Hybrid Productivity

Nov 21, 2016
Joe Buhlig
~1 min

There’s a common misconception in the productivity world that when you develop a new process or system it needs to be entirely digital or entirely analog. Or the more common version of this dilemma: to work toward the use of a single database for your tasks. That may be nice, but it’s far from necessary.

In one week, I join the staff of our local church as Director of IT. As a part of that role, there needs to be a way to track the projects I have going on at the church. A handful of other folks will also be participating in the collection of those projects, as well as taking ownership of them.

For this reason (and many others), I set up a Discourse forum to help me manage the work I do at the church. I can try to duplicate tasks and projects across Discourse and OmniFocus, but why? Yes, this creates two systems to maintain but they serve completely separate purposes. They need to be broken up.

The key here lies in boundaries and hard lines. OmniFocus manages the work I personally need to do and Discourse will track the work I need to do at the church. But this only works if I treat the church as its own context. I work off of Discourse when I am “on the clock.” I shut it off when I’m on my own time.

The same process works with digital tools combined with analog. As long as there are clear lines where one drops off and the other picks up, all is well. It’s when you try to mix systems, duplicate tasks, and create sync methods that issues arise and unnecessary problems surface. It’s okay to use multiple systems.