My Productivity Setup

I get asked as to how I stay productive, here's my setup/routine.

Back when I was younger, I used to like making complicated shit for the sake of “productivity” and at the end of the day, I can try to tell myself that I’m productive.

Bunch of “productivity” apps, pomodoro timer , nice clean design for writing, neat table, a bunch of to-do lists and apps for idea processing, notebooks, bullet journaling, microblogging for accountability, etc. etc. etc.

Lots of numbers, results driven and it makes you look busy but after analyzing a year’s worth of data, I saw that I wasn’t being productive even if checked off a lot of tasks.

You know what? I’m at the age now where I’ve already tried everything and I’ve already taken that step back to see what works for me.

My conclusion is simple: It’s all about priorities and my attention span.

Sure, I still get tempted with the latest productivity tools or tips but at the end of the day, if it doesn’t work, don’t use it because it’s not going to make you more productive.

At the end of the day, it’s not the apps, it’s not the number of things you check off your list or that pretty notebook system that will make you productive, it’s what keeps you focused on the task at hand.

In my case, my system should be keeping my attention span in check.

That’s it.

So currently, here’s what I use:

  • Things 3 > capture all ideas, manage them into spaces and prioritize what I need to do for the current day

  • Bullet Journal > I AM NOT a hardcore journaler (is that a word?) but I like doing bullets and sometimes, doodling to generate ideas or organize what I have to do then move it to Things for processing.

  • Pomodoro Timer > I use a Mac app but you can use whatever, there are even web based ones. I am not too fond of this but I turn on the “Ticking” of the timer. This drives me crazy but it keeps me focused on what I need to do. As long as I hear that ticking, I don’t stray away and open Facebook or feel anxious about checking support or emails.

Nowadays, I turn on Do Not Disturb on my Mac so no notifications bother me at all.

I am by no means saying I’m a robot and that I’m always productive. I’m a happy go lucky kind of guy so it’s normal to bum or feel lazy but I just try to be accountable. If I missed some urgent tasks, I better make sure I finish it.

One last tip: If you notice a task that keeps getting pushed off, it means you need to break it down to smaller tasks. Try it.

That’s really it. Try to keep it simple and work new strategies in. See what works for you. Don’t overthink it.


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