This isn’t a post about what I know.

It’s a post to ask you about what YOU know. 

I am a process maniac. I NEED to make process outlines, project timelines/Gannt charts/Kanban boards – you name it.

I read probably 3 posts a day on Medium about the best ways to manage your day-to-day activities. I am a sponge for new ideas on how to be productive and organized and on top of all the administrivia associated with a job and a life.

I’ve tried Evernote, MS Teams, OneNote, Outlook Tasks, MS Planner, MS Project, Trello, Wrike, MindMeister, and right now I’m pretty embedded with clickup.

But all of these are simply tracking mechanisms. They are the “apps” in the overall “OS” if you will.

Creating the OS

I have some sympathy now for anyone who creates OS code. The OS has to be rigid enough to be able to handle things efficiently and quickly, but flexible enough to handle the changes our lives regularly have (more so today than ever!) You need a proper balance of “must be this way” and “choose your adventure.”

A personal OS in my mind is the overall “behavior” strategy for your life. Therefore, it must work for my business stuff and my personal stuff. And as much as I don’t think you should ever bring your true, authentic, unwrapped self to the office, I do think you need to view your personal OS holistically – with both work and “not work” on the same dashboard. How else can you possibly know when you are doing too much work or too much life?

It has been difficult for me. I’m trying so hard to stay out of the weeds as my natural inclination is to get into the tactics quickly – that’s where the work gets done. But to have an effective OS (IMO) one needs to address the elephant in the room.

Personal OS Starting Point

How much time/energy do I give to the various things I have going on in my life? That is what I think a Personal OS solves for. It helps you set a baseline for what you need to do to get through this thing we call life (h/t Prince). A Personal OS should also allow for changes and variations over time. COVID taught us that lesson with an uppercut to the jaw!

As an example, I have set up a Personal OS to allocate 20% of the time I am conscious to growth activities – things that make me a better human, employee, contributor, father, husband, sibling, etc.

I’ve set 60% of my time to income-generating activities. Things that make it rain.

And the last 20% is personal time for me and wifey.

Some might say my percentages are out of whack. But at my stage of life (no little kids, married 35 years, children living away from home, and no grandkids – I don’t have a lot of demands in the personal area. But the beauty of this is I can change those percentages as my life issues change. Some day I may need 50/20/20 – other time periods may need 5/90/5. Who knows.

So…. For me I have staked my starting point on those three buckets – Growth/Job/Not-Job.

What I do inside those buckets is the real variable. And what a lot of these organization/project management tools do very well. But I need that starting point against which I can now track all my activities in clickup, tagging them with the various buckets and then tracking my time associated with those activities. From that, I can run a report and show how my time spent is lining up with my goal of 20/60/20.

I just started so too few data points exist for me to have any insights yet.

But I wanted to know from you all – do you have a personal operating system?

If you do – can you leave me a comment with a short outline of what it is? Some lucky people who comment might just get a call from me for more detailed information.

So… riddle me this Batman – what is your personal OS?