Often when I see productivity or a productivity system mentioned it is mentioned in the context of an app like a Task Manager or something like Notion which can be many things such as a task manager, Notes taker, wiki or even a spreadsheet. Notion is a good example of where I’m going with this article.
A productivity system, at a minimum, involves a task manager and a Notes keeping system that is more like a database that can store anything you come across that may need to be referenced. Thus, something like Notion is a good example or even Informant that has a calendar, task manager and notes module in one app demonstrates how these items in tandem lead to inceased productivity. However, what we may want is something that is the best in each area.
A combination that makes for a good productivity system for more than one reason is the task management system Omnifocus and the Note taking system DEVONthink. I choose these as they are structured and deep. Omnifocus for some is overkill and a bit too much so you could employ your task manager of choice such as Todoist or TickTick. DEVONthink is basically an extremely powerful note taking system that is a database and can store anything. In place of DEVONthink you might think of Keep It!, Nimbus Notes or Evernote all note taking systems that are structured and deep.
However, for this article I’d like to discuss Omnifocus and DEVONthink combined as a powerful productivity system. Omnifocus is GTD based and currently this is the best model for productivity. Omnifocus is a powerful Task Manager that can manipulate and manage your tasks in a number of ways.
DEVONthink is a structured information and knowledge managment system that can handle anything you throw at it and this is powerful. When you’re trying to find something important to a project and it is stored in DEVONthink you will be able to find it fast. This is important. The faster you can find something and the more accurate what you’re looking for is found the more productive you become.
Notion could be tacked on as a Notetaking system also but it is not a structured system but a very fluid system. It is database oriented and it is impressive for what it can do but you have to know what you’re doing with Notion otherwise finding something can be an issue. It is though more of a knowlegemanagent system due to the way you can sow information together using a wiki format. This can lead to new ideas and thinking.
Omnifocus is your Roadmap
In your productivity system you need to know where you’re going and how to get there. Omnifocus provides this. You have goals and to reach those goals you need a roadmap to get there.
Omnifocus allows you to have areas your working on known as folders and then projects within those areas. Projects are a set of tasks that need to be done to accomplish the project. Omnifocus not only provides you with these projects and tasks that you create but the tasks can be nested one relying on another. In Omnifocus the idea is just to write it down as fast as you think of it so you don’t forget what has to be done. This has the effect of freeing up your brain for what you have to do allowing you to think creatively. The more stuffed your brain the less creative.
Projects could be part of the goals you outline for yourself. If you get such and such projects done it will lead to you having met a goal something many of us have trouble formulating. However, it is achieving our goals that can be seen as progress.
DEVONthink to capture the Output
Though you could go a long with just Omnifocus and write voluminous notes in the program about what is important and what you’re doing much of what is required is research, documentation and analysis of the material. DEVONthink makes the perfect environment for caputuring anything and everything. It is at its heart a smart database system.
As you’re developing your projects and tasks, you’ll need a place to store the information such as research needed to complete certain tasks. You’ll also need a place to store the output of these tasks and projects and a way of relating pertinent information.
DEVONthink provides all of this through an hierachically based, folder structured database Note taker. In DEVONthink you’ll capture whatever you need to accomplish your work and relate that to whatever to draw logical conclusions.
Culmination of these Inputs and Outputs that Leads to Productivity
Productivity enhancements come about as the culmination of these inputs and outputs produced in Omnifocus and then again in DEVONthink. These programs need to be thought of in a synergistic fashion one working with the other. You might be able to produce a fair bit with either individually but in combination the sum of the results are much greater than the parts.
That is, when you look at your work by using both components of your productivity system you will be farther ahead than if you had just worked with one or the other program in an ad hoc fashion. What you do or accomplish needs material either physical or mental to get something done. You might have a task to determine which is the better of something then have to draw on research and preferably logged research to come to the conclusion.
The conclusion or advancement to your goal might be the sum of all the work done to get your projects completed. Referencing these and then combining them into a final output is the essence of productivity and the accuracy, ease and speed to get there is what is needed for enhanced productivity.
Productivity based on Synergies
As was mentioned at the beginning, your choice of the applications might be different from that presented here but they need to be robust to meet your needs. Most importantly, it is the synergy of these applications that creates productivity. The greater the synergy, the more productive you are.