From Cody Fink:
Jumping right into a new habit is a bad idea when you can make small changes that add up over time.
So often when we start trying to improve ourselves and our workflows, we want to go fast. We want to identify all of our problems at once and we want to fix them. We want to find momentum, we want to suck less and we want to see immediate change. The one thing we don’t want to do: be patient. So we end up attempting a radical change that almost always fails.
Remove the notion that we have to toss out our complicated, but memorable systems in favor of simple workflows. I think throwing away what works is the wrong way to go about changing your workflow or lifestyle for the better.
Before changing anything, examine what you’re doing. Look for the friction, for the things that just don’t work, but also take the time to figure out what does. This will often give you the best inroads to your own personal productivity. Over time, I realized that paper just didn’t work for me. I could barely read my handwriting when trying to keep up with my thoughts and considering my utter lack of innate organizational skills, my desk inevitably ended up buried in paper. I was having far more success leveraging technology and this made it much easier to eliminate systems that wouldn’t work (no matter how well they worked for the creator of the system) and helped me zero in on the tactics that were most likely to help.
The “minimalist workflows” you read about online shouldn’t be applied as is. These people have achieved the goal of ironing out all the bugs and have come to a broad conclusion of how they ended up working after long periods of reflection, tweaking, and time.
I’ve been working at this for a year and I’m still trying new things all of the time; I’m still tinkering. At first, I thought Omnifocus was too much and opted for the simpler Things. Overtime, I came to realize just how stubborn I was being, however the time spent with Things made the transition over to Omnifocus so much easier.
Give Cody’s article a read; it’s a great explanation why what works for me may not work for you. It is also one of the best looks as to why refining the way you get things done is a process rather than a one-size-fits-all solution that you can find. A reminder that it takes time to create your perfect workflow rather than find the perfect workflow (which likely doesn’t exist).