Tools for Fools - Real Productivity Doesn't Live in an App
"If only there was a way to ensure with perfect certainty that I should never forget an important task..." I once wondered.
"Pick me!" - Asana, Trello, BaseCamp, Evernote, and all their cousins hollered back in harmony.
So I did. Sometimes individually, sometimes in combination, I sought and used their systems many times to great effect...but never to perfect certainty of non-forgettal.
I've known for quite some time that I am not alone in my hunger for productivity perfection. There are thousands of us out there, honing our processes, always on the look-out for the fabled productivity tool that ratchets tight the last bolt, finally locking our thrusters to the shuttle.
But that day will never come.
"Even the best of tools are useless in unskilled hands"
There is no process of noting or compiling tasks that does not (or will ever find a way to not) account for the variable of human fallibility. Be it an app, a journal, a calendar, a to-do list, NOTHING will read your mind from surface to depth and include all action items of importance for you.
Not even A.I.
No doubt artificial intelligence will be a fantastic tool upon its commercial release, but it will still be a tool...and we will still be the fools operating it.
I will see your saying and raise you another:
"Even the simplest of tools are devastating in the hands of a master"
So, what really makes one a master of productivity? Well, quite simply they get shit done regardless of the caliber of tool they use. But we already knew that...The real question is how do they manage to accomplish so much?
I'm sorry for throwing so many quotes into this piece, but they seem to be stitching my thoughts together quite succinctly, so here's another:
"The best system is the one you USE!"
Blah blah blah, you already knew that too right? Then why are you still reading? This blog's sole purpose is to provide new insight into productivity, which is fancy-talk for ANOTHER GODDAMN PRODUCTIVITY TOOL!
Mmmm, but the plot thickens; I myself also know "the best system is the one I use". For me, writing about productivity is my way of deconstructing and debriefing on new tools, tactics and hacks that I'm always finding...because I'm still looking too...ugh.
So why am I still writing?
I write and you read because at some level we still think the magic hack is out there. Because we're all fools. But hang with me, there may be a silver-lining in our foolishness and insatiable curiosity after all.
A brief baby-book tangent:
Studies unanimously show that soon-to-be-parents who read pregnancy and early childhood development books prove to be better parents than those who don't. The authors and publishers eat these stats alive and cite them whenever possible, slapping quotes all over the dust-covers: "Pregnancy books make better parents." Period. Case closed.
...Not so fast.
At some point someone had the notion that this was not a causal relationship between reading and parenting, it was a correlational relationship. In other words, it wasn't that the books made the readers better parents, parenting was already of high importance to these people...and people who place importance on parenting are just the type to read books on it.
And so it is with us. Our mere curiosity towards productivity predisposes us for productivity masterhood. Our systems are our pregnancy books, and our crafts are our children. The only difference is that we can delay the birth of our children if we don't put down the goddamn books and stop searching for app that hacks "to perfect certainty". Their deadline is firm; when the kid comes, they put their system into action.
And so it must be with us.
Or there will be no one to pay for our nursing homes ;-)