OmniFocus…and even waded into the waters of what we might be able to expect from Omnifocus 2. You can listen to Episode 47 of the Mikes on Mics podcast here.