In my personal productivity system, I use multiple apps for different purposes. Thus my data spread over different areas.
There are 5 scopes/areas of management in personal productivity. Each requires at least 1 exclusive app for managing the data.
For a project, the data relevant to it resides as tasks in my todo app, and a few notes in my notes app. Some in chat apps, and some as files in my Google drive.
A single source of truth (SSOT) is the (information technology) practice of aggregating data from many systems within an organization to a single location. SSOT or SPOT (Single Point of Truth) is not only helpful for teams, IT companies, or big corporates.
The same strategy can be harnessed in the personal productivity realm too. When there are different versions of data that exist in multiple locations, in different states. Sometimes some data exclusively exists in one location but not in another (this is the case for me and for most people, I presume).
For personal productivity management, I substitute the purpose of SSOT as a single reference point (instead of aggregated one). Remember, it is NOT about managing team projects or collaborative productivity.
You need a single place to look to check where you are and what to do next and where to go.
By nature, I can use my calendar app, any communication app, or file apps as my SSOT app.
Then the choice comes down to the “Notes” app and the “Task” app.
Notes app is a good choice. May look old-school but effective for most people. The problem I faced is, I can’t see the progress or active projects list with a notes app.
I am aware of tagging and filtering notes. But the pain point is different. The ability to go in and get out of a note when you need to make some specific change in a specific line of the note in a specific note is hard (especially through mobile apps).
For those who say “this is the age of Notion”, Notion is as far as the best candidate for being anyone’s SSOT. But Notion shares the same pain point as stated above this line.
I recommend Notion if you access it often through a desktop. Notion.so could be anyone’s cup of their tea. But it is not my cup of tea (as SSOT) and I found it after using it for almost 2 long years.
I use my To-Do app (Things 3) as my SSOT.
Every project inside the To-Do app holds the latest state of the project, what’s done, what’s next, why the project is started, and at what state it can be pronounced completed. Thankfully, Things 3 supports markdown notes for the project and each task.
It is super convenient to check and update the status on the go. If you choose apps like Todoist, the ability to add attachments changes the game level.
BuJo users don’t need an SSOT app. Because the nature of bullet journaling is having everything in one place. If you don’t manage multiple projects, and if you’re a creator who works one project at a time, I suggest BuJo as an SSOT app.
Anything that works for you is a good choice. Some use just ‘Stickies’ as their SSOT app. What do you use?