I experienced productivity burnout, and now I'm more productive than ever

I experienced productivity burnout, and now I'm more productive than ever

Eric Gregorich

I've been looking back at my progress over the past decade, comparing my "productivity system" back then to what I do today. It has changed from a complex yet highly organized approach to a more straightforward and relaxed approach.

The beginning

I started needing a productivity system about ten years ago when the amount of work coming at me was much more than I could handle in my head. So I started where I imagine many people would start. GTD.

GTD (Getting Things Done) seemed to be the perfect system. I probably read the book three or four times. I implemented the method using various tools to see which would work best. I constantly tweaked the system to try and get it just right. I purchased all of the apps in hopes that it would make everything click. I was a productivity machine!


But eventually, it all fell apart. I'm not sure exactly what triggered my downfall, but I know that I spent so much time on my systems that my actual work suffered. I had come to realize that I was spending 2-3 hours per day managing my system, playing with apps, and looking for better ways to do things.

At some point, I burnt out altogether. I remember reformatting my laptop and my phone, starting from a clean slate using only the default apps. I did the work as it came up rather than trying to plan everything. Not having a complicated system was a relief.


I still needed to use tools to help me with the essentials.

I tried going analog for a while, but carrying around paper was not working for me. So I used the built-in Calendar and Notes app on my phone to capture everything.


Today, my calendar is the overall map of what needs to get done. If I need to work on a project or big task, it goes on my calendar. I keep simple lists to track the tasks that need to get done for each project. I don't spend time organizing these lists other than adding and deleting tasks and occasionally flag something as a high priority.

I try to have about one hour per week where I do a Weekly Review where I ensure things are not getting messy. I make sure my calendar, lists, files, and notes are up to date.

That's it.


Rather than trying to make a "Productivity System" work for you, think about what you truly need to be productive. Start from the ground up. Maybe start with a calendar, then some simple lists, and only introduce tools when necessary.

Try getting things done instead of managing what needs to be done. It's a game-changer!