All the experts say to stick to one system for planning. That is great advice, if it works for you. Here, I give some reasons as to why it may not be the best advice for you, especially if you are a distracted entrepreneur.

Listen to other episodes of Productivish: Musings of a Distracted Entrepreneur.

Transcription of Stick to One System or Don’t . . .

So all the advice that you hear, all the productivity gurus, everybody, says to pick one system for your productivity or planning system and stick to it, no matter what.

That is awesome advice!

You should follow that advice  . . . or maybe you shouldn’t?

As with so much advice that is given around planning, not all of it works as well for distracted entrepreneurs as it does for neurotypical people.

I have tried so many times to pick one system, and stick with it.

I seem to be incapable of that. My brain just doesn’t work that way. 

Now I rotate between a few systems. Each works for a shortish period of time and then I switch to another system.

Many times, I have read a book or come across a system that makes so much sense. Yes! I shout. Of course. Why haven’t I been doing this all along. THIS finally makes sense.  This is the  ONE!

I get it all set up. It works beautifully . . .  for about a week and then it starts falling apart. 

So, after decades of hope followed by crushing disappointment, I have decided that while many systems make total sense, and may work for millions of other people, they don’t work for me – long term. No matter how revolutionary, no matter how targeted at distracted people or people with ADHD, no matter how brilliant. 

That is not how my brain works. 

I need to change it up, despite everyone’s very wise advice to choose a system and stick with it. 

How does this not get completely confusing? Well quite frankly, it does get a bit confusing. However it is how my mind works, so I have to accommodate it. 

Rather than trying to fight that, I have found a few things that help me work with it  and help make rotating planning and productivity work. And I will touch on those over the next few episodes.

The first thing is to keep track of what you were using and how. I know, this seems a little counterintuitive. 

How do I keep track of multiple systems when I’m using multiple systems? 

I deal with this by having different tools do different things.

This may not be the simplest method and I am not suggesting that you use it. I am merely explaining what kind-of works for me. 

Obviously,  using one tool to do everything (productivity and planning wise) seems to be the simplest.  That way you know where everything is all of the time, and even if it’s not perfect you make it work.

This is great. In theory. But it doesn’t work for me.

I do spend time reorganizing the same things, which clearly is not the most productive use of my time. However every time I do, I learn something and I grow.

Some of the “Planners” I Use

I love planners and have bought so many of them throughout the years because they are so enticing. They promise planning Nirvana, they promise finally getting it all to work. And perhaps they deliver on those promises to those who consistently use them. But I am not one of those.

Right now I am alternating between 3 simple things:

I am using a tiny notepad that I make out of a single sheet of paper, to keep track of my top few things to do each day and check them off.

Other times, I use my bullet Journal. 

Other times I use digital project management tools.

Or a combination of all three.

Rotating through these tools doesn’t really make a lot of logical sense. I’ll be the first to acknowledge that. 

However, it makes sense to my brain.

I get bored easily and stop using whatever system it is that I’m using after a few weeks. I have tried to make myself go back to whatever system most recently worked but that never really works. But it never sticks long term. 

When I switch systems I stick to it for a few weeks and then I need to try something new. 

So I have learned to make this work for me.

Yes my stuff is scattered over a few systems.

But, I know where to look for all the stuff.

Join me on the next 2 episodes where I will talk all about some of the things that stay the same no matter what else changes. These things that staying the same is what allows me to move between planning systems and still know where to find everything.