I applaud @joebuhlig’s steps towards going to a paper-based productivity system.
I’ve always believed that sometimes productivity apps are powerful tools that can become monsters. OmniFocus is one of the most powerful and complex task management app out there. But we tend to make our productivity workflows more complicated than it should be.
I will see users switch from task app to task app searching for that magical task manager that will motivate us to do more. But it’s not often about doing more. It’s about choosing the right things to do that will provide maximum benefit for the current state of our lives. They’ll switch from OmniFocus to another app then switch back. Then switch again to the newest task management app that was just released. But most of the time, the productivity app masks the source of the problem - the productivity system/workflow that is in place.
In the end, I think it’s the workflow or the system that matters. Doing it on paper takes away all the bells and whistles that we thought we needed. It’s back to the basics. Once we have a paper-based workflow cemented down and working, it can be easy to translate it back into the digital world if one chooses to do so.
I’ve gone back to paper to rebuild my productivity system as a way to reboot. It’s different from just deleting my OmniFocus database and starting from scratch. I actually had to find the workflow steps needed to get my life back in order.
Now that I’ve done that, I use OmniFocus just to warehouse all of the someday/maybe projects and tasks that are important in my life today or in the future. Then I will review those on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis/ When I am ready to work on a someday/maybe project, I activate it by committing it to my notebook (either the office notebook or the home notebook/whiteboard) to work on. Anything in the notebook or whiteboard is what gets done. Nothing else.
So I’ll estimate that most of my planning and reviewing is done in OmniFocus and most of my doing/execution is done in my notebooks. I think this is where my current balance is right now.
But of course anything can change, right?