Productivity System Overhaul: Tidying and Tools

I recently overhauled my productivity system.

What I was doing wasn’t working. School wasn’t working. My body wasn’t working.

I was forgetting things. I wasn’t getting enough sleep1. I was burned out. Stress with school, stress with trying to get my side projects together. Stress with finding employment. Stress with a cluttered apartment. It took its toll.

What I Did

First, I read a summary of the KonMari method of tidying things from her book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

Immediately I went about throwing out all the junk in my apartment.

First, I threw out old clothes, a potpourri steamer, old placemats from my first apartment, paper that had accumulated from all the junk mail I receive. I threw it all out.

Then I cleaned my living room, overhauled my kitchen, moved and cleaned my bedroom.

Of course, this happened over time. But the tossing of junk happened at once.

Productivity Systems Revisited

If you’re going to write about productivity and relevant applications for productivity, it is best that you are actually putting your money where your mouth is.

First rule for me at least: If it doesn’t look good, I am probably not going to use it.

This is something I found out early in my Apple software life. I appreciate good design. If it is cumbersome, fiddly, or ugly, I’m just not going to want to use it.

I ditched BusyCal for Fantastical 2. It helped that my friend Francesco D’Alessio was giving away software licenses for his 5,000 subscriber YouTube giveaway.2 Luckily I won the Fantastical 2 license and went about setting off to be more productive.

I got a copy of Carl Pullein’s book Your Digital Life. It is a primer on how to be productive in the digital age, with digital tools, implementing the GTD method.

This book changed the way I work.

That’s not hyperbole. It did change the way I work with my tools, and how to just be a better, more organized, and less stressed productive person.

I set up a system I will talk about in the next post. So far, it has been a success. I have been more productive than ever before in my life, working on paid work and open source software as well, while I gain better programming skills and look for employment.

Stay tuned.

  1. I still am not getting enough sleep. I have a sleep disorder that is being taken care of now. 

  2. Check out his YouTube channel. Excellent content.