I am the first to blame when it comes to automating my personal workflows to the greatest extend possible. And how would you dare to do different, every singe life hacker or personal productivity blog tells you so, the knowledge worker age demands you to be more efficient and seriously who would prefer to do something manual when a machine get do it for you.

And yes, it is convenient to have stupid and repetitive tasks taken care of by an AppleScript that works like a monkey trained to press buttons for food. But the key here is “stupid and repetitive” - while many workflows in your personal organisation and productivity may be repetitive, there are definitely not stupid. I would argue that they are actually so important that they help you differentiating yourself in the business you do. Whatever that is.

You’ll find many, many AppleScripts that are designed to make your personal productivity workflow more easy and automated - it all goes by a single keystroke - and yes, even this blog includes many of these ‘helpers’, but I have changed opinion since I wrote those and that should be okay. Changing your opinion is not an trivial thing, but it is a undeniable signs of progress.

I have decided to drop all my little helper scripts that primarily supported by “Collect” process, meaning getting everything into my inbox, i.e. my task manager of choice. And the reason I dropped them is because they made me pass the “Clarify” step in my process, the step in which I need to determine what things “mean” to me. It became a fire-and-forget process where I collect everything I found (which is good) and because I have collected it, I never looked back at it and clarified where it is actionable, can be delegated, is reference or trash (which is bad).

Although it may take you a little more time, stop automating and look at the things you collected. Decide what they “mean” to you and what you need to do about it. Ever since I stopped automating the collection of mails from Mail.App to my task manager, I became far clearer of what I wish to do and what not, what is important and what not, what action I need to take and what the successful outcome would be.

It helped me massively to feel more in control and gave me a greater perspective of things (what is relevant to my key goals and what is simply ‘noise’). For the first time I was able to understand those people that use paper-based productivity systems - with those you don’t have any automation at all and that isn’t so bad.

Your challenge for the day: Disable all this automation, work it the manual way and find out how this changes your approach.