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4 Reasons Productivity Systems Fail

I love it when people challenge me about All The Things, our task management course.

“I’ve tried every productivity system, app, book, you name it — and I STILL struggle with my to-do list, Shawn. WHY is this course going to be any different?”

Honestly, this is the question you should be asking about any productivity-related product before you dive into it.

There’s a reason so many “systems” don’t stick for even the biggest of productivity nerds.

In fact, there are four specific reasons.

Why Productivity Systems Fail

Today, I want to show you those reasons why most systems fail, and how we’ve designed All The Things to counteract all of them.

Failure Point #1: The system is too complex

If your system is overly complex, you’re more likely to spend time tweaking it (or avoiding it) than…ya know…actually doing the work.

All The Things teaches you a simple system that doesn’t involve complicated workflows or overly rigid frameworks. It’s scalable and reliable, even with all the messiness of real life.

Failure Point #2: The system relies on too many tools (or on a specific, expensive tool)

Yeah, I love tools… Apps. Planners. Journals. Pens… You name it, I’ve bought it, tinkered with it, and blogged about it.

But each tool inside a task management system is a potential failure point — another bucket where things can get forgotten or overlooked.

All The Things helps you simplify your approach to task management in a way that easily adapts to new tools as your preferences and work style evolve.

Failure Point #3: The system has too much friction.

Your system has to be as easy as possible to get started and keep going.

An effective system will remove barriers instead of creating them.

Failure Point #4: The system is too high level and not practical.

If you start the day with a notecard of your three most important tasks and they are something like “Update website for 2024,” you’re in trouble.

That’s not a task; that’s a big project with multiple steps. You’ll be spending time deciding what you should do and when, instead of just doing.

As much as possible, break down projects into the smallest tasks possible, and create those tasks as concrete actions.

* * *

Are you ready for a change in your daily task management grind?

I built All The Things to help you not only avoid these four major failure points, but also create a system that is uniquely suited to your preferred style of work.

We’ve had over 6,000 people go through this course.

This course is for you if:

  • You want to get an in-depth look at our best productivity workflows and more.
  • You’ve read a productivity book or two and had trouble applying the rigid methodology to your day-to-day life.
  • You’re not an organized person, but would like to have a few tricks up your sleeve to help you stay on top of your to-do list (at work and/or at home).
  • Your to-do list overfloweth. You’ve got too much to do, not enough time to do it, and a general feeling of overwhelm when you look at your list of things to do.
  • You have multiple areas of life to manage (work, home, personal side projects, etc.) and you’re not sure how to organize them.
  • You find systems to be annoying, but know that you need a better way to stay on top of your tasks.
  • You want to ensure the important things you need to do are not falling through the cracks.
  • Most of your day is filled with busywork rather than meaningful work.
  • You struggle to manage all the incoming tasks that come your way.

There are two ways for you to go through All The Things:

Think of the Focus Booster like a live, guided version of the course hosted by yours truly (Shawn).

If you thrive in community settings with built-in accountability and scheduled milestones, you’re going to love it. And if you want to get live coaching and Q&A from me, this is the only place you’re going to find it.

The Focus Booster kicks off next Tuesday, so now’s the time to join!

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