I have tried every productivity system imaginable, pairing them with every conceivable app out there, spending countless hours tuning dials and configuring things just the way I need “to get work done.”

For many years, Todoist was my go-to tool. However, I decided to transition away due to concerns about data sovereignty. In my quest for the perfect system, I set up countless rules, reminders, and filters.

But eventually, I realized I was spending more time refining my system than actually working.

After moving away from Todoist, I established a simple plain-text knowledge management system using Markdown and Git that I lovingly call Elephant. Initially, it felt restrictive; I missed the comforting reminders, filters, advanced logic, and recurring tasks (which now required manual input).

Yet, I’ve grown to appreciate these limitations. There’s no temptation to tweak settings endlessly. Now, I face two straightforward choices: to work or not to work. And I find this simplicity liberating.

The essence of software is to automate manual work. But if the automation (and the maintenance it requires) consumes more time than the task itself, it loses its purpose.

Thus, I’m embracing my plain-text system, along with its limitations, and I have never been more productive.