This morning, I caught myself in a familiar pattern. Dissatisfied with the way a particular system was working ( in this case: the way I make, process, and keep my notes ) and I was considering some familiar alternatives. I don’t want to get bogged down in the minutiae here, so I’ll save you the Evernote vs. DevonThink vs. Personal Brain vs. etc… vs etc… discussion.
The thing that struck me about this experience was the way I was feeling paralyzed by the lack of a perfect solution. Evernote has a great mobile solution, but I’m missing Markdown support. DevonThink is great … but I lose OCR of my photos. Personal Brain is gorgeous, but it integrates poorly with my file system…
The reality is: I very rarely take mobile notes. I don’t NEED Markdown, I just think it’s cool. I don’t take photos that need OCR except for a few times per year. I’m feeling anxiety because I can’t create a system that will anticipate every scenario or challenge.
The way out, of course, was keeping a foot in reality – admitting that I’m not a crazy mobile notes user, admitting that there are cool features of apps that I simply don’t use. What I need is a system that works for when I’m working, the 90% of the time I need and use my notes. Sure, I may have to resort to “barbaric” practices like transcribing handwritten notes. (The horror!) But if I can save myself several hours now, and make 90% of my work time more efficient, I should be satisfied and call it a win.
Will other geeks marvel at my system? Probably not. Will I be able to write an ebook about my system that works for everyone? Nope. But will I get back to work, back to my life? Absolutely.