Introduction and Systems Review

Hi there, Productivists!

This is partially an intro post and partially an ask for help. My name is Sadie (although that’s an internet pseudonym and I may at some point switch to my given name once I decide how readily findable I want to be). I’m a 32-year-old attorney/compliance consultant/grad student/learning hobbyist who is NOT at all all versed in computer science, programming, etc. Trying to teach myself, but it’s best to assume I know nothing about it.

I posted in the Discord server recently about my frustration in developing a workflow and system that’s sustainable for me, and difficulty choosing the right tools for the job. I thought a post here to crowd-source some feedback based on a more comprehensive description of my needs and situation might be fruitful.

So here goes!

My use cases:

  • I’m a part-time compliance consultant in the investment management space.
  • I’m going back to grad school again in a couple weeks, first for a masters and then hopefully a PhD (in a humanities/social sciences field).
  • I’m a hobbyist learner. As in, I research, read, take notes, etc. for fun and not strictly for work or school. Probably at least partially because -
  • I’m neurodivergent (ADHD and Autistic). This is relevant because task management is important in my system, as is being easily distracted, overwhelmed, and cycling between hyper focus and minimal focus.

I use a work-provided MacBook Pro as my primary computer. My personal computer is currently a PC but that will probably change when it needs replacing/I don’t have the work Mac anymore.

Types of tasks I need to accomplish and the tool I’m currently using:

  • Email (Outlook - required for work/school so I use it as the client for my personal Gmail account as well)
  • File storage (Google Drive and OneDrive)
  • Task management (Tick Tick and bullet journal)
  • Note taking/making (Evernote? Paper notebooks? Nothing consistent)
  • Tracking coursework and degree requirements (nothing yet)
  • Tracking PhD applications (AirTable)
  • Annotation and highlighting in books, articles, and PDFs. (Kindle and Instapaper)
  • Collection of: articles, books, videos, podcasts (Instapaper, Inoreader)
  • Tracking of online courses I plan to take (Coursera, etc) (AirTable)
  • Personal CRM (AirTable)
  • Reference manager (nothing yet - probably Zotero?)
  • Project plans for: work, school, personal (Combo of Tick Tick, Evernote, paper - would love to switch to AirTable or AM)
  • Habit tracking (ideally with an email reporting feature) (nothing yet)

Tools I’ve tried but with inconsistent application:

  • Amazing Marvin
  • Obsidian
  • Vivaldi
  • Anki
  • Scrivner (very new)
  • RemNote (very new)
  • LogSec (very new)

What I’m looking for is recommendations to improve and streamline my workflow and systems. It’s just as important to me to decide what NOT to use than it is to decide what TO use (especially as a person with ADHD…)

Any advice?

I like using these for habit tracking:
Habit Launchpad (great group of people who set up habit goals for roughly a month at a time

Streaks app