Productivity: Old school is sometimes best.

I’ve probably spent a (very) small fortune on apps aimed at productivity: OmniFocus, Things, etc. for both my iOS devices as well as my MacBook Pro. (Okay, maybe not a small fortune, but maybe enough to take a good chunk out of a month’s car payment.) Over time, I’ve begun to conclude that the productivity apps are not the best for every situation.

The system I’ve developed seems to work well for me, and perhaps it will help you—or at the very least inspire some modification that works for you.

I use OmniFocus to keep track of various projects (client matters, home improvements, etc.). Within each project I maintain the GTD-style actions needed. I also include relevant due dates (often a week ahead of time for filing deadlines) so I can keep an eye on what must-do items need my attention.

Where I find OmniFocus, Things, and other apps lacking, however, is in managing the daily to-do list. Although I can look at the items due today, that list doesn’t include things I want to do on a given day even if they are not due that day.

Screen Shot 2012-12-09 at 1.45.56 PM

Click to enlarge

What I use is a form developed by David Seah as part of his Printable CEO™ series. Specifically, I use the Emergent Task Planner to list things I want to do on a given day. If I want, I can use the blank schedule to note appointments and court appearances. The lower right section is a convenient place for me to record voice mail messages and other notes.

Because the various notes are something I may need to refer to later, I keep the pages for previous days. To avoid a mess of paper hanging around, I keep them all in a Circa notebook. I print out a set of blank Emergent Task Planner pages and use a Circa punch to let the pages fit in my notebook. Using paper gives me a good excuse to use my fountain pens and try different inks.

This system has worked well for me for a while. How are you using new tech and old tech to manage your productivity? Leave a comment and share your success stories, failures, and suggestions.


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