Self introduction

Hello all, I’ve been lurking here for a few months reading new and old threads and thought I’d post my introduction. I’m not sure if this is the right place or not.

I’m a (older) software craftsman currently working for a company in SF as a senior python dev. I’m also a working artist ( and study classical guitar.

I’ve used Omnifocus on and off since it’s predecessor (can’t remember the name of it) was an omnioutliner hack. I tried the bullet journal and after a year it didn’t stick. I loved TeuxDeux and used it for a few years, but the lack of an api has driven me away so about six months ago I went back to OF. I came to realize after years of fudging it that I needed to reread GTD and stick to it. So far it’s been smooth sailing.

Looking forward to discussions and new ideas here.


Welcome @gnewman!

Just checked out your artwork – beautiful stuff. It must take a lot of patience and time to develop those pieces. Awesome you’re a dev too. As am I and many others here!

Good for you for trying it for a year. That’s commitment :slight_smile:

I’ve been finding myself that even after reading GTD 8 years ago that I need regular refreshers. Just recently after a conversation with a friend did I realize that I haven’t fully been capturing items into my system. Yikes.

But again, welcome here! Feel free to jump in on any topic or create new ones yourself for any questions you may have or thoughts you have to share!

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Structure helps to breed creativity. Developing a productivity workflow via a system such as GTD or Bullet Journal frees our minds of all the clutter and allows us to focus on our creative endeavors. Once you get a productivity workflow going, it’ll be easier to translate it into an analog notebook system or a digital task manager.

I’ve found that I was very scattershot in the early days. i had a Franklin-Covey and scribbled stuff in it but never really utilized it to its potential. That also translated in the digital app world. It’s like having the most expensive guitar but sloppy technique hampers our productivity and creativity.

It’s heartwarming to see a group of people come together to share in a journey. Hope to hear from you and your struggles and ideas. We’re all in this together.

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I actually prefer analog, especially in my art. I used to paint digitally and dropped it completely so I wanted to do the same with digital planners. Way back in the day, the day planner was key to my organization but I just couldn’t get the bullet journal to work that way for me. I think my biggest struggle was I didn’t always have it with me and didn’t like replication by entering things in TeuxDeux or txt files and transferring over to paper. I went a few years using Orgmode and it was awesome. I would sync my txt files with Notes app on my iPhone but over the years I started using PyCharm instead of emacs so that killed that tool. We all evolve I suppose.

Thank you! Some of those pieces can take upward of 60 to 100 hours.

When I initially read it (actually the only audio book I’ve ever listened to), I had this attitude that it was a fad that all the cool kids in the programming community were into so I stubbornly refused to adopt it. After some serious soul searching and realizing I’m a multi-persona type and struggled very hard to keep all my projects in order I decided to read it again with an open mind. Merlin Mann’s podcasts were also helpful (love that guy). So far I’ve been diligent with keeping my life, clients and projects in order thanks to GTD.

See my reply to Justin regarding analog. Another struggle I had with analog is no search function. lol. If I could figure out a way to make analog work 100%, I’d do it but for now I’m back to OF for a while.

Day planners were my goto back in the 90’s. Easy to use and I had a smaller piece of paper I’d move from day to day which acted similar to the way Things app keeps unfinished tasks in the today view. I actually did the same thing with the bullet journal. I’d keep a list of the tasks I wanted to get done but not critical for the day on a bookmark sized piece of paper and move that from day to day in the notebook.

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This is totally why Wilson and I have started using hybrid systems. My use of paper fluctuates, but basically I use it to plan, and OF serves as my big database and often my working list of small tasks. Something about paper helps you back up and see more clearly.

I’m very much a multi-persona type person, too (developer, entrepreneur, writer, musician), and I feel like I’m only just starting to grok GTD. Merlin is awesome – he seems like a very multi-faceted person as well. He was one of the main people I learned from in the productivity world at the beginning. @Sparky was another. I bought into OF so hard before I could even afford it because of that guy :joy:.

The process of writing it down is more of a cognitive process than typing on a keyboard. At least it is for me.

I could listen to that guy all day. Hell, I might even have a man crush on him. lol

Gents … I use paper too! OmniFocus is this glorious bank of tasks but pulling a few things out and getting them done feels pretty great.

@Sparky so you’re using OF as a central repository to supplement paper? (that’s how I was using TeuxDeux with paper)

Not really… I’ve experimented with a white board and a note book but I find I use the paper for more big-picture thinking. At this point, the actual checking off gets done in OF.

I find this works so well. Taking this approach amplifies the strengths of both digital and analog tools. Plus my brain goes to mush if I’m looking only at a screen all day :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Greg, wow! Incredible work. :clap::clap::clap:Thank you for sharing your work with us and also random internet strangers.

What kit are you using there? I use a Sakura Koi, similar but yours might just possibly be cuter.

ps. No longer just gents in the convo FYI

pps. I, too, also have a Mann-crush.

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Appreciate it Beck!

I actually use a Windsor & Newton set or a Schmincke set. In the studio I typically use tubes. The later is my favorite by the W&N is cheaper, lighter and more compact. The W&N is probably the one you saw in some pics.

haha. I see what you did there :smiley:

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Justin, I wonder if it is the act of writing that helps. I’m hoping to explore that digitally with an ipad and an Apple Pencil.

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There’s just something about paper that activates a different part of my brain. Having my daily notebook with a list of tasks that I choose as my MITs (Most Important Task) for the day feels more concrete than looking at my task manager window. I’m not tempted to return to my task manager and start fiddling with projects and tasks when I should be working on my MITs in my notebook.

I can hold and feel paper. It’s hard to hold digital bits when I’m staring at it on a screen.

I bought a 2018 iPad with Apple Pencil partially to experiment with just this thing. From my perspective, it gets you part of the way there. The handwriting action is great and does help some, but I think there’s something at least in my brain that acts differently with paper.

I think it has to do with spatial recognition. My brain understands when I flip a sheet of paper over that the text is still on the other side of the page. However, on a computer or tablet, when I switch apps or into a different note, there’s not the same context there. I think that’s why we rely so heavily on search when it comes to computers because it’s not always easy to spatially understand where something is.

YMMV, but I’m personally sticking with paper for this purpose.

@justindirose, @wilsonng

I can see both your points. I’m currently using paper also for some of my productivity workflow. I would eventually like to go paperless.

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Agreed. I was analog for a year (or more) and I think there’s a major cognitive disconnect with digital. Maybe it’s the immediacy of digital where analog, to me, is more an intimate relationship and forces different connections in the brain. I remember what I write. I don’t remember what I type; at least not as lasting a memory.

I’m trying to work out how to restructure my systems back to analog. I went from paper to DayOne for journaling and not happy there either.

I wish you could type or write in a notebook on paper. Just sayin’.

I’m so very much with you here. I love the ability Day One offers for quickly entering in journal entries, but it doesn’t have the same soothing effect as handwriting something out. I simply want to be able to write and type my journals (because sometimes both are useful) and get them in the same place so I can review and search them.

I’m experimenting with DEVONthink currently and either it or Evernote would offer the capability to do what I want with OCR built in.

What really concerns me is longevity with DayOne. I kept journals in my notebooks for years. Some I think my son may like when I’m gone and how would he of my wife know it exists. I can’t see that app being around and will cause a headache to export. A printed version just doesn’t have the personal feel. And if I stop my subscription; back to my export comment.