Everyone has their own preferred system for getting things done. Whether it's GTD, maintaining chains, the pomodoro technique or some other method there’s something out there for everyone.
Having tried just about every technique possible and a few hybrids of I’ve come to rely on four basic actions that help me get things done. I've come to call this Grass Roots Productivity.
The first step in this system is ensuring you know what you want to get done. This starts with the process of capturing.
Most productivity systems have the idea of an inbox. A place to collect the stuff you want to do. Without this inbox you would be as well just plucking stuff to do out of thin air. Capturing is an essential habit to get into because without it, there's second step to getting stuff done.
The capture process is something I go through numerous times a day. Links, actions, documents, text and other bits of data. Each of these types of data have their own respective inbox. On the digital side there is Pinboard, Instapaper, Todoist and a few other places. On the analog side I've got a notebook and a planner. While the digital inboxes have very focused types of data being captured, the notebook and planner act as loose fitting items that don't quite fit anywhere else.
The way I do this is to have easy access to each of those inboxes. For the digital inboxes I have either email addresses or keyboard shortcuts setup to quickly save to the respective inbox.
For the analog inboxes, I simply leave my notebook and planner left open on my desk, ready to record whatever I need to. I use the notebook for capturing items on the go. The benefit of this is that it's a simple action of recording the task and moving on. No distraction by other apps or notifications or any other distraction that digital devices are famous for.
Capturing is an essential but often overlooked step in any productivity system. Without capturing we don't have any sensible place to start and we always need a place to start.