I spend a lot of time thinking about "productivity", in particular the tools we use to get things done. Discovering the 'Back To Work' podcast a few years ago was a revelation. Dan Benjamin and Merlin Mann spend an hour or so every week discussing ways to work better and more effectively, with a whole lot of inside jokes and general nerdy banter thrown in.
Over the years I've attempted to emulate some of Merlin's suggestions. I've gone as far as switching email clients, task managers and even buying the exact same notebook he uses in hopes of becoming a GTD ninja. The majority of this week's episode was based on an email I sent hoping to gain even further insight into Dan and Merlin's processes and workflow. After almost 5 years of dedicated listening I finally paid attention to the second half of every one of Merlin's tips:
"...but you have to use what works best for you"
I'm not sure why that extremely important bit of advice never registered before now.
I've wasted so much time trying to find that elusive perfect system that should have been spent actually doing inspiring work. I know the apps and systems that fit how my brain works, and I've often completely disregarded them in hopes of finding something better. I've tried (and failed) to adjust my workflow to fit certain apps, instead of using the apps that fit my workflow.
I'll still look forward to new episodes every Tuesday and will continue to test out whatever recommendations are given, but I'll make sure they compliment how I work before trying to force them into my daily use.