Personal productivity.

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From DayRunners to Franklin Planners to Palm Pilots, Handspring Visors, Android and iOS phones and tablets and more, I’ve regularly pushed the boundaries of the tools I had on hand to make organizing my life as minimal and frictionless as possible.  However, the basics of personal productivity transcend technology- and are much more about routine and discipline.  Without discipline and consistency, any productivity strategy will fail.

Here’s the simple tactics I use to keep life on the rails – whether on paper or electrons – and how you can do the same for your own life.

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Simplification

While making coffee and preparing for our Sunday this morning and absent-mindedly tap/swiping my way through my email inbox on my iPad, I realized that my regular routines these days are almost diametrically-opposed to how they were just a year ago. In a nutshell, I haven’t ‘sat down at a keyboard’ in almost 6 months now, at least at home. I have three laptops – only one of which sees any action and it’s when I fire it up – like a desktop machine – each day at work, and then put it to sleep when I leave. Only rarely is it undocked for meetings in favor of the aforementioned iPad, and even those moments are further apart and fewer than ever before.

What’s changed? Unconscious simplification. I never intended an iPad to be my main computing device, but by nature of it’s rather innocuous and carry-friendly footprint it’s weaseled its way into my life quite definitively. Although there’s still professional recording, video editing and a handful of tasks that still need the extra beef of a full-blown computer, even those tasks – up to a certain point – have become manageable on a tablet today, and what was hopeful curiosity a year ago has become convenient reliability in recent weeks.

My old arguments against a tablet-based life usually revolved around power (the processors and display weren’t beefy enough for real work) and a mix of ergonomics and efficiency (virtual keyboards, to be frank, just never work as well or allow you to work as fast as real keys on a real alphabetic or musical keyboard, not to mention all the reasonably-good audio interfaces aren’t generally compatible with iOS devices).

What made the difference?

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