Another evolution of my offline productivity system

This week, I mark an important milestone in my professional life. It is an excellent opportunity to start a new productivity notebook and tell you about the latest evolution of the best productivity system I know.

To sum up, I use a custom variant of Mark Forster’s Final Version productivity system that uses a plain notebook to track, prioritize, and eliminate tasks. Using a physical notebook, as opposed to an electronic tool, is a massive boost in productivity, as it forces you to process your priorities in an unplugged mode, without any distractions.

When I was a freelancer, I felt forced to use a combination of a physical book and an electronic system (, but that didn’t work too well for me, the connected nature of this (and any other) app kept distracting me. I also played with a combination of a notebook and a portable kanban board. That didn’t work out for me either. So, right now, I’m back to a physical notebook with a small addition. 

I now have two notebooks. The first one is a small (80 pages) soft notebook that I use to track and prioritize tasks (as in Mark Forster’s system). I also use this notebook to reflect on what’s going on, write questions to my future self, and document my decisions.

The second, larger notebook is used for note keeping, drafts and sketches. The fact that the notebook is vertically bound allows me seemingly switching from Hebrew (that is written from right to left) and English. When a sketch of a draft isn’t relevant anymore, I tear the draft pages away; and I use a small binder to keep the note pages together for future reference.

Overall, I like this combo very much and it fits my workflow well.

By Boris Gorelik

Machine learning, data science and visualization


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