If you've tried various productivity systems and found them either too focused on top-down or bottom-up management, you might want to take a peek at The Middle Way Method, a system that blends the strengths of both techniques.
Photo by Randy Son of Robert.
Over at D*I*Y Planner, an organisation site focused on creating your own planners and organisation tools, they found themselves disillusioned with some of the more popular productivity systems:
From studying all these planning systems, I noticed that they fell into two categories: Top Down or Bottom Up. The first is Top Down Planning, and the Franklin Covey methodology provides a great example of this type, which says "Know who you are, and work from there to become who you want to be." The second type is Bottom Up Planning, and Getting Things Done (GTD) system, follows this methodology. GTD is designed to clear all of the "Stuff" in your life, and process it effectively. However, I found that neither of these systems really work best for me. Over time, I kept track of what worked for me from each system, and I used that to create my own system, called The Middle Way Method.
The result is a productivity workflow that focuses not only on immediate action but on continually reshaping your work and goals according to your personal and spiritual focuses. Not only do the two articles about the method lay out the structure and philosophy behind The Middle Way Method but true to their D*I*Y Planner roots, they've included numerous templates and tips for creating a physical planner to help you use the system. Check out part one and part two at the links below for more information.