By David Scott, Managing Member at Avid Communications
I’m a productivity junkie who’s easily bored. This is not a good combination.
I’m always looking for some tool that will make a job easier and faster. I’m always seeking a way to be better organized. But I’m too easily entranced by something new, and therefore my information gets stored and dragged out across multiple platforms. I have stuff in Evernote, G-Suite, Microsoft 365, Ryver, Confluence and many more. I’m always trying to consolidate information in the single, best place. But before I get anywhere near done, I discover something that’s “better”. It’s a terrible character flaw.
And these are the worst times of the year for me. Winter and spring find me stuck inside due to snow or rain, and that launches me into a frenzy of organizing. Even now I’m awaiting delivery of the “best ever” label maker.
Everything in our house will then have its designated place and will be labeled. All paper will be scanned and appropriately stored online. It will be accessible from anywhere, on any type of device; that way when my dishwasher is acting up and I am in Chicago, I will know exactly what to tell my wife to do.
The fact is that most of these productivity and organization tools actually make things worse.
It’s my fault, I know, but they encourage me to keep everything and work tirelessly to somehow organize it all. This could easily be a full time job, especially as one tries to get their arms around decades of accumulation, and it is a job I will never finish.
And yet all is not hopeless! I’ve found a few tools that actually stand the test of time, at least for me, and make things better. I use AnyList, a very simple app that started out as a grocery list for me, and has morphed into a way for me to tell my wife what I want her to do and for her to tell me what she wants me to do. All without actually having a conversation!
I can bark at Siri, who will dutifully add an item to a list. When it’s done, the item goes away forever! It becomes a game of working to arrive back at a clean slate, list by list.
Another winner is a simple Lazy Susan (or turntable). I don’t have to put things in their designated place, I just have to put it on a Lazy Susan. When I need something, I just start spinning the turntables until it turns up. Bye bye label maker. I have Lazy Susans in my refrigerator, in the supply closet, in the electronics closet, and I’m contemplating putting one under the bed.
I’m still working on the miracle cure for document organization.
I scan documents like a madman, but can’t seem to commit to one storage platform. So while my wife’s primary document storage technology is a towering pile of paper, she knows exactly where to find something. And I don’t.
My quest will continue. I’ll still chase new things. But don’t ask me where I put my vaccination card…