Very handsome task tracking, offline and online

About a year ago, I added a curiously pretentious object to my repertoire of productivity hacks. Analog is a) a paper productivity notation not unlike Bullet Journaling b) printed on pleasantly thick index cards and c) a bit of desk furniture to prop up the cards and store the last couple dozen of them.

The idea is you write your tasks down for today/later/someday. Those tasks sit right in front of you, taunting you. You cross them off as you get stuff done. Now you’ve done a productivity!

Reductionist jokes aside, it’s a fine system. The cards are printed with “Today”, “Next”, or “Someday” at the top and lines to encourage writing down several, but not too many, tasks. It’s a good way to think about organizing what you need/want to get done. As productivity systems go, it’s clear and non-invasive1.

Dave Rupert uses/tried Analog too and has a good take on it.

Tactility is Analog’s leg up. It’s nice to start the day writing out some tasks, looking over the previous day’s cards, shuffling the cards from previous days. Even Things, the best task software, can’t provide the tactile “ahhhh”-moment of crossing an item off your list. Tasteful animation, design, and haptics get close, but touching glass isn’t as good as pen and paper.

That said, I’m not tempted to discard Things. It’s literally one of the best applications I’ve used, ever. That said, it’s charming to have a redundant, back-up scheme for reminding myself of the most important things to accomplish today. Analog is like having a (very handsome) back-up alarm clock to the alarm clock one intends to wake up to. It’s always pleasant to look at, and every so often it is the difference between an energetic day and a day played catching up.

  1. Many productivity schemes feel like they want to take over your life to realize their benefits. IOW, they fantastically fail the “is this sufficiently distinguishable from a cult?” test. ↩︎

Adam Keys @therealadam