When is it time to revamp your own productivity—and what actually matters when you DO decide to do that?
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Issue #23

Manage Your Systems (& Not the Other Way Around) 

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Happy Saturday! This week's issue is a bit late—but hey, we all made it to the weekend!

I spent most of this summer reorganizing my personal to do systems (so exciting, I know!) and figuring out how to track all of the work I need to do without (1) being totally overwhelmed by a complex system, and (2) losing track of my to dos across multiple platforms. This week, I was reading an article from The Reluctant Project Manager that spoke to my thoughts and experiences during my reorganization process.

We manage so much work on projects that it can be difficult to find time to make systems that work for ourselves. And even more often, we might find ourselves at the mercy of a system or process we created that just isn't working for us anymore. This week we're focusing on how to make sure our systems work for us—instead working to fit our systems.

Tracking To Dos Efficiently
If you're anything like me, you have piles of notepads, notebooks, countless apps you've tried (and some you love!), and more to track your to dos. This summer, I finally sat down and took stock of everything I used—and whether it was working for me. I was surprised to realize that app-based to do lists really don't save me time when I'm tracking personal work to dos. The time I spent typing, categorizing, scheduling, and organizing tasks was far greater than just jotting something in a dedicated notebook. So I updated my system to keep my calendar items and recurring, automated tasks in one place on my laptop—and then I condensed all of my to dos into one streamlined notebook.

Make Your Workspace Work For You
It has taken me years to come to terms with the fact that I work best in a dead-silent environment. I've tried listening to instrumental music, podcasts, working from co-working spaces, work from an office, working at home, and working from coffee shops. The best and most focused work I do is at my desk (with both of my monitors, room for my water pitchers, and notebooks) in total silence. As unglamorous as that is, it's what works for me. While I work from home—which means less constraints—there are still ways you can make your workspace work for you:

More Reading

This week has given us a ton of fantastic articles about personal/leadership development and project management: 
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