Caio Amaral

My journey with productivity tools

Ever since I got started using productivity apps I felt like I started to be a more organized and conscious person. It all started with OmniFocus a while ago, with it I started to add almost everything to my todolist. Notes, tags tasks, absolutely everything. After a while it became hard for me to maintain my omnifocus database, I started to get different needs. I noticed that my omnifocus tasks would not be accomplished if I did not assign a specific date and time for doing them.

That was when I decided to migrate everything to notion. In notion I was able to do weekly reviews, which generally helped me reflect on the tasks I was going to execute for specific day or week.

Another very cool habit that I developed is of writing things down, Notion helped me a lot (and still does) to feel more organized, less cluttered, and generally more productive. At some point I started to over-engineer notion and moved from simple creations to more complex ones, I moved almost everything to databases and invested a lot of work into reorganizing and managing my tasks. I experimented with multiple layouts and systems, really did a lot of things.

Unfortunately I noticed two things, my productivity system required lots and lots of interventions to work properly. Things were hard to find, and important tasks were being left behind. I was still having the forgotten behind tasks even though they had a due date. Generally I just wasn’t being able to really associate tasks with projects and tags and started to develop lots of automations and scripts to try to help me make notion work as I wanted to. From the simplest things as recurring tasks to more complex ones automatically cralwing the web, synchronizing Checkboxes and Status and so on.

At some point I started using my calendar. It was an invaluable tool to make me timebox my tasks. It used to work flawlessly for a while. Using my calendar combined with notion helped me so much on my productivity for a very long time, until more recently in this year when I moved to my own apartment. Ever since, managing notion started to be hard mostly because I did not have as much time as I used to have before. I now had a girlfriend, a company, and an apartment. Things were tough to keep up with so I gradually let things lose until I got to the point where I was making no weekly reviews, no task planning and not following my calendar.

It was that moment that I noticed that my task management requirements had completely shifted. I was now in a completely different life and had to adapt to my new needs.

I decided to keep things simple and try using Apple Reminders. It was simple, had exceptional system integration and I was able to share tasks with my girlfriend which was one of the most valuable things about it. I’ve kept using notion for note-taking as it still is my favorite place for doing so, not because of the junky electron app and lack of offline support, but because most of my notes were already there and in a format that would be very hard to change. as the famous saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

A lot of things could be better with notion but it does the job for now.

After struggling with making reminders work for me I’ve decided to take another route, one that’s simple yet structured enough to put some constraints so it could make it easier for me to keep moving the needle, so I decided to give things a try and it have been a pleasure!