009: Organize Simply at First
2 min read

009: Organize Simply at First

It's easy to end up throwing out a system after just a few weeks of use. But you don't have to.
009: Organize Simply at First
Photo by Edgar Chaparro / Unsplash

Welcome to Toolbox Tips, Effective’s weekly newsletter aimed at putting more tools in your productivity toolbox.

One thing I see people get tripped up on all the time is organization. Whether it’s a productivity system, notes app, or file repository, you and I seem to have a tendency to overthink.

A major reason: I’m not clear on the exact problem my organization system is trying to solve.

So instead of a focused, simple organization structure, I try account for every possible outcome and build in edge case coverage for that. Sadly, the result is often a bloated, friction-filled, frustrating-to-use system.

No wonder why so many of us (maybe even you) throw out our systems after just a few months of use.

The solution is to start with a problem. Try to define it as deeply as you can using a tool like the 5 Whys. Then approach organizing your system with that problem in mind.

For example, right now I’m facing a problem where I need to build a system for a new venture, but I only have access to certain apps. The creative limitation is helpful, as having infinite choices can lead to decision fatigue; however those restrictions also cause some problems.

To start, I’m looking at the first principles of what’s needed to truly be productive. And as I clarify the root elements of what I need, the system itself becomes clearer to build.

It takes time, but the best thing to do is start simply, define problems, and iterate from there.

ACT: Define one problem in your system using the 5 Whys, devise a simple solution, and execute.

Notent Notables

We have 11 new members this week — thanks so much for joining to all of you! Remember to check out the guides, including our new PKM app selection video.

My PKM system has shifted a little bit in the last couple of years, but speaking of simplicity, I’ve been striving to keep it minimal. This week, I’m diving into the high level of my system, how it works, and what tools I’m using.

For Your Enjoyment

Streaming has become a bit of a challenge for me given my new schedule. I’m hoping to get something in soon, either on a weekend or evening. Make sure you’re subbed to the YouTube channel to get notified!

Here to Help

I can help you in three ways on your productivity journey when you’re ready:

  1. Have a question about your system or productivity concept and need help? Ask it here.
  2. Wanting to level up your Obsidian skills? Check out Obsidian Made Simple.
  3. Looking to streamline your PKM workflow? Get a 60 day free trial of Readwise.

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