Rethinking My Productivity Workflow (Part 1)

GM Espeleta
4 min readJan 1, 2021


The Situation

I’ve always had trouble keeping track of all the things going on in my life whether work or personal. If you caught up with me recently, you’d know that conversations with me could begin with how things are in work to 12.12 purchases then going all the way to the concept of hedonic adaptation. Enjoyable conversations, but imagine working like me, bouncing off ideas whether macro or micro and leaving that conversation not having a sense of what to do next or how all of the things fit together.

Because of that, I drop the ball at times with people when they check-in with my progress for something. I may have been too focused on another piece that I completely forgot about the actual thing that’s most pressing. Dealing with me is like dealing with the dog from the movie, Up, who gets easily distracted.

If we’ve ever chatted, I’ll at one point look away from the camera/you because there’s a squirrel on my mind that just appeared

With that brief in mind, I want to revisit my current workflow work on improving it. Given how I’ve described my context, I describe this flow to be Productivity and everything I’ll look to be doing is to improve my productivity. My working qualification of productivity in this series is being able to get the important things done and enjoy the process of doing it. This may change as I trudge along with the series, but at least for now, it gives a general direction of what I want to do.

Drawing Board

That said, I went straight to the drawing board thinking about my productivity goals, approaching it on a top-down level of what I wanted to get out of this workflow. Specifically, I came out with three themes: Monitor, Reflect and Learn.

Yes, that’s my handwriting

After that, I then thought through how would I want to build my Productivity workflow, starting from the bare minimum, just writing out what you want to do and having it as a checkbox. It then went more and more complex from there.

After feeling proud of myself for the day, I then took the day off to relax and revisit the frames tomorrow. When the next day came, I had such a hard time looking at the frames and thinking about what to do next. It felt like I had no ideas coming to my mind on how to begin, and even felt restricted by everything. This felt like something someone was trying to impose on me rather than something that would truly help me.

I realized the problem was that I began with a biased end in mind of what I thought was important. These frames were fitting me into a box and limiting me from addressing things on a more tangible level. This was already me jumping straight to the solution without having taken into consideration the nitty-gritty. What I made was what I THINK I’d like, but not what I ACTUALLY need.

Back To The Drawing Board

With that realization, I then went back to the drawing board and asked myself: “What problems do I have with my current workflow”

Clearly, I had WAY more problems that I didn’t see in the beginning

Doing this exercise, writing out all the problems I had with my current workflow, helped me see more objectively what’s really going on. Because I’m not thinking on an abstract level, I’m able to see the true gaps I have and what I really want to work on. If you compare it to my first stab at designing my productivity piece above, you can see on a more concrete level of what I’m going through and what I want to solve. You also see that the themes identified have expanded and feel more relevant to my situation than how they were before which just sounded a bit too high-level.

As a result of starting from where I really am, ideas were just flowing out and I felt more energy tackling this project, which is mucho important!

What Next?

  • Continue sorting out the themes if they make sense or need to be further separated
  • Identifying what theme is important for me to tackle first based on my current workflow
  • Designing an MVP for me to look to using


Writing this post down helped me clarify bits and pieces of my approach, making sure that I’m not doing it for show, but really to help me improve. If I have a difficult time explaining my idea across, surely it means that there’s more that could be streamlined or improved on.

Hope you enjoyed this quick post and will share with you progress hopefully soon on part 2 🤓



GM Espeleta

Senior CX Researcher @ First Circle, Ex-Market and User Researcher Lead @GCash, Ex-HR Analyst @ JPMorgan Chase & Co. | Making sense of the complex everyday