I have anxiety every time I see a new concept for organization or personal productivity.

In my office right now I have binders, leather notebooks, DayTimer organizers, nifty little Moleskine notebook in various shapes and sizes and color coded file folders like a rainbow.  If there exists a personal productivity system I’ve either read about it, tried it, or at least put it in my Someday-Maybe file in Dropbox. (+10 points if you get the joke)

Despite all of this, I’m not embarrassed about it.  Sometimes the top of my desk gets so cluttered that I find mildly surprising things at the bottom of the pile.  You know what?  That’s ok.  It’s ok to try new things and it’s ok to be messy sometimes.  It’s only the trying part that leads to the succeeding part.  It’s ok to NOT know what you’re doing.

Conversely, it’s NOT ok to not improve what you’re doing.

I think that’s the real key to all of this “personal productivity” crap is the attempt to improve one’s own processes, not to buy in wholeheartedly to some particular system.  That being said I own Getting Things Done (probably the quintessential book on personal organization) and I’ve read books like SCRUM: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time and I’m reading Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days.  Each of these books helps me clarify and better understand some system in my world.

The point is that I didn’t just suddenly read one of these books one day and decide “Hey, my life’s problems are completely solved!” and no matter how many positive reviews you read or how many personal recommendations you get you need to keep in mind that all of these people slack off, they change little things, and they adapt the system to their own world.  You have that ability as well.

Personally, I’ve moved to a hybrid GTD concept using Dropbox, Asana and some awesome tools like Pocket and OneNote.  I hope to share those ideas with you soon.  In the meantime, give yourself a break.  Keep making progress and don’t worry about not doing right – just do it better than yesterday.