Johannes' blog

Productivity Stack

After testing numerous to-do and project manager tools to improve my organization and execution skills, I realized the most vital productivity tools are a to-do list and a notepad for jotting down thoughts.

In my experience with numerous websites and programming projects, I've found it challenging to discern useful from non-useful software in software development. The 'why' of solving a problem often matters more than the 'how.' Effective software solutions, like those facilitating information access, transactions, or communication, are magical when functional. However, a solution's value lies in its ability to solve a user's problem. This is a key reason many startups I've worked with failed; they focused on seemingly great solutions without truly validating the problem or understanding the customer.

Having a more sophisticated to-do list tool doesn't necessarily enhance productivity or communication. Ultimately, it's about having a calendar to allocate time (with minimal meetings) and a notepad or document for journaling and organizing thoughts. My preferred to-do list tool is a Google Doc for the current year, starting each day with a new date headline, listing tasks, and their order. Simply adding tasks to a to-do list app isn't effective for me; it leads to forgetting tasks. Focusing on one main task and thinking about breaking it down is more productive. In my notepad, I edit and paste everything relevant for the day, starting the next day with a fresh to-do list and recent notes below, which may or may not be relevant. Approaching each day as a new beginning, refocusing on priorities is essential.