Do you have what it takes?

By Francisco Sáez • July 18, 2011

When I talk to someone who has successfully implemented GTD, I try to find out the reason that has led him to try it. It is not just curiosity. There are many people interested in productivity-related books, blogs and applications, which fail to implement any methodology or system. I want to know what differentiates the former from the latter. What does it take to succeed? Is there a secret?

Adding my personal experience as another case—I can actually say that GTD works for me better than well—I’ve become convinced that the fundamental difference between those who succeed and those who don’t is that the former believe that productivity is a real necessity in their lives, whereas the latter think it’s something interesting, useful or just something that could be nice.

It seems that those who have become interested in personal productivity issues and ended successfully applying the methods learned, have a special motivation, a strong reason that has helped them to stop trying and start doing.

Having good reasons isn’t very useful, it doesn’t mean too much. Both successful and non-successful people understand that productivity will allow them to do more things in life, enjoy more free time, live less stressed and be a more complete person. An overweight person knows all the reasons (health, self esteem, social acceptance, etc.) why he should reduce his overweight, but he usually faces it seriously only when a personal situation makes him feel intensely these reasons.

Therefore, knowing the reasons is not enough, you must care deeply about them. A person who realizes that his relationship with his partner and children has gone from bad to worse due to not devoting enough time to them, converts the pursuit of productivity into a real need.

I think that, if you don’t live that revealing experience in which you transform productivity from a nice-to-have thing to a must-have thing, it’s very unlikely that you implement any methodology successfully. And, probably, you will blame the methodology itself or the tools you use. Analyze your life and look for a real reason to improve. Surely you’ll find it.

About the author

Francisco Sáez (@franciscojsaez) is the founder and CEO of FacileThings. He is also a web developer specializing in Ruby on Rails who is passionate about personal productivity and GTD as a means to a better life.


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