Good Intention, Failure Imminent

I intended to write a post about all the systems and ideas I’ve tried over the years. Instead it was more appropriate to call bullshit and tell you it’s a brain wiring problem and until you find something that ‘clicks’ it’ll just be failure after failure and soul crushing.

This post is meant to inspire you to think about organization systems and let you know that you’re not alone with this topic. It’s a non-trivial concern for people and it can take a long time to find a good organization system tuned to an individuals needs. Don’t worry: I’ll let you know what works for me but it’s not dogma, gospel, the best or anything else. What I use to stay organized works for me, I have no illusions it’s a strange system that won’t work for most humans walking the planet.

I spent years (decades?) discovering, fine tuning and figuring out how my brain works when it comes to staying organized, on top of life and whatnot.

I empathize and understand why people throw in the towel on all manner of organization systems. I promise. My trick was iterations and honest[!] feedback loops. If a system didn’t work I thought about why and made tweaks and tried again until a system felt natural and ‘just stuck’. I’m also a stubborn asshole at times and I was able to channel that mind set into finding an organization scheme that works best for me.

Universal Junk

ALL organization systems are the embodiment of both great and terrible in a single place.

How does your mind work? Are you more of a ‘hopper’ or maybe ‘one at a time’ or maybe phone for life or maybe pen/pencil + paper for life or structured or open ended to the max? Maybe some blend?

I’m a strange blend.

You aren’t likely to benefit from my approach to organizers. I promise. I have loads of quirks folded into my gray matter. I have paperwork to back this claim up.

I tried all manner of ‘systems’ and ended up on a blend of systems as well as adaptations of some very common systems. The options I looked at all pollute opinion pieces on the internet. A lot of those pieces are framed as the last system you’ll ever need.

I’ve tried any common system and they universally fell over sideways while setting my home on fire.

They all pissed me off within days.

That said…. they gave me ideas and starting points that became my personal ‘system’.

One Size Fits None

Below is a set of links to some common systems (there are more!) for staying organized and on top of life. NONE of these work for my mind as-is. My mind likes certain aspects of these systems and none of them are ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. These systems are the result of what may work best for specific kinds of minds, nothing more. Adaptations and remixing should be considered when working with any new system. The more you adapt and remix from a starting point, the more likely it’s going to ‘stick’.

Personally, I use a form of GTD for daily tasks, a form of BuJo for longer/larger projects and a form of mind mapping for creative stuff. That’s 3 systems. Nevermind some of the archival stuff I have in place for keeping my notes long-term. I even have a blend of digital and analog methods in order to be most efficient day to day. I also keep a few different ‘zones’ within these systems so I can focus on individual ’topics’ like ‘programming’, ‘writing’, ‘$dayJob’ and similar.

There is no such thing as ‘one system to rule them all’. There is only ‘a system that works for my mind’. Don’t let people tell you otherwise and revel in whatever system works for your mind.

I hope the below links can help start you down a path and begin the process of finding what works best for your mind.


See also