Exploring Mastery: A New Approach to Productivity

On the most recent episode of Mikes on Mics, Schechter and I had a great round table with Thanh Pham of Asian Efficiency (creators of OmniFocus Premium Posts) and Kourosh Dini, author of Creating Flow with OmniFocus (which I’m currently re-reading). One of the things that came up was the idea of mastery, especially regarding the topic of productivity and workflow. Schechter made a point of saying that I’m a student of productivity — something I completely agree with — but it was also something that got me thinking.

I do spend time exploring and learning about new apps all the time. From my days at The Next Web right through until the emergence of this site, I’ve continued to do that. Meanwhile, my approach to mastery has been more along the lines of the mindful components of productivity and workflow as opposed to the mastery of tools. I think this was definitely the right course — and still is. But I’m going to make a bit of a shift in my approach to exploration and mastery going forward.

I really do enjoy exploring, but I’m going to explore mastery of apps that I enjoy using (and that work for me) rather than spend time exploring new apps (or options). That doesn’t mean I’m not going to look at new apps. But I’ll be even more selective about those I do examine, and will spend less time in them if they don’t give me that “Hell, yeah!” sensation that warrants them becoming part of my app toolbox.

Instead, I’m going to explore the depths of those apps I do use regularly, and cull those apps that I don’t. I’m going to dive deeper into Evernote (which I’m already doing), look at my writing apps and see which ones can serve me best on multiple fronts (read: nvALT), and I’m going to do this over a period of time that doesn’t slow my progress while doing so.

This isn’t a new thing. For example, Patrick Rhone has his “enough” — and it’s safe to say it works for him. My old “enough” is now too much, so I’m going to redefine my “enough” by adding more quality while reducing quantity.

My goal has always been to stop doing productive and start being productive. This new approach will help me get closer to realizing that goal on an ongoing basis.