For over a year now I’ve been trying to optimize my productivity and increase my output. Moreover, I also was slowly working on saving more information and outputs from previous works and organize my personal knowledge, links, quotes, etc. During that time I experimented with various ways of doing things and various tools, Toodledo, Notion, Google Keep, Google Task, Gmail to finally stabilize with a longer term workflow that lasted for months.
My previous workflow was based on Todoist, Calendar and Standard Notes.
–The information would go into Todoist inbox as the days go by and I had emails, picture, ideas, tasks to process from all sources.
–From the inbox once or twice a day I would go through and put the information and links in Standard Notes, sorted by categories.
–The task would go in categories in Todoist with a date or in a project if I had one already in there.
In each tool there would be general categories to organize things, for example, housing -> maintenance, work -> coding -> java or personal -> life -> health; each being distinct in their app since they all grew separately. The projects in Todoist would be the main big projects planned for this month/year or from work; for example, learning Japanese, migration of our hosting company, rebuilding my code for the web chat (still going on as this blog is a proof). All those projects would usually generate new tasks on the fly as they progress, get completed, until they were over.
From there the main workflow and process would be
–Daily: check and process things from inbox
–Daily: create new tasks as project advance
–Weekly: look over the coming week
–Weekly: look into what’s left for the month in planned projects/tasks
–Monthly: look into yearly projects planned and create tasks for the month
–Monthly: look into incoming months to see the events coming
–Yearly: look into dreams and life project to see what I could do and turn those into yearly projects
A couple of problems grew from there, after a while I felt like I didn’t have enough visibility into my work. Another problem was the lack of progress or what felt like lack of progress with “mega” project. Those spawned weeks or even months with tasks always keep coming and adding themselves, it was hard to get a feel for the progress made. There are days where I ended up feeling like I accomplished nothing, yet was busy all day with meaningful tasks. Those problems were slowly starting to make me doubt the system and my use of it.
Then I found out, from one of my read later articles, about the P.A.R.A. method from Thiago Forte. The method is based on organizing your files and output based on a hierarchy of your current project. From there I looked into his other ideas and method that made P.A.R.A. work or complimented it. Things clicked into places with the way I was kinda already doing things and the way I was seeing things. The 2 main principles I now integrated into my workflow to change things are JIT (Just in Time) Project Management and P.A.R.A. to keep it all organized and easy to find/access.
In the next post, I’ll go over how I implemented and made that work.