In previous articles, I have written about how I organize my own personal productivity. However, many of my projects are collaborative, and physical paper doesn't work very well for sharing task lists.
Earlier, I wrote about the notebook I use for planning and tracking my daily and weekly work. It's great for the low-level tactical aspects of productivity, but is not very good at long-term planning. I've tried to use it for that — semester planning pages and similar ideas — but it has not been very effective.
To manage the birds-eye view of my work, I use a Kanban-style board made of Post-It notes and painter's marking tape on the wall of my office.
In my previous post, I described how I use a physical notebook to manage my daily and weekly work.
Getting things done is not the only purpose of this notebook, however. It is also an important part of how I maintain my mental health.
My notebook is the center of my day-to-day workflow. In it I track what I need to do, what I am doing, what we've discussed in a meeting, and countless other things. It isn't terribly often that I actually go back more than a week or so to look at things — I tend to transfer long-term notes into digital storage after I've processed them — but they're still there, and I find the very act of writing with pen helpful.
However, it isn't just an ad-hoc thing where I write without structure. There is quite a bit of structure to how I use the notebook, and it helps immensely as I plan and execute my work.
TL;DR: A good productivity system is one that helps you get done the things you need to. One of the most important things is to take time to think about your work. Desired outcomes are a good thing to think about.
I have tried a number of different productivity systems over the years. Some have worked better than others. I've tried: