Plain Text Isn't a Magic Bullet

There seems to be an unspoken idea in the world of personal productivity. That idea? Your inner productivity deity will be unleashed if you use the right tool or app or system or notebook. That you can be like whichever productivity guru or blogger if you do what they do, if you use what they use.

But to paraphrase Jules Winnfield, That stuff ain’t the truth.

Plain text isn’t a magic bullet to cure your productivity woes.

Plain text all by itself won’t make you better organized. It won’t make more creative. It won’t make you more efficient.

All of that isn’t about the tool. A tool like plain text is only the conduit. It’s like a sorcerer’s wand: a way of channeling your focus, your discipline, your work.

If you don’t have that focus or discipline or work ethic, or if you don’t develop it, plain text isn’t going to help you. You’ll wind up like so many people who adopt whatever tool or system is hot at the moment. The tool or system they expect will solve all of their productivity problems. Like them, you’ll wind up abandoning plain text in frustration (maybe even disgust) after the gains you expected don’t materialize.

The tool you use isn’t the most important piece of the puzzle. You are. Once you have your focus, once you’ve built up the discipline, plain text can definitely help you get your work done. It can help you become better organized. It will help you become better organized and efficient.