Tools vs Systems

I’ve seen some debate recently on the question of the tools we use to get things done and the systems we use to get things done.

Leo, in his ZTD Habit 1:Collect expounds the virtues of simple tools (paper and pen) over complex tools (PDA, organizers).

Over on lifedev.net Glen rounds off a posting on ZTD with the comment:

…the tool isn’t going to make you any more organized.

It’s all about the system, baby.

I actually believe it’s about both and that you need both to be productive.

Suppose I have two pieces of wood and a screw I want to use to join them together.

Firstly I need a tool to do this task (someone hands me a screw driver at this point); but the tool is no good without a system.

The system is that I put the pointy end of the screw driver into the recessed head of the screw and turn it in a clockwise direction.

So the job gets done because I had a system (turning my had in a clockwise direction) and a tool to implement it through.

I agree 100% with the idea that the simpler the tool the more likely it’s going to be used and that’s why I have a small notebook for dumping my tasks into as they spring into my head. That tool supports my system.

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