Productivity Status Early 2016

I broke one of my new rules today by tweeting out more than politics snark or sports and briefly outlined the direction I’m moving with my productivity this year. I’ve been toiling the past year or so trying to shoehorn my brain into Omnifocus to no avail, so at the beginning of the year I started exploring other methods. About 2 weeks ago, my brain just started to work in regard to using TaskPaper. If you aren’t familiar with TaskPaper, it is a plain text method of tracking todos that has tools built around it to filter by tags and projects. I’ve owned the app for awhile, but not until 3.0 was in beta did things begin to click within the app organizing projects. I always wanted (wrongly) to keep separate files for each project. Maybe that is one thing I learned using Omnifocus was structuring projects. Now everything personal is one single text file. I do have a separate one for the free lance work I’m doing because that’s a different mode. I don’t want to be distracted by anything when I’m trying to mow through items for work.

The other element of my productivity was how to keep and better use Reminders.app and Siri. I knew TaskPaper had Applescript support, so that was the first place I looked. Sure enough, I found a script that would import from Reminders to TaskPaper. Unfortunately, TP3 changed it’s scripting method to new JXA, so the old Applescripts were not compatible. Luckily, someone did the work before I fried synapses trying to learn more advanced methods of JXA. A thread in the support forums,
Using Siri covered exactly what I wanted.

From there, I devised the idea of having an “Inbox” for Siri and a corresponding list for TP. I also have a Grocery List and my main reminders is for timed items. I prefer Apple’s reminders because it’s nag is truly a nag. If something must be done on a certain day, it will sit on the lock screen of my phone. I can snooze it for an hour if it’s not time sensitive, and if it really can wait, I can put off until next day.

Now I can say, “Hey, Siri, add build a robot to my inbox” and she will. Later, I can run the script which will migrate (including deleting) the reminder to an Inbox in TaskPaper, which I can move to an appropriate project or create a new one if it is warranted. My next goal is to set up a cron job on the always-on iMac to run the script every night.

For iOS, I’ve tried a few different apps for TaskPaper, but it seems Editorial is going to stick. Also, I’ve not given up on Omnifocus for long term project tracking or potentially work related where contexts and due dates might be necessary, something OF excels at. An upcoming update to Omnifocus for iOS will vastly expand on the URL schemes, and there is already a demo using WorkFlow to build projects in OF from TaskPaper formatted lists in Editorial. Sounds snazzy.

All in all my new system isn’t that fancy or original, but again, that’s the trap of chasing productivity, apps and systems. They become complicated and burdensome to the point you abandon them for the next shiny object, never truly doing the stuff you really wanted to keep track of in the first place.

I hope when I visit this in the fall, I’ve not made many changes and can focus on what I’ve accomplished over the summer.

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