Notes from a Floating Life Thoughts about productivity, digital living, and leading a simpler life

There Is No Magic Formula

A sign saying 'You make your own magic', beside a notebook

With far too many people (and believe me, one is too many), productivity seems to be an endless search. A search for the right tool. A search for the right system. A search for that one hack. A search for that elusive magic formula that will tranform them into the productivity deities that they see within themselves.

You can fill Remember the Milk with tasks. You can cram all your thoughts and ideas and notes into Simplenote. You can pack Google Calendar with events and reminders. You can take pen to paper notebook after paper notebook and jot down whatever you need to organize yourself. And on and on.

But there’s a fundamental flaw in that thinking. Doing those things alone won’t make you productive. Doing those things alone won’t get the work done.

There is no magic formula.

There are no magical 3 steps, no 7 ways, no 5 secrets to productivity.

If you’re serious about being productive, if you’re serious about actually getting things done you need to:

  1. Show up
  2. Focus on what you need to get done now
  3. Sit down and do the work
  4. Move on to the next task
  5. Rinse and repeat

No magic involved there. No secrets. Just a lot of work, a lot of dedication. Being productive involves falling off the bicycle but getting back on again and getting back on track.

It takes a lot more effort and focus to do work than to spend time organizing yourself. The tools and systems can help you, but they shouldn’t be at the centre of the story.

The centre of your productivity story is you. No one else. Nothing else. Use the tools and systems to help you get where you want to go. Always remember, though, that the tools and systems are a convenience. They’re not doing the work. You are. Unless you’re ready and willing to get things done, no tool or system in the wacky world of productivity will help you.

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