So day 1 of my productivity drive didn’t go too well and it was purely down to my ‘trusted system’.  What’s a trusted system?  Well it’s just a fancy way of saying ToDo list.  Actually calling it a ToDo list is a little unfair.  A traditional ToDo list is just that, a list.  It’s two dimensional – words go across, items go down.  What a trusted system is, and what will supposedly turn you into a productivity ninja (because these days they seem to have moved from the world of assassination and espionage to the world of business process) is a three-dimensional system that not only has a list of items but naturally allows the things that need to get done to come into focus.

When I looked for a trusted system, I needed something that was everywhere.  If this process is going to work, it needs to encompass not just writing but the day job and general life as well.  As a result I need something I can access on a variety of computers I use as well as two different breeds of smartphone (one for me, one for the day job).
I’d read a lot of articles on using Evernote as your trusted system.  This seemed like a good match as it’s available across a multitude of platforms.  I also already use it as a research tool.
I liked the implementation.  The trick is to use tags to give it that third focus axis, enabling you to sort through the list of stuff to do and find the things you should be doing.  I thought that worked well except…
For me Evernote is a note taking tool.  It’s what I use to store blog post ideas and my Marvel Civil War reading order.  Using it as a trusted system just didn’t feel right.  It’s where I would keep information to back up the tasks, not the tasks themselves.  Perhaps I didn’t give it enough time, and it seems to work for other people, but for me it wasn’t a natural fit.
I’ve been using another cross-platform tool for my two-dimensional ToDo list, Remember the Milk.  The problem, and the reason for wanting to move away from it, was that, whilst very flexible, it’s primarily a two-dimensional tool.  You add a task, give it a due date and watch as over the months your list of things to do gets bigger and bigger (and that was just the writing and promotion elements).  So the trick is to make clever use of tags and a bit of workflow to turn it into a trusted system.  I only want deadlines and next actions to appear with due dates.  I think I know how to do that now but I spent the whole of yesterday evening reading and getting more and more confused.  Sometimes it’s easier to start afresh rather than transform what you currently have.
But transforming I am.  We’ll see how this trusted system goes.  I guess it’s a case of trying a few until I find one that is a natural fit.  Hopefully it won’t take too long to find the perfect one for me.