GTD and the benefits of routine

By Francisco Sáez • December 13, 2010

“Maximum productivity is making something happen with as little effort as possible” ~ David Allen

As I study GTD in depth and share it with others, I realize there are many people for whom it’s very difficult to adopt new routines in their lives. They are free spirits and feel a natural aversion to anything that restricts their freedom of action; routines are against their nature.

And I fully understand: We have already so many obligations that we don’t want to add more unnecessarily.

To me, something it’s being misinterpreted here. GTD is a methodology and, as such, it involves a set of routines in your life. But the goal of these routines is precisely to establish habits that will allow you greater control on what you’re doing and greater freedom to focus on what’s important in your life.

We try to avoid routines to feel more alive, more human. But let me tell you some positive points of the routines:

  1. They simplify life. Routines allow us to tackle complex situations of life in a simple way.
  2. A little effort is required. Since they are habits that we do almost unconsciously.
  3. They increase our self-confidence because we always know—or at least intuit—the scope of our actions. The margin of error is very small.
  4. They help us to live more relaxed. We don’t have to be constantly making decisions nor guessing about the future.
  5. Practice and task repetition improve certain skills. We learn, we get better.
  6. They are compatible with creativity. When people achieve a balanced and relaxed life, they have easier access to their intuition and creativity.

So I think you shouldn’t banish systematically all the routines from your life. Some of them can be very useful.

How about you? Do you dislike routines?

About the author

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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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