Box Notes


It took me one dedicated day to kill our Evernote productivity plan once and for all. It had reared its ugly head again after a year of reserving its energy for another powergrab.

That green elephant was not going to become part of my workflow

act 1

Redundancy is much too prevalent in this day and age. I have reached the limit of my Outlook corporate installations (10) and I’m nowhere close to having ten devices. I think.

Besides, for something to Just Work (tm) it’s sometimes mandatory to stay within the constraints of whatever default ecosystem one happens to be working with. Enjoying Life the Hard Way(tm) I am scattered across Windows 8, Windows 10, OSX, Arch, and iOS and finding crossplatform solutions for all my bespoke geek frustrations is an excercise in first world problem solving.

Box was not my choice. As with most choices that stick nowadays, it was forced upon me. After more than a year of doodling with it, I’ve grown to appreciate it. Caveats or not, it gets the job done. Besides, corporate could have chosen one of dozens of cloud storage solutions and I would have been fine.

act 2

Box has notes and they work like notes. They have nine colors, lists, and checkmarks. They have rudimentary tables, links, and comments.

Evernote has all that but then I have to do a thing to do a thing. This is a problem for me.

I don’t want to do a thing to do a thing. Doing the thing should be enough.

This is why I lobbied to stay inside our long established ecosystem. We already have Slack, adding another piece would have been too much.

act 3

Productivity has a tendency to become a time waster and deciding how to get things done and how one is to document getting those things done is big business. As big business is wont to do, all these solutions have plans with monthly dollar amounts attached to them. Por qué, though?

Productitivy is an action, not an idea. In the eyes of the big honcho, does it really matter how we construe how we get things done?

Let’s play devil’s advocate. Productivity mavens get a lot of things done and they’re famous for it, they have YouTube channels and fan-people. Tim Ferriss is a role model. People want to be his brand.

I suppose I want a sauna with an assortment of salt-filled buckets in a neat black room near said sauna. But my living spaces are in the triple digits of square footage for the forseeable future and barely so at that. I love achievement as much as the next person but give me a break; I’d be productive too if that was my job. I have the same rant about fit people too.

Productivity isn’t my job. It’s a side effect of my job and it usually happens during condensed timeframes. How is it that being busy makes being busy easier?

Let’s digest. Being busy means I’m doing things and doing lots of things means I’m being productive. Sometimes I have lots of things to do and I end up doing lots of things. But then I don’t have lots of things to do so I don’t do anything. And this is a problem?

Yes, productivity keeps us producing and production is the marrow in society, right? (Note to self, extend this marrow metaphor in a future post.)

act 4

I really have no case against the green elephant. I’m just tired of new things. Gas station food and Cuyana have that in common. They solve the paradox of choice.

Such a funny ailment of our post industrial world, to be paralyzed by freedom. Someone somewhere is rolling over in their grave and smiling, though I’m not certain in what order or where.

The idea and the reality of infinite choice are so different. Amazon and Google and Whole Foods encourage browsing but serendipity, emotions, and limits encourage decisions. Browsing means impressions but the-buck-stopping-here means returns.

Let’s back out of the abstract cul-de-sac. What I mean is this: curation is a fancy word for choice-limiting. Though the process is tied with brand associations and cultural reinforcements the net effect overall is the removal of choice. So much of our obsessive (Millennial) consumer research is in an attempt to limit choice and converge upon The Ideal Version of The Thing I Need(tm) which quite often isn’t anything in particular.

It’s The Feeling(tm). As a recovering hoarder I remember The Feeling(tm). The sense that All Was Right with the world the moment the thing was found and how fleeting that feeling was once the short walk to the car ended and the abstraction of the thing was a reality. Then the thing goes into the pile and on we go.

And on we go is really the main take-away here. On we go, regardless of choice. So let’s forget about the elephant and get productive.


I got rid of the elephant minimized an avenue of choice, decreasing the net amount of decisions I make daily. Nothing was solved but I felt better because I had one less thing to do.

And if I’m being completely honest, doing less but making it seem like more is the whole point.


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