Pairing the Right System With the Right Purpose

You’re only as productive as your system allows you to be

Adam Craveiro
7 min readNov 14, 2022


A phone, notebook, pencil, glasses, plant, and laptop on a table.
Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

Almost a year ago, I “set out” on my productivity journey. Along the way, I encountered a variety of seemingly arcane acronyms—like GTD, PPV, and PARA—and even learned a little German along the way. (For those wondering, Zettelkasten means “note box”.)

What I failed to realize at the time was that I didn’t actually know what I was looking for. I conflated the purposes of the systems I came across, and I tried to integrate each one into my life until I was met with friction. It didn’t help that I was experimenting with different platforms and technologies, such as Obsidian and Notion, to implement these systems in a way that worked for my life. And finding insight online was difficult at best, given that much of the information was either disparate or contradictory.

It was only recently that I stopped looking for the perfect system—instead, cobbling together pieces of the different systems I had tried in order to build something that worked for my specific needs. But it took a lot of trial and error on my part to truly understand what the essence of each system is.

When I refer to a system, I’m referring to a group of organizing principles, activities, and associated technologies that comprise a framework meant to achieve a particular goal. These goals might include:

  • Task management: tracking, managing, prioritizing, and executing a series of to-dos
  • Project management: tracking, managing, prioritizing, and executing a collection of to-dos that work towards a particular goal
  • Personal knowledge management (PKM): gathering, classifying, storing, searching for, retrieving, and sharing or activating acquired knowledge (i.e. from books, articles, podcasts, etc.)
  • Notetaking: capturing information from a variety of sources
  • Digital file management: tracking and managing digital files in such a way that they’re easy to retrieve when needed
  • Habit tracking: tracking and maintaining the activities that you’re trying to habitualize
  • Life management: tracking, managing, prioritizing, and managing all aspects of…



Adam Craveiro

content writer | mental wellness advocate | dabbler extraordinaire | dog & cat dad | certified nerd