My wife knows I'm into trying to find the most focused and/or efficient ways to get things done. That's why she gave me this gift for Christmas: The Productivity Planner

It's not an app. Nor does it have a companion app. It's a totally analog productivity tool. If anything, it looks like a journal. 

So, someone like me who automates as much as possible, what would I do with an analog task management tool? I think a lot. 

The book starts out with an intensive guide on how to use it and a primer on the Pomodoro technique for getting things done. I'm not one to read the directions (outside of looking at the weird cartoons in IKEA furniture assembly manuals) but took time to read through this. After all, I wanted to get the most out of it. 

In a nutshell, it forces you to take time out of your day to write down the five "must do" tasks of the day, listed in order of importance. Afterwards, it has you rate yourself on a scale of 1-10 on how productive you were that day, with a space to jot down notes on why. 

At the end of each work week, it provides space to write a weekly recap. Not something I do much with my tasks but it could be a useful exercise over time. 

I'm a week into using it and actually like it a lot so far. I'm not sure why I waited several months to actually crack it open and get to working with it. I'll have a follow up on my experience with it in a few weeks after but here are a few quick impressions just after a few days: 

  • To use this, you really have to use the Pomodoro technique. I've never tried it before but after one day, I love the idea. For someone who has ADD like me, it's a perfect way to break up the day. 
  • It's best to use this before looking at your phone or your email inbox. Forces focus before you get thrown off course
  • I respond to emails way slower now...but I'm not sure that's really a negative. We'll see. 

If you want a quick two minute video rundown of what the Productivity Planner is, the creators made this overview:

 

Has anyone else tried out the Productivity Planner (or a similar analog tool)? Thoughts?